Photo by Chal Landgren, OSU.


  • Depleted soil moisture that lasts into the fall
  • Late season planting that compromises root growth

Signs & Symptoms

  • Wilting of new growth, top dieback, tree death
  • Loss of interior needles, shortened needles, needle tip dieback, and overall slow growth
  • Symptoms generally start at the top of the tree and continue downward.
  • Damage may occur over several years

Where to Look

  • Newly planted trees
  • Plants growing on gravelly or sandy soils

Similar Symptoms As

  • Root problems
  • Winter damage

Management Options

  • To conserve water, eliminate competing vegetation with weed and brush control.
  • Assess the type of soil where trees are going to be planted.
  • Plant drought-tolerant species.
  • Supplement irrigation as a last resort.
  • Closely monitor trees weakened by drought because they are prone to other problems, especially insects and diseases.