Panic in autumn regarding Minnesota conifers is a condition of the human Minnesotan who notices yellowing of foliage among conifers and begins to worry about it.

These Minnesota’s conifers don’t panic for they are doing their normal conifer thing….ridding themselves of yesteryears’ leaves, foliage, needles, whichever you wish to call their stuff turning brown in the autumn….usually the leaves older than three to five years.

Usually only the garden-aware Minnesotans pay attention to such environmental phenomena. The are more likely to notice plant habits and characteristics…..But then, even the majority of ‘gardeners’ pay too much attention to conifers, calling nearly all of the ‘pines’ where pine or not.

It is likely leaf drop, whether by conifer or deciduous broadleaf will come early this year and winter might be a bit harsher than those we’ve enjoyed the past decade or so. We have had very little rain since early July in the Twin City area.

My Swiss Stone Pines already dropped their yesteryears’ needles last month within about three days time…..indicative of drouth stress…even though I have an irrigation system operating every other day for twenty minutes per location. This is early season even for these exceptionally beautiful European import pine.

None of the other countless conifers on my grounds have yet displayed any mood to drop needles…..(‘foliage’ we would say when referring to arborvitae and chamaecyparis) but they will in two weeks or so.

Healthy conifers retain ‘leaves’ for five or more years displaying, therefore, a denser, heavier, more robust appearance. Regular, reliable watering is very important for the health and appearance of most Minnesota conifers.

Keep in mind that Gopherland garden conifers, the larch (tamarack) and dawn redwood normally drop their foliage and the end of each growing season, techinically identifying each as deciduous conifers rather than ‘evergreens’. Their bright yellow will dominate the entire tree two weeks before leaf fall is completed in mid to late October, depending upon the amount and regularity of moisture available.

Dawn redwoods don’t seem to scoff at overwatering but reject dry soil for any length of time. If this problem is not corrected Dawn redwood will soon reject you, the caretaker.

So, there, you see, is no need to worry about leaves yellowing and dropping from Minnesota’s conifers in October every year……as long as they are five or more years old.

If this year’s foliage from your evergreen conifer is yellowing or decidedly off color, the plant already might be dead.