Industry News: Tree Health

Q: What can cause all cedars in a forest to have droopy and brown leaves?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016  

Q: Ilive on three forested acres near Sandpoint in northern Idaho. The forest has been healthy. Recently, however, I've noticed that nearly all the cedars look sick. The leaves are droopy and, especially on the south side, they are turning brown. Can you offer information for saving these trees?

A: What you are describing sounds to me like winter desiccation. Here in Kansas our fall and winter has been very dry, and any type of evergreen has really suffered. This is because of what arborists call winter desiccation. In a roundabout way, it is drought stress during winter. Evergreen trees continue to use water through the winter, whereas deciduous trees do not because they have no leaves. This usually is more evident on the south side of tree canopies, where they are exposed to the sun. The sun dries out this tissue more quickly than shaded areas.

If you had wet conditions last fall and this winter, then it might be a different problem. If this is the case, please follow up with pictures. A quick Google search of northern Idaho shows droughty conditions last fall and this winter, so I am pretty sure this is winter desiccation related to drought.

Responder: Matt Evans, RCA #522, Lenexa, KS