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Tree Farmer Alert 05/16/08

Forest Landowners:
Lots happening on the Pine Beetle front. Let's get to it.

  • Estes Park Tree Symposium - A number of local landowners attended this meeting last week. Dave Leatherman, retired CSFS entomologist, gave the keynote address. We always learn something new about bugs when Dave talks, and he's always entertaining.
    • This time I learned that it is now believed that a tree that has been successfully attacked by the mountain pine beetle dies within days of the attack and that the fungus carried btle which causes the telltale blue stain has nothing to do with the tree's death.
    • Also, Dave thinks that the beetle currently infesting Lodgepole will have a difficult time switching over to Ponderosa. The spread of the infestation to Ponderosa may therefore be slow or might not happen at all.
    • The Estes Tree Board is now organizing and training people to help identify beetle infested trees this spring. Estes Park has now joined Allenpark, Dillon and other Colorado communities training "beetle busters" to help landowners spot infested trees quickly.
  • Bill Gherardi, CFA President - Bill just reported that he found both infested Lodgepole and Ponderosa Pine in the same stand in Cherokee Park the other day. He also found Lodgepole and Limber Pine growing together with both species infested with pine beetle. This seems to be pretty strong evidence that the beetle is jumping species at least in some areas now.
  • Joint Ecology Working Group Meeting - I attended a meeting of forest ecology experts today. This group was asked to amass and deliver the best scientific evidence available on the pine beetle epidemic to the Front Range Fuels Partnership and The Colorado Bark Beetle Cooperative.
  • Some 15 scientists in a subcommittee of this group are about to publish a report on the scientific information that can be agreed upon with regard to the beetle epidemic in Lodgepole Pine. I'll publish the report on as soon as it's available.
  • Another subcommittee is working on new management guidelines for forest landowners both within and outside the Wildfire Urban Interface. Could be very useful to private landowners,so I'll also publish that report when it's available.
  • A brief discussion was held on the pine beetle spread from Lodgepole to Ponderosa Pine. The consensus seems to be that not enough research has been done to reach agreement on how quickly the beetle may spread. Opinions vary. A new subcommittee is being formed to look into the matter but conclusions may not be available for some time.
  • Glenn Johnson, Tree Farmer - Rist Canyon Tree Farmer. Glenn Johnson sent me photos of the 3 huge, old Ponderosa pines that have recently been attacked by the pine beetle. He can't say that beetles have spread from Lodgepole, but he's already hard at work inspecting his property for infested trees. He is cutting them down and removing the logs from his forest now before the beetles fly.
    More soon.