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What pine trees lose their needles in winter? Dawn redwoods are just one of the trees that lose needles in winter!

What "Pine" Trees Lose Their Needles in Winter?

January 30, 2018

Across the world, there are more than 100 species of needle-bearing trees. Some sport long, smooth needles while others are short and prickly. Some radiate their emerald green while others flaunt a more mellow blue.

It doesn’t stop at looks–some of those trees even grow differently. In true evergreen form, most hold onto their needles all year, while others completely shed their needles in winter.

If your needle-bearing trees lose all their needles in winter, they aren’t in danger. They’re just like the other trees we watch transition in fall. Learn which trees drop their needles, and find a new, true evergreen if you need one!

Which "Pine" Trees Lose Their Needles in Winter (And Evergreen Trees That Don’t Drop Needles)

All trees with needles will eventually shed some needles. As the trees age, older needles on the inside of the tree brown and drop off to make room for new needles. This happens to a portion of the tree’s needles every year.

But there is a small group of needle-bearing trees, called deciduous conifers, that drop all their needles every year. So if you think you have a pine tree, but it drops all its needles every winter. It's actually one of the below trees! Click here to learn what type of tree you have in your yard.

What conifer trees lose their needles in winter? 

There are about 20 deciduous conifers, which make them quite rare!

Here are the most popular ones:

  • Larch trees, including European larch, tamarack larch and western larch

  • Baldcypress trees

  • Dawn redwood trees

When do deciduous conifer needles stop falling?

Just like our favorite maples or oaks, conifers that lose all their needles start by changing to golden and bronze shades in the fall. Then, they begin shedding needles in fall and are bare by winter.

What pine trees don’t shed needles?

True pines won’t get rid of their needles because they’re evergreen!

  • White pine tree

  • Jack pine tree

  • Sugar pine tree

  • Red pine tree

  • Pitch pine tree

  • Swiss Stone pine tree

  • Loblolly pine tree

  • Short and longleaf pine tree

Remember–pines that hang onto their needles can still brown from time to time. When that happens, it may be a sign your tree needs your help!

Spot brown needles on an evergreen pine tree? See how to help here.

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