Do Pine and Fir Trees Lose Their Leaves?
Many trees shed their leaves in the fall. Their branches are bare by the time winter comes. But some trees, such as pines and firs, do not take a winter rest. They continue to have green leaves all year round.
Trees that remain green throughout the year are known as evergreens. Even though they are evergreens, pines and firs do shed their leaves, or needles. But they do not lose them all at one time.
Most evergreens drop their old leaves in the fall. The leaf drop usually goes unnoticed because the trees grow new leaves before shedding the old ones.
Some pines, like the Eastern white pine, keep their needles for one year, dropping the previous season’s needles the following fall.
The bristlecone or foxtail pines, in contrast, keep their needles for up to eight years. So it takes this pine eight years to show signs of shedding the oldest needles.
The Austrian, mugo, and pinyon pines hold on to their needles for two to four years. The browning or needle shed starts during that maturation period and shows itself towards the inside of the tree.
Colorado and blue spruces, firs, and Douglas fir are in different conifer group and their needles are not arranged in clusters like those of pines.
They generally hold on to their needles much longer than pines do. But they, too, will eventually lose their older needles.