This time of year we get quite a few concerned calls and emails from customers who are noticing that their new evergreens are turning yellow or auburn and dropping their needles. Despite being called “ever-green”, these plants shed their needles in fall just like other trees and shrubs.
With the cool nights all evergreens, including broadleaf evergreens such as rhododendrons, start to show fall shedding on the interior of the plant. This is very natural and occurs on mature growth only. With rhododendrons, you’ll notice the interior leaves will yellow and then drop. This may be vary depending on drought conditions over the summer months.
Usually fall shedding is heavier on newly installed or transplanted evergreens. From year to year the shedding can vary from little to much. Needle drop is not an indication that the plant is unhealthy. Your plants will probably develop more growth in the following season to compensate for the leaf drop this year.
General maintenance can be done to keep your plants healthy:
- Watering as needed until the ground freezes
- Pruning dead branches.
- Spraying for pests that are actively feeding on the plant.
- Fertilizing with a fall blended fertilizer or Holly Tone fertilizer.