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. Tree Farmer Alert

Sunday, August 7, 2011

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Cutting Tips During MPB Flight

from Ryan Ludlow
Forestry Education & Outreach Coordinator

Boulder County | Land Use Department

We are quickly approaching the heart of our annual mountain pine beetle (MPB) flight window (mid-July to mid-Sept). During the flight window there is typically a two week window in mid-Aug. called “mass flight” when a vast majority of MPBs fly concurrently. You should be careful when cutting during beetle flight time because MPBs are moderately attracted to the “smells” of freshly cut pine trees.  If you are cutting during flight time extra steps should be taken to avoid inadvertently attracting beetles to your forest.  Tips for cutting during flight:

  • Cut and haul material out of your forest to a disposal site as quickly as possible. By quickly hauling material out of the woods you can remove some of the fresh cut “smells” that attract beetles to your land.
  • If you can’t haul material off site then you should cut and stack material in a sunny location away from high value trees. Beetles generally attack in pockets, infesting living trees near the location of the cut trees and logs. By dragging cut material away from high value trees you can help direct the attracted beetles into a less valuable section of forest. 
  • Avoid chipping freshly cut material back onto the land during beetle flight. Freshly chipped green material sends out those same “smells” that can attract beetles to you land. 
  • During and after the project is complete you should survey the remaining trees in the cutting area for signs of beetle infestation. If infested trees are located, remove these trees during the fall and winter months before beetles have a chance to fly to other living trees during next summer’s annual flight. 
  • During beetle flight you can cut dead trees and low limb dead branches without worrying about attracting beetles. Beetles are only attracted to logs and slash that are still green with moisture remaining in the material. Beetle flight time is also a good time of year to cut your grass and clean out gutters to help improve fire mitigation around your home!

In general, the best time of year (in relation to beetle management) to be in the woods cutting is from October thru mid-March. All species of bark beetles are the least active during these cooler months and much less likely to attack your trees. In addition, cutting in the fall and winter gives you the ability to lay cut logs and slash out in sunny locations to help facilitate the drying of the material; which will make it less attractive to beetles when they begin flying again next summer.  You also have the ability to chip freshly cut material back onto the forest floor during these cool months without worry of attracting beetles to your land. Cutting during flight isn’t the best timing for bark beetle management; however if the goals of your cutting project are to improve your defensible space then it is recommend you continue to cut. Our forests are quickly drying out from the hot summer sun and the benefits you gain from creating better defensible space around your home will always outweigh the risk of beetle infestation!

Cheers, Ryan
Ryan Ludlow | Forestry Education & Outreach Coordinator Boulder County | Land Use Department P.O. Box 471, Boulder CO 80306 O: 720.564.2641 | F: 303.441.4856 rludlow@bouldercounty.org | www.bouldercounty.org/ForestHealth


NFPA's Backyards & Beyond Wildland Fire Education Conference

Ben Pfohl
Assistant District Forester CSFS -
Boulder District

DoubleTree Hotel Denver, CO October 27-29, 2011

NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division (WFOD) is proud to present the 4th "Backyards & Beyond Wildland Fire Education Conference" in Denver. This conference offers a unique opportunity to build relationships and to explore key issues with more than 50 breakout sessions in five educational tracks. Don’t miss this opportunity to network with other like-minded professionals and to share best-practices that you can take back to your community or workplace.

Read More




Ric Eversole
CPA & Tree Farmer

Catching up on some tax news reading and reviewed a recent hobby loss case in Tax Court that once again points out the importance of keeping good records if anyone is concerned about having losses disallowed because they cannot prove a valid profit motive for their tree farming operations.
In this case the taxpayer who lost was in the business of drag racing and had been for many years.  His claimed losses in the year being audited were over $100,000, and the number one reason they were disallowed was the Court found that he had no formal business plan, maintained no books or written records, and did not create an annual budget.
Other reasons were cited, including a significant pleasure motive and a miniscule amount of revenue from the activity.
For tree farmers enrolled in the State Forest program, the lack of a business plan and written records should never be a problem if they have a written forest management plan and they at least keep a separate checking account and other normal documents (receipts, bank statements, invoices, etc.) that any business would normally have.   An annual budget would be a good idea too, although in this dismal market for wood product sales it would be hard to project a profit.  However, just the exercise of preparing a simple budget would be looked on favorably, profit or loss notwithstanding.
With the high likelihood of losses locally by most or all tree farmers, we might start seeing more audits in Colorado and Wyoming, but I'm not aware of any at this time.   Still, it is essential to have these types of records on hand if you do get examined, and of course it's impossible to go back two or three years and create bank records, so encourage all the farmers you know to bear this in mind.  Contemporaneous log books would also be a huge help in defending yourself in an examination. 



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