Several readers have emailed me in the past week or two, asking why their pine trees look so crummy. This is the answer, from the state:

White pine trees in New Hampshire have been dropping needles, but that is to be expected after last year’s rainy late spring and summer, according to the N.H. Forest Health Bureau.

For the past 15 years, pine forests across the northeast have been affected by several fungi that attack pine needles, causing them to discolor and to cast off of the trees prematurely. Collectively, the group is referred to as “needlecast diseases.”

The recurring disease currently affecting white pines has been named “white pine needle damage” by pathologists.

“The fungi that cause white pine needle disease depend on above-normal precipitation during the spring and summer of the previous year, and we certainly had that in 2023, which is why WPND seems epic this year,” said Kyle Lombard, administrator of the N.H. Division of Forests and Lands’ Forest Health Bureau.

WPND is highly unlikely to kill white pines. Instead, it’s a minor setback in the trees’ annual growth cycle, usually affecting only the most recent year’s needles.

“Folks shouldn’t panic if they see white pines with orange or brown needles, or even if there are so many needles dropped that you can rake them up,” Lombard added. “Once the affected needles have cast off, new needles will start growing in their place, fully elongate in July and the trees will be green again in August.”

For more information about white pine needle damage, visit

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