My Pine tree is dead; what should I do? Maybe Nothing!

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There are two common deciduous narrow leaf trees that lose their needles in the fall. The Bald Cypress and the Dawn Redwood are two hardy trees, which thrive in Ohio. In the fall, they lose their needles causing some alarm at the possible death of an evergreen.

The Bald Cypress - Taxodium distichum is a pyramidal conifer


Bald Cypress indy


which grows 50-70' tall. It has soft, feathery foliage that is light green in the summer



bald foilage


but turns yellow to brown in the fall,


Bald cypress brown


and eventually leaves the tree looking bare or bald.


Cypress bald


Although it looks like a needled evergreen in summer, it is deciduous. Trunks are flared at the base,


bald flare


and when growing in water, often develop distinctive, knobby root growths, referred to as knees, which protrude above the water surface or wet area around the tree.




It is a relative to the dawn redwood (Metasequoia) which is also deciduous.


Now most evergreens lose up to a third of their needles in the fall like this White Pine - Pinus strobus:


White pine needle loss


This is normal!


The Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, is a deciduous, coniferous tree that grows in a conical shape to 100’ tall.


mature dawn redwood


As the tree matures, the trunk broadens at the base and develops attractive and sometimes elaborate fluting and deeply fissured bark.


dawn redwood base


Its fern-like foliage that is soft to the touch.


Meta green foilage


Foliage emerges light green in spring, matures to deep green in summer and turns red-bronze in fall.


dawn redwood fall color


Dawn redwood prefers, moist well-drained soil, unlike the Bald Cypress, which can grow in wet soil to even intermittent standing water. It is related to and closely and resembles bald cypress (Taxodium) and redwood (Sequoia).

Consider using Bald Cypress or Dawn Redwood in your landscape. You may fall in love with them. I know I love saying the Latin names! Metasequoia glyptostraboides!

For additional information see:

Bald Cypress:

Dawn Redwood: