I added a 3 1/2 foot Umbrella Pine to my front garden last year. It flourished over the summer (it is in a protected space) but it was a harsh winter in Columbus OH–The back side of the tree (facing the house) has needles starting to brown and the entire tree is drooping. Is there anything I can do? A deep-root fertilizer? Adding organic compost around the base? I love this little tree and want it to survive! Any help is truly appreciated!
Umbrella pines (Sciadopitys verticillata) need protection from winds, full sun, and acidic soil. It sounds like you probably have the first two covered as you say it is in a protected spot and thrived over the summer. Soil near the house is often more alkaline. I would take a pH test to check and make sure the plant is protected from drying winds.
Also, newly planted things, particularly evergreens, are VERY susceptible to winter injury if they are not really, really well hydrated going into winter.
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.