Garden Advice

Why is my Potted Christmas Tree Losing Needles and Turning Brown?

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Live pot-grown Christmas trees are becoming a popular choice for the festive season due to their sustainability, fresh look and scent, as well as long-lasting and relatively easy maintenance.

Undamaged root system ensures their good health, freshness and continuous growth. However, if potted Christmas trees are not properly taken care of, they can waste away and eventually die.

If your tree starts to show symptoms like losing needles or turning brown, you should take this as a sign that there is something wrong, and you need to act quickly to revive your plant.

So, if you:

  • Want to learn how to keep your potted Christmas tree from turning brown.
  • Want to know what causes your potted Christmas tree to lose needles.
  • Are curious how to prevent health issues in potted Christmas trees.

Then, this article is just for you.

Why is my potted Christmas tree losing needles?

Evergreen trees are profound for holding their needles in place for quite some time, even if they have been cut. Generally, it is normal for some needles to fall. It means your potted tree is simply undergoing a seasonal needle change. However, if your Christmas tree is suffering a significant needle loss, it may be that your tree is dying.

Now, don’t panic yet. The chance that your Christmas tree is losing needles but can be saved is still out there.

A significant needle loss in potted Christmas trees can be caused by insufficient watering or dry air. Generally, an average room humidity is not enough for a Christmas tree; that’s why you shouldn’t keep your plant inside the house for longer than 12 days or close to a source of heat that will draw the moisture out from the air around the tree.

Moreover, needles can dry out and fall if the Christmas tree is dehydrated. Those trees require regular irrigation, so keep a check on the top few inches of the soil to ensure it’s not dry.

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Why is my potted Christmas tree turning brown?

Insufficient watering has proven to be the most common cause for a potted Christmas tree to turn brown. An average Christmas tree requires a gallon of water daily. During drier and warmer days, watering must be more frequent.

At the same time, you need to be careful to not over-water your Christmas tree because this can also cause yellowing or browning in needles. If there is a drainage problem and water is restrained in the soil, the roots will start to rot, resulting in a dead plant.

Browning can also be caused by dry air. If your tree receives all-day sunlight or is located near a heater, it can be left dehydrated by the dry air, thus turning brown. When you notice browning, move your Christmas tree to a different location within the room or take it outside.

It’s important to mention that if your Christmas tree is a containerised one and has been dug out of the grow to be placed in a pot, it is possible that the tree’s root system has been damaged, which can also cause browning.

Check our thorough guide if you want to know what to consider when growing a Christmas tree.

How to prevent all that?

If you are looking for a way to keep your potted Christmas tree healthy and prolong its life, look no further. Here we will share a few simple hacks to help you grow a strong, fresh looking Christmas tree in a pot while preventing it from turning brown and losing its needles.

  1. Location – Christmas trees enjoy cooler weather, but they still require a few hours of sunlight. Avoid placing your festive tree close to a fireplace, radiator or very sunny window. At the same time, make sure the tree still receives enough light.
  2. Watering – Irrigation proves to be the main stumbling block in growing a healthy tree. Browning in needles can be caused by both insufficient watering or by overwatering. Check if the top layer of the soil is dry or the pot feels lighter. If yes, water your tree with cool water.
  3. Humidity – Christmas trees require an adequate level of humidity. The plant shouldn’t stay inside the house for longer than 12 days, but if you can take it outside sooner, it will be even better. Buy an artificial humidifier or place a bowl of water near your Christmas tree to help maintain the necessary humidity for the plant.
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Get Fantastic Services to deliver your desired Christmas tree

Fantastic Services offer a free delivery of locally grown Christmas trees to make your holidays easier and fulfilled with traditional Christmas scent. You can choose between pot-grown Norway Spruce, which can last for many years or fresh cut Nordmann Firs which are famous for their thick, non-drop needles.

After the holidays, you can also trust our friendly team to collect your cut Christmas tree and dispose of it sustainably or help with repotting/replanting your pot-grown Norway Spruce. Book a Christmas tree delivery today and enjoy a merry Christmas.

Looking for a Christmas tree?

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  • Improper watering is often the main reason for a potted Christmas tree to turn brown and lose needles.
  • Pot-grown Christmas trees shouldn’t be kept inside the house for longer than 12 days.
  • Very sunny windows and nearby heat can dehydrate a Christmas tree.
  • Christmas trees favour colder places, but they need a few hours of sunlight daily.


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