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Experts share why Iowa’s evergreens are turning brown

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

Iowa weather conditions and common disease pose challenges for conifer trees.

Many of Iowa’s conifers are turning brown. Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe is joined by Aaron Steil and Mark Vitosh to unpack how Iowa’s climate presents challenges for evergreen trees. The horticulture experts say trees need plenty of water in their first years to develop a root system that is resilient in dry soil conditions. They also share the importance of drainage on a planting site and recommend different types of evergreens. And listeners call in to troubleshoot tree issues on their property.


  • Aaron Steil, extension horticulture specialist at Iowa State University
  • Mark Vitosh, Department of Natural Resources forester
Talk of Iowa Hort DayHorticultureTrees
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Aaron Steil is a Consumer Horticulture Specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. Aaron contributes his expertise to the Garden Variety podcast and newsletter and to Talk of Iowa's Horticulture Day program.
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio
Natalie Dunlap is a rising junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and minoring in gender, women's & sexuality studies. She is from Iowa City and in her free time enjoys getting coffee and reading downtown with friends.