DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials say conifer trees around the state are showing signs of stress as a result of the winter.
The state Department of Natural Resources says signs of winter desiccation, or winter burn, include browning or bleaching needles, needle loss and tree death.
Forest health program leader Tivon Feeley says the trees run out of water because they use water reserves in the needles but are unable to absorb new water from the frozen soil.
If buds on the tree are still alive, new plant foliage will be replaced. If both the buds and needles are dead, the tree will need to be removed.
Feeley says winter burn cannot be prevented. Tree owners can reduce the risk by properly mulching and watering in the fall, before the tree goes dormant.