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March 4, 2015
Vol. 2, Issue 2
March 2015
March 24 -   Sustainable Forests Roundtable Invasive Plant Best Management Practices Webinar; CEUs are available and registration is free.

April 2 - 4 - Urban Wood Utilization Conference, "From Urban Forest to Final Form;" Palomar College, San Marcos 


April 27 - May 1 - Western Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture's 81st Annual Conference & Trade Show, "Nature and Science of Arboriculture;" Tenaya