Remember how cold it was in April? The cold and windy April was difficult too for our evergreen trees and shrubs. The dead needles you see is called Winter Burn. When plants gather solar energy for photosynthesis water is released as part of the process. It is called transpiration and results in evaporation or loss of moisture through the needles. When the evergreen tree cannot replace the lost water because of frozen soils or drought you see Winter Burn.

Claire LaCanne Education Educator at the University of Minnesota Extension office in Rice and Steele Counties said she has gotten a lumber of calls and pictures of evergreen trees from farmers and homeowners this spring. That last snow storm and strong winds seemed to be the final blow for many evergreen trees. In many cases the evergreen trees that were protected from the direct force of the wind were fine. Wind results in more transpiration or loss of water.

Will your evergreen trees and shrubs recover? Claire said it depends but the general rule of thumb is that if more than 50 percent of the needles are brown the tree will likely die. What can you do? If possible make sure the tree has about an inch of water each week and then wait and see what happens.