Integrated Pest Management states that browning needles on a blue limber pine tree are a symptom of needle blight. Needle blight is also called red band disease and mainly affects limber pines in the Midwest.
Needle blight begins during August and September. Small spots appear on the needle, but they spread into brown patches with yellow halos. Several weeks after the first appearance of spots, the blue limber pine needles begin to die from the tips. This results in defoliation, and the needles fall off the pine. This affects mostly the lower branches and the north-facing side of the pine.