Why do conifers turn brown?

Having a coniferous hedge in a garden is something very, very beautiful, as well as practical. By having short but dense foliage, they allow us to enjoy the place with more security and privacy; not to mention that they help reduce noise.

However, sometimes everything doesn’t go as it should, and that’s when we wonder why conifers turn brown. If you’re worried about your plants, find out what’s wrong with them and what you can do to try to fix the problem .


  • 1 Mushrooms
  • 2 Lack of magnesium
  • 3 Problems with irrigation
    • 3.1 Lack of water
    • 3.2 Excess water
  • 4 Lack of space
  • 5 cold


Phytophthora fungus in conifer

Image – Cartagenabonsai.blogspot.com

Fungi are the main cause of the death of coniferous hedges. More specifically, Phytophthora and Seridium. In the first case, the leaves dry out from the inside out , while in the second, the bark will turn reddish-brown and brittle . Seridium also produces cankers (cracks or rings) in the wood.

Which is the treatment? There are several things we can do, which are:

  • Treat with fungicides, Fosetil-Al being highly recommended, every 20 days, except in winter.
  • Use pruning tools previously disinfected with pharmacy alcohol.
  • Water and fertilize whenever necessary, avoiding waterlogging and overdose.
  • In case of death of the plant, avoid planting the same species and disinfect the soil with a fungicide such as the one mentioned and, if possible, leave the hole open for at least 1 year.

lack of magnesium

When a conifer begins to dry out, it is almost certainly lacking in magnesium. The most effective way to prevent and cure it is by using a product that they sell as “Conifer anti-browning” , which is a fertilizer that provides magnesium, nitrogen and sulfur.

It is applied by spraying, either early in the morning or at dusk, following the instructions specified on the package.

watering problems

Lack of water

The plant dries up because it is thirsty or because the soil does not retain moisture. It is common in newly transplanted young conifers. To prevent and/or solve it, you have to water every time it is necessary , much more often during the hottest season. So that the water is not lost, a pit should be made with the same earth around the plant.

Excess of water

When overwatered, or when the soil is poorly drained, the roots can rot in a matter of days . Unfortunately, the only possible treatment is prevention, checking the drainage before planting the plant and improving it. 

Lack of space

This problem causes the same symptoms as a lack of magnesium and other nutrients. Conifers that are planted too close together end up withering because they simply don’t have room to grow.

To do? It is very important to know what dimensions the species we want to plant will reach , and what is the minimum distance that must be left between specimens. If they have already been planted, then some need to be removed.



Although it is not very common, if the conifers are young or have been protected at some point they can end up with brown tips of the leaves. This should not worry us too much : if the species are resistant, they will recover in spring.

Have you been able to find out what happens to your conifer?

Why do conifers turn brown?

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