My husband and I decided to get another estimate for the removal of a dying pine tree and another forked, leaning pine from our yard. In the process we discovered another dead tree, a young White Fir. We also became aware of the numerous pines in our neighborhood whose needles have turned brown over the past couple of months.
How can we protect the trees we have left? The feature that attracted us to this property last year was the wooded lot. Now we are discovering that the thinning we knew needed to be done must be moved closer to the top of our To Do list. A well- spaced forest is a healthier forest, especially when years of drought increase the competition for scarce moisture, and bark beetle populations are soaring. The article Bark Beetles in California Conifers by the USDA Forest Service, February 2015 was very informative and helpful in understanding what we are up against as tree custodians.
Although we have had a series of storms this winter, we have not had the prolonged cold temperatures that would kill off the beetles. And now we are heading into a mild spell with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. We are hoping that we don’t lose any more mature trees in the near future.