Brown, dry tips on your conifer plant are most often caused by a lack of humidity indoors over the winter months. Help your plant recover by boosting the humidity with a nearby humidifier, pebble tray, or by grouping it with other plants. You can also mist your plant, but this must be done very frequently to maintain a high humidity.
Conifers enjoy consistently moist, well-drained soil. If they aren’t being watered often enough, you might notice the tips of their leaves turning brown. If this is the case, be sure to water more often, removing any standing water that drains from the saucer (conifers are also susceptible to root rot from too much water).
If your conifer is indoors in dry, climate-controlled air, especially if placed near a fan or vent, it will need to be watered more often. The same goes for conifers that are outside in windy and/or hot weather.
Believe it or not, plants can get sunburned! While most conifers are able to handle direct sun, if the plant is used to indirect light and is suddenly moved to an area with direct sun, it can damage the leaves, causing them to burn and turn brown or white. Be sure to slowly introduce your plant to increasing light levels over the course of a few days so that it can acclimate to its new environment.
If your conifer has experienced a sudden drop in temperature, you might notice freeze damage which results in browning leaves. Most often, the tender new growth at the tips of the branches is most susceptible to cold injury. Freeze-damaged foliage can be pruned off and the plant will push out new growth in the spring. Be sure to protect your conifer from freezing temperatures which can kill the entire plant.
Pest and disease
Weakened or stressed conifers are more susceptible to pest and disease infestations. Sap-sucking insects like spider mites, scale, or mealybugs can feed on the leaves of your plant, causing them to turn yellow and eventually brown. Diseases like leaf spot and fungal infections can cause brown spots or a coating all over the leaves of your plants. Generally, pest and disease issues will affect the entire plant, not just the tips of the leaves.
No matter the cause, brown tips aren’t a death sentence for your plant. Once you’ve addressed the root cause of the issue and your plant is recovering, feel free to trim away the brown areas with a pair of clean, sharp scissors.