Skip to content

Why Is My Norfolk Pine Turning Brown

Beautiful interior and outdoor garden plants can be made from Norfolk Island pine trees. These trees may grow and thrive for a very long time with little effort. But what if your Island pine dies? Do you think you can revive it alive?

Your Norfolk pine turning brown is the first sign that a tree is dying and needs assistance. Like other trees, Norfolk Pine problems can fall because of fungal issues, pests, and the environment.

For most farmers, environmental factors frequently play the most role in the tree’s health failing. This typically entails both over- and under-watering the plant and hasty plant relocation. Your Norfolk pine tree is likely dying if it sheds leaves or pine needles into your home.

norfolk pine

In our guide, you can learn more about your Norfolk Pine brown tips. By the end, you’ll have a wealth of information on how to save a dying norfolk island pine turning brown no matter what’s causing your Norfolk Pine problems. (Read 16 Flowers That Look Like Roses But Are Not)

What Are Norfolk Island Pine Brown Needles?

Your Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla) may have a few brown needles here and there, but this is normal as these majestic trees age. However, your tree is in trouble if Norfolk’s unique foliage turns brown on a larger scale.

Take action immediately since Norfolk Island pines in distress may drop entire branches that never grow. Quick investigation and repairs begin with fundamental culture before moving on to diseases and pests.

According to Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute, Norfolk Island pines may survive the winter outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11.

Norfolk Pine Tip:

If your Norfolk pine has brown tips, it may have suffered from extreme heat or cold, need water, or be infected with Norfolk Needle Blight. Although you can use a fungicide to treat blight, there may not be much you can do if environmental factors have weakened your Norfolk.

temperature and time

Temperatures and Timing

These plants are a valuable addition to the home, wherever they won’t die in winter.

Being frost sensitive, the weather can affect trees cultivated in containers and monumental landscape species. When temperatures dip under 40 degrees, Fahrenheit triggers the first signs of foliage damage.

The tree’s tips stop growing and die at 30 to 32 F, according to experts who say the tree suffers irreparable damage below 25 temperatures Fahrenheit.

Tip damage might also result from high temperatures of more than 95 F. If your tree started browning from exposure, consider moving it to a more suitable, covered area.

When it gets close to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, bring potted Norfolks inside.

Light Exposure and Placement

Although they prefer full sun, Norfolk Island pines may withstand little shade. When light levels are too low, the foliage turns a dark green color, but if the situation may continue for too long, the needles turn brown.

Norfolk pines need more light when their branches are drooping. Change the surroundings of landscape trees to let in more light, and move potted trees to locations with more sunlight.

Brown needles are another symptom of abrupt migration, and entire branches may drop.

When feasible, acclimate Norfolks to new environments and light levels. Indoor Norfolks should have cool, bright locations away from drafts and vents for the air conditioning or heating. (Read What Does Atrazine Kill)

soil and moisture

Soil and Moisture

Endemic to the South Pacific, Norfolk Island pines favor constant precipitation, quickly draining soil, and high humidity. They are salt-tolerant and can quickly adapt to many soil types, from the most acidic to the mildly alkaline.

If your Norfolk Pine dries out, it will immediately turn trees brown, while too much soil moisture causes foliage first to turn yellow and then brown. Check several inches into the soil for any signs of browning issues.

The ideal soil is cool, moist, and neither too wet nor too dry. Norfolks need water until the entire root system is moist. Before watering again, let the soil of the Norfolk Pine dry to a depth of a finger.

Drain extra water from saucers and let water flow through drainage holes on potted trees. Feeding stressed Norfolk’s fertilizer would cause the leaves to turn yellow rather than brown.

Norfolk Needle Blight

According to PennState Extension, the fungus Colletotrichum derridis causes anthracnose, which browns Norfolk needles. The disease, also known as Collectrichum needle blight, begins as little spots on the needles, which eventually turn brown and die. Needles drop out when large branch parts become brown.

Start by stopping overhead irrigation and maintaining dry foliage to remedy the issue. Unfortunately, it is impractical to treat huge trees, although fungicide benefits little plants. Whether inside or outside, spray a ready-to-use copper soap fungicide on all leaf surfaces. Repeat as necessary every seven to ten days.

Wear gloves and protective eyewear, and keep exposed skin away from chemicals. On a quiet, cloudy day, spray outside. After handling, properly wash your hands with soap and water.

Needle-Browning Pests

Many pests afflict Norfolk Island pines, but mites are responsible for the brown Norfolk leaves. They conceal themselves nicely until entire needles start puckering or foliage damage begins to show.

Shake to see whether mites fall by shaking a Norfolk branch over a white piece of paper. Indoor mite problems are frequently resolved by raising relative humidity to Norfolk’s optimum 50 percent range.

