When Do Pinecones Fall From the Trees?

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The precise timing when a pine tree drops its cones varies by species as well as according to environmental conditions. Both male and female cones occur on a pine. The floppy male cones shed pollen and drop away in late spring, but female cones persist and mature.

Time Frame

Well over 100 species of pine trees (Pinus spp.) exist. Precise timing of pine cone maturation and drop varies among them. Two to three years passes before a female pine cone matures, opens its scales, sheds its seeds and then falls to the ground, often from summer into fall.


Damaging winds or drought conditions can cause developing and mature pine cones to drop from the upper branches of pine trees. Any time of year, the ground under the pine may display green, tightly closed cones as well as dry, shattered cones.


Pine cones are produced annually, but they don't ripen and drop off trees in the fall like the fruit from fruit trees. A pine displays cones of different ages. Two or three years pass before a pine cone dries and the stem resin becomes brittle enough to shatter and send the old cone to the forest floor.

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