Why Is My Redwood Tree Turning Brown?

Why Is My Redwood Tree Turning Brown

Redwood trees are famous for keeping their foliage green all year round. And that is why most people tend to plant it. But sometimes, it is prone to turn brownish, especially on the needles and foliage. If that is the case with your evergreen tree, you might be wondering, “Why is my redwood tree turning brown?” 

The redwood tree is not drought resistant. And environmental factors also trigger its browning process. In order to get more insights into these and protect the tree, keep on reading!

Why Is My Redwood Tree Turning Brown?

Brown foliage is natural in redwood trees. But if the branches are excessively brown and the tree stops growing fresh leaves, then there is something wrong. And this happens mainly for the conditions I’ve listed below –

Why Is My Redwood Tree Turning Brown?

1. Soil Conditions

Dry or dusty soil affects the redwood roots, which leads to brown needles and branches. Due to dry soil, the tree roots do not get access to enough moisture and minerals. And without enough moisture level, the color of the branches and leaves starts fading.

Why Is My Redwood Tree Turning Brown?

Soggy soil can also turn the foliage brownish orange. Due to excessive rain or overwatering the tree, the roots cannot absorb the air and oxygen needed to thrive. As a result, they tend to die leaving the needles brown. 

Dig 18 inches into the ground with a shovel or trowel to check the soil conditions around the redwood tree. Take a handful of soil and try to bind it into a ball. 

If the soil does not form a ball once you clench your fist, it indicates the soil is too dry. Even if it comes to a structure, it will soon crumble apart.

On the contrary, if the soil seems too mushy, the soil condition is overly moist. And these soil do not promote healthy growth or green foliage on the redwood tree. 

2. Damaged Root

Established plant roots can decay mainly due to evaporation and lack of minerals. And these roots weaken the redwood tree, and it shows decaying symptoms such as brown foliage and branches. 

Why Is My Redwood Tree Turning Brown?

Also, while planting the sapling, if you cut too many roots, the grown tree can turn brownish quickly. And too much digging in the ground around the tree can disturb the natural growth of the roots. It leads to a lack of vigor in the needles. 

3. Disease

Poorly drained soil systems and excessively wet weather trigger canker disease in this species. The fungal pathogens isolate some branches of the redwood tree. And these canker suffered branch leaves turn brownish while the surrounding and healthy branches maintain their green.

Why Is My Redwood Tree Turning Brown?

Note that wind and water can also transfer the disease to other healthy needles. As a result, the bark and all foliage start decaying.

4. Pests

Some of the insects and pests are harmful to redwood tree health. And you miss noticing them because most of them look similar to the extension or parts of the tree. So, they get chances to infest and weaken the tree branches. 

Why Is My Redwood Tree Turning Brown?

Scales are small insects that look like tree bumps. And they live off the tissue fluid of the leaves. Therefore, the foliage loses its moisture and starts turning pale. If the infestation is large, the tree starts curling and falling off the branch. 

Olive and yellow-colored small pests named Bark Beetles chew the leaves. And it leaves the branches brown and dead often. 

During the winter season, the Tip Miners or larval moths suck the tip of the redwood branches. And they can spread disease to the whole tree that can lead to brown bark or foliage. 

How to Save a Dying Redwood Tree?

Continuous foliage fall, curls, and brown shades indicate that your tree is dying. But you can promote its healthy growth and save the tree with the following redwood tree maintenance routine –

Why Is My Redwood Tree Turning Brown?

1. Redwood Canker Disease Treatment

If there is excessive brown foliage, look for canker disease symptoms in the tree trunk, limbs, and branches first. Once you find sunken spots in these areas, start treating the infection. 

Why Is My Redwood Tree Turning Brown?

For that, you can apply dormant oil around the tree. If possible, dig gently and try to expose the roots, and spread the oil. Then maintain a deep-root feeding with natural fertilizers and water to provide the tree with nutrients to thrive against the canker disease. 

Get organic fungal and insecticide spray. And during the summer, apply them in three rounds. It will fight against pathogens to promote the growth of the tree. 

2. Watering

In order to save a dying tree, keeping the water ratio ideal for the roots is a must. Overwatering redwood trees block the air and oxygen from reaching all parts of the branch. And underwatering also makes the leaves lifelessly brown. 

Why Is My Redwood Tree Turning Brown?

If you are in coastal regions or California, provide water twice a week in the summer. Because in those regions, the trees get most of their water intake from the fog. So, you do not need to water frequently to prevent overly moist soil. 

However, in other regions, you should provide 18 to 24 inches of water thrice a week in the summer. Otherwise, the roots will become stressed leaving the tree vulnerable to the common redwood tree diseases.

And make sure the soil has a proper drainage system. Otherwise, standing water can trigger fungal or bacterial diseases that turn the needles brown. 

3. Sun Light

The redwood trees require full sunlight to thrive against the decaying symptoms. So, if there is any artificial shade over the tree, remove it. 

Why Is My Redwood Tree Turning Brown?

However, if surrounding trees block the ray for the redwood, contact an arborist. He will come up with a plan for maintaining tree health without causing damage to nearby structures. 

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q’s):

What Happens When A Redwood Tree Dies?

Once a redwood tree dies, it invites insects and infection. And all the roots start rotting. The foliage will no longer grow, and the tree will be shedding them excessively.

Is Browning Foliage Normal in Redwood Trees?

In late summer, the redwood tree starts turning a few branches brown as a natural process. And it helps to eliminate the older needles to promote growth.

Can You Turn the Redwood Brown Foliage Green?

You can prevent the tree from turning all its branches or foliage green. But you cannot bring back the vigor of the brown infected needles. 


As a plant enthusiast, you are not the only one asking, “Why is my redwood tree turning brown.” Even the gardeners with green fingers are looking for an answer to that. Well, the tree requires proper soil condition, pest management, and watering. Otherwise, its foliage turns brown and dies. 

I would highly suggest you contact arborists before doing anything with the damaged tree. They can give the proper redwood maintenance guide based on your region.  

Md Biajid

Meet Mia Biajid, a passionate nature lover. Particularly, he has a deep-rooted connection to the plant. Mia loves to spend time exploring forests and uncovering the secrets held within trees. He always inspires others to appreciate and protect our precious part of the ecosystem.

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