Tuesday, June 24, 2008

That * ^%$#@& Mountain Pine Beetle

My sister's place in British Columbia......

""The beetles kill the trees by boring through the bark into the phloem layer on which they feed and in which eggs are laid. Pioneer female beetles initiate attacks, and produce pheromones which attract other beetles and results in mass attack. The trees respond to attack by increasing their resin output in order to discourage or kill the beetles, but the beetles carry blue stain fungi which, if established, will block the tree resin response. Over time (usually within 2 weeks of attack), the trees are overwhelmed as the phloem layer is damaged enough to cut off the flow of water and nutrients. In the end, the trees starve to death."" They turn brown and then red as they die as these at the top of the property have this year. It is pretty sad to look at a total stand of dead trees... right next to some greenery. It has already been several years now and by the time it ends... almost all of B.C.'s pine trees will have been killed.

this is the blueish stain....

Vikki sat down after we had been separating usable branches from one pile to another at her little farm for about an hour... and wondered if we were nuts or would be able to make a dent in it?
There is no recourse for home and property owners. The sad thing is... even if trees are endangering power lines... homeowners must call repeatedly for help.. finally, overworked Hydro people arrive... survey the situation...tag only the trees that are immediate danger to power lines... instruct as to which arborist is to be used. The company then arrives to take down the huge trees and this is the type of mess left in their wake. On every single property in the province. They don't take it away...don't offer help to have it removed.... each owner has to foot the bill for removal and good luck finding anybody to buck it or to move it. If the segments were longer a mill nearby would take it... for only $300 ... but they need 32 foot lengths in order for it to fit into the bunks on its trucks..... arborists cut 12 to 15 foot lengths as they are topping and dropping the old trees. Some trees are huge... 150 years old. Considering it is now major tinder for fire ... and the drought season is about to begin...and if it is near your home... well, you can understand how it is essential to get it moved. Pronto! If you have trees taken down by other than Hydro... you have to pay to have them felled as well as for the removal. It will be thousands of dollars for most homeowners. A huge and unmanageable bill. A lot of people are just leaving them to fall over when and where they will. It usually is about two years or so before they become really dried out and crack or fall on their own... I hope a huge percentage fall in the opposite direction of homes, vehicles and animals.....

This is part of the mess from only 2 trees on this area of hillside above the house. So far only 8 trees have been taken down... there is a total of 38 pine trees on her property. Odds are all of them are goners. One huge fir is considered to be in harm's way as well... because sometimes the Pine beetle is indiscriminate. Apparently, if they run out of pine they will take a spruce or fir....Here is our pile of larger branches that we managed by the end of a very hot day. Hard to tell how large they are from this pic... ..but most would make nice little logs for wood burning stoves or fireplace inserts...about 3 to 6 inches diameter. These will be cut into foot long pieces and piled for personal use.

look Vikki! we did so make a dent in that pile!

The huge piles of small branches and pine needles... to be raked up, burned (if only she could get a permit, but even those are unobtainable at the moment in B.C> too close to Fire Season), or hauled away. ...if you can find anybody who wants the work...

We found a guy to buck up some of it for her..... even got him to cut a few ovals about 6 to 8 inches thick...so we could build some steps into her garden.... they will be her reminder that once there were trees here.


Linda Fleming said...

Wow- what a mess to be in. I can't believe the utility company isn't responsible for cleaning up this mess, or some govt. agency. What a rotten position for the property owners to be in, and such a shame you are losing so many trees. I hope you don't see any fires in your area, Vee. We are in our rainy season now, and out of danger of wild fires...at least if the rains continue.

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Wat yu did wiv the steps is good. It's nice that the paw old trees can still be in part ov the landscape. But it is all very sad.

An a bit silly, too. They shud tayke the stuff away an get rid ov it, not leev it thare.

It is very very sad wen trees go.

It issent the sayme thing, but larst week the man in the howse across the roade had all his hedge cut down. It had been thik an abowt 12 feet tall (144 inches) and it went all the way rownd hia howse. The berds wud fly into it an hide owt in the rain an storms for shelter. He had it all cut down an tayken away an he has just put a fence in its place.

It is a horbol wayste.

But eevn werse for yor big old trees. I hope they find a way ov gettin rid ov the beetols soon.

Dilly shud rownd up sum dragon frends. They eet bugs. Then agen, wiv all that dry wood, the larst thing yu want there is dragons.

Nose hugs!


Bear Naked said...

Thank you for visiting my blog.
I really can't give you an answer about the ice cream bears.
I usually get my pictures from Google.

The picture I used was from
if that is any help to you.

Vee said...

So sad...so devastating...I can NOT imagine how this will change BC forever...or certainly for the people's now living lifetimes. I am truly sorry. I understand it isn't going to be the problem in the States that it is there because there is such a interlocking highway of them north of the border. Reminds me of the Dutch Elm disease here thirty years ago. I still miss seeing those grand trees.

Emily Parsonsmith said...

Sorry about your trees! We own a forest management company down here in Wyoming and run into all the bad things you mentioned in your blog. It stinks... What to do with the trees/branchs/slash is such an issue. Lately we have invested in a chipper that just takes the whole tree - branches and all. But it seems the wood could be used as a fuel or building source with petrol prices being how they are. The problem is there is no where to take the trees because markets are flooded with beetle killed wood and the mills are here are shut down due to years of no logging. So as a forester coming to fell and remove trees off of people's properties, yes, becomes very expensive.
On the other hand, I am happy to hear about some of the things BC is doing with making pellets, composite materials as they try to find a use for the wood. Hopefully, if there becomes a market for the wood then homeowners won't have such a difficult time getting rid of beetle kill... maybe even get paid for it!
Take care... back to work.

BumbleVee said...

hiya sugarpop...tx for coming by the blog..

a chipper might be a good investment..even for an individual. must be able to use those chips for something.... .and I am sure there is other employment just waiting in the background for some enterprising persons in B.C. with regards to this beetle killed wood...just must be... .. they do have a pellet mill right in Armstrong where she lives... so..a start, but I don't know if they are taking any more wood ...