The Q&A Archives: ponderosas threatened

Question: I have about 11 mature Ponderosas on my property. One is about completely dead (brown needles top to bottom) and another about 30% dead. The only thing that I have seen are some small needle sized holes in the bark but no saw dust left to suggest somehting has been boring into them. The geographic location is about 3001ft elevation along a creek bottom. in s. Idaho the timber stringers will begin to develop along drainage bottoms with sagebrush up along the hills. We are in a fifteen year drought around here so I have been setting the hose to them. Plus I added a product called Thrive(Zamzous) which only provides nutrients. The strange thing is the tree that is totally dead is about 12 ft from the creek. Any ideas or suggestions would help.

Answer: Your question is really more involved than I can adequately answer in this forum. I would suspect bark beetles doing the apparent damage but they typically attack trees that are otherwise under stress. The soil moisture level may be the stress factor, but often mature trees will either suddenly show signs of water (or insect or disease) stress, or they will endure the stress and decline slowly over a period of months or years. I cannot tell you what might be ailing your trees, but I can recommend you contact a local expert. Contact:
Randy Brooks
Associate Professor and Extension Educator - Forestry/4-H/Agriculture
UI-Clearwater County Extension Office
2200 Michigan Ave.
Orofino, ID 83544
208) 476-4434


Chris Schnepf
Professor and Area Extension
Educator - Forestry
UI-Kootenai County Extension Office
UI Coeur d'Alene Center
1000 West Hubbard Ave., Suite 140
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814-2277
(208) 446-1680

Either should be able to answer your question or direct you to someone who can.

Best wishes with your pine trees!

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