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Contrary to popular belief, evergreen foliage does not remain attached indefinitely. In late summer and throughout the fall older, inner needles discolor and drop off after one to several years depending on the species. This is a natural condition. Arborvitaes shed branchlets, which usually turn brown instead of yellow as they age. Pines may show severe fall yellowing if you've had a particularly dry summer. White pines and other needle evergreens will have the oldest needles turn bright yellow before turning brown and falling. Although this can also be a normal occurrence, in dry seasons more needles than normal turn yellow and homeowners often get alarmed. Spruce and fir needles also yellow and drop with age; however, these trees retain their needles for several years, and loss is often gradual and can go unnoticed. As long as the new growth stays green, the plants will survive.