Help withDying pine tress

dwheeler at teleport.com dwheeler at teleport.com
Thu Oct 30 11:23:04 EST 1997


WARNING: To reply to the author of this post, first remove the tree seed.
In article <345528ea.18369609 at itssrv1.ucsf.edu>,
  anderson at ucsf.edu (Kim Anderson) wrote:
>
> I have had 7 of my pine trees die in the last 2 years. It appears that
> there is some insect that looks like a wasp that is all black that
> bores into the tree and cause a lot of pitch to flow down the bark.
> Sometimes the spot is 6" by 3 feet.  These trees are in northern
> California.  Could these be pine beetles?  Is there anything I can do
> to save the other pine trees near them?
>

It has been my observation that trees do not become infected by insects
unless they are under a lot of stress from other sources: overcrowding,
lack of water, decreased mycorrhizal fungi, etc. You remember what
Gifford Pinchot said about air, water, soil and light? When competition
for any of these elements becomes essential to an individual trees
existence, it gets stressed (much like the people trying to grow them).

The best thing to do for your stand is to cut the dead trees. If your
stand does not have a lot of large-diameter woody debris on the floor,
try leaving these trees as a home for carpenter ants or other ant
species. These ants are foracious predators on insects that attack trees,
including aphids and bark beetles.

You might also want to get an identification of the insect you are
referring to above. These doesn't sound like a beetle to me, but rather a
parasitic wasp, which may be attacking a larvae already inside the tree.
If you rid the stand of the parasitic wasp, you may be aggravating your
problem.

Daniel B. Wheeler
http://www.oregonwhitetruffles.com

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