Spray ready-to-use insecticidal soap liberally over all plant surfaces, including the undersides of the leaves. Pests must come into contact with the spray to be killed. Repeat as necessary to eliminate needle-browning mites, either monthly or biweekly, on your Christmas Trees. (Learn How To Protect Grass Seedlings From Frost)

Wear gloves and other protective clothing, and abide by the label safety precautions. Avoid spraying in the sun’s strongest rays.

How To Fix Norfolk Pine Problems?



Clean the plant first. Cleaning the plant will help the pine tree to use its new vitality to grow healthy new leaves and branches. Here’s how.

  1. Sanitize pruning shears with rubbing alcohol before and after use.
  2. Cut off dead branches and leaves from the plant.
  3. Treat an infected plant with antifungal or pesticide.
  4. Never trim over 30% of a tree’s branches and leaves, or you may shock and harm the plant.
  5. Trim the plant in stages if necessary. For example, wait a week or two before cutting the plant again.

Check Soil Moisture

Next, check your watering schedule. Leaving a pine tree soaking in water can lead to root rot, so ensure the pot has drainage holes and fast-draining soil, so water drains. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Fungus In Mulch)

To avoid standing water, always empty the saucer following a watering session. These plants prefer fast-draining acidic soil, so monitor it after trimming. The tree is overwatered if it’s brown or yellow. However, your pine will brown much faster if the soil has severe dryness.

Check Humidity

Low or excessive humidity can potentially kill a Norfolk island pine. These trees prefer 50% humidity. If you’re unsure of the average humidity level in your home, monitor a hygrometer to check for damp or dry air.

Humidity shouldn’t be precisely 50%, but 15 to 20% on either side. So if you live in a dry environment, a humidifier can help with dryness, especially in the winter.

Check Temperature

This specific pine tree is frost-sensitive. The ideal temperature range is 40 to 75 F. However, the plant loses leaves at 40 or 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Light Exposure

These pine trees prefer direct sunlight but can tolerate indirect light or tolerate partial shade. If left in the shade, their green needles will become dark, then brown. Therefore, indoor pines should be placed in sunny areas.

Be sure to gently adapt the pine tree to the new environment to avoid scaring the plant. Ensure the tree is distant from any AC, heating vents, or drafty spots in the home.

How To Tell My Norfolk Pine Is Dying?

The best way to tell a Norfolk pine is dying is by inspecting the pine needles and branches. Here are some signs your tree is sick.

Peeling Bark

A healthy Norfolk pine tree will retain its bark or most of it. However, the tree’s bark sheds and turns light brown when diseased. Therefore, it may need a thorough examination if you notice significant portions of tree bark missing from the pine.

Browning Needles

The needles on pine trees don’t change color like other trees’ leaves. The tree’s vivid green pines should remain year-round. Yellow or brown needles could signal a pest or disease problem. This could also suggest the plant is overwatered or underwatered.

Needles Drop Early

It’s normal for pine needles to fall in the fall. However, if needles fall in the spring or summer, this could suggest a tree health issue.

Pinecone Spots

Small black spots on pine cones indicate a fungal disease. This may occur with brown needles. Closely inspect your tree to check fungal presence, then apply a fungicide.

Common Norfolk Pine Problems FAQs

Where does Pythium root rot come from?

Poorly drained soil promotes pythium fungus, which thrives in soggy soil. Anthracnose. If your Norfolk’s needle branches are becoming brown and falling, it may have a fungus called Colletotrichum derridus.

How to tell a Norfolk pine is dying?

If you see spots on the leaves, you’ll know your tree is diseased; then, entire branch sections are yellow, brown, and dead.

Why are my Norfolk pine tips turning brown?

If your Norfolk pine has brown tips, it’s possibly extreme temperatures that are too hot or cold.

How do you revive a dying Norfolk Pine?

Make sure your Norfolk Pine’s entire root area is moist by watering it. Then, allow water to flow into the saucer through the drainage hole, carefully removing any excess built-up water.

Before rehydrating the soil, let the top 2 to 3 inches of soil dry out. A thorough soak is necessary if the soil is extremely dry over the entire pot. (Learn How Many Pepper Plants Per 5 Gallon Bucket)

Do Norfolk pines need misting?

A pebble tray will give your Norfolk Pine a boost in humidity over the winter. This can also empty excess water from the pot.

How do you revive a dying pine tree?

Remove damaged or dead lower pine branches. The tree is revitalized. To heal effectively, avoid cutting the limb flush with the trunk. Remove damaged or dead lower branches.

How do you keep a Norfolk pine alive?

Misting Norfolk pines or other tropical plants is usual, but a humidifier works better. Temperatures should range from 50 to 70 F during the day and 45 to 65 at night. Don’t fertilize Norfolk pines in winter with indoor plants fertilizer.

How long does a Norfolk pine live?

The Norfolk pine tree lives about 150 years.

Are Norfolk pines easy to care for?

These trees are relatively easy to care for, yet needles, such as dry soil, turn brown at the slightest error.

Why Is My Norfolk Pine Turning Brown (2)