Evergreen Turning Brown in Winter: What You Should Do?

Is your beloved evergreen turning brown? You’re right to assume that something is wrong. After all, we plant evergreens for their lush green color throughout the year.

Healthy trees do not have browning branch tips, but there are many reasons that this may occur. Clark Tree Experts, Seneca’s tree service contractor, explain what to do below.

Four Reasons Your Evergreen Might Turn Brown

Seasonal Fluctuations

Not every winter will bring identical conditions to the one before it. If the current winter is particularly long or frigid, colder soil might prevent the leaves from getting enough water. They will dehydrate and turn brown. 

One quick remedy for this winter injury is carefully breaking up the soil around the base of the tree. Mulching may also retain some ground heat and moisture. If this is happening at another time of the year, you may be looking at disease or not enough watering.


A disease can spread quickly from one tree to the next, and you should take decisive action with the following urgent checks:

  • Branches:  You may be lucky enough to halt the spread if you prune the browning branch or the area where you notice brown needles.
  • Roots: Check the root system for sores and root rot, both signs of too much moisture. If necessary, remove the damp soil and replace it with dry soil to stop the rot.
  • Leaves: Rust is an example of a fungal disease. It shows up as powdery spores on the leaves. The only way to cure it is to cut off every inch of the diseased limb. 

Dealing with disease is tricky as there are so many possibilities. It is well worth calling a professional—you could save the existing tree and all the others around it. 

Bad Weather

Too little rain can turn the needles brown due to a lack of water. Too much rain has the same effect due to root rot. If you can carefully plan your watering schedule with the help of professionals like Clark Tree Experts, you may preserve your evergreen.

Animal Damage

Damage from animals might be an obvious problem if you see your evergreen turning brown. In such cases, you will notice gnaw marks on the trunk or branches. Installing a barrier might be the only solution.

How to Restore Your Tree

What is the best option if an evergreen shows signs of distress? Deal with the stressor as soon as possible. There is no timeline for how long it may take your tree to recover, but taking corrective action will ensure the problem cannot recur. 

  • Are there signs of new growth? Your tree is on the mend. Support it, water it, and fertilize it as normal. 
  • Was the damage extensive? Removing it and replacing it might be your only solution. You may also opt for removal with asymmetry or leaning, as the tree may topple. 

When to Call a Tree Professional

While we recommend property owners prune branches occasionally, using the wrong technique or being too vigorous could irreparably damage the tree. Also, if the soil carries disease, any new trees you plant will suffer the same fate.

Do you see your tree’s leaves turning brown? A professional arborist like Clark Tree Experts can tell you more. The key to preventing extensive damage is to act swiftly and call for help. We prioritize saving the tree, but we are also practical enough to be upfront about removal needs if it will save you time and money.

Call Clark Tree Experts at 864-482-1427 today for professional advice on an evergreen turning brown in winter, a tree risk assessment, and other solutions in South Carolina and across Georgia.

Call Now For Estimate