Question: Conifers and seasonal chloroses??

Mike the Tree Doctor mlamana at
Sat Nov 13 10:46:57 EST 1999


No, your are correct - I refer to the seasonal yellowing phenomenon that
usually reverses itself come Spring.

Any thoughts on why the trees cannibalize chlorophyll? Is there hard
experimental evidence on the nature of the 'benefit' vis a vis winter that
the tree obtains via this process? Is it a mere shunting to the roots of N
and Mg rich solutes resulting from the lysis of chlorophyll? Is there a
concomitant reduction in the efficiency of photosynthesis at the yellow and
red ends of the absorption spectrum??

Thanks for your input!

Mike the Tree Doctor

michael frankis <michael.frankis at> wrote in message
news:382C7A69.3686CBC6 at
> Is this something new, that has only recently started happening, or are
you just
> noticing for the first time something that has always happened?
> Reason I ask, is that many conifers turn yellowish in winter, a character
> usually cited as reducing the amount of chlorophyll so as to be able to
> with extreme winter cold more successfully.  What I don't know is whether
> observations refer to this, or to something else new and potentially more
> serious.  Please let me know.
> In Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), this yellowing is variable with origin -
> Siberian origins go the yellowest (to a drab mossy green), while Turkish
> (var. hamata) hardly turn yellow at all (which is why they are preferred
> christmas trees in the USA).  One selected clone of Scots Pine (named as
> 'Aurea') turns such a bright yellow in winter, it makes a good selling
point for
> garden use.
> I'll try and dig out some references to it over the next few days.
> Michael Frankis
> Newcastle, England
> Mike the Tree Doctor wrote:
> > Folks:
> >
> > I have to pose a general question to any with experience in the matter
> > seasonal chloroses in conifers - principally hard pines.
> >
> > I have a situation in southern New England (Zone 4) where for multiple
> > now I have observed gradual yellowing of pitch pines (Pinus rigida),
> > mtn. pine (Pinus pungens), and to a lesser degree 'Waxman' eastern white
> > pines as each winter approached.
> >
> > The trees in question are from multiple provenances, in multiple soils,
> > obtained in multiple years. Not each individual of a species for lot is
> > affected. I have done the usual battery of soil and paired soil/foliage
> > nutrient assays - all are inconclusive. Soil pH, iron, manganese,
> > Ca:Mg ratios are all in the ball park, but micronutrient concentrations
> > foliage are off in some tests. All trees have been treated with NPK,
> > sea-kelp extracts, humates, etc. at various times.
> >
> > Generally speaking, the condition goes away or attenuates greatly with
> > onset of Spring - any ideas or similar experiences.
> >
> > Thanks!
> > --
> > Mike the Tree Doctor
> >

More information about the Plantbio mailing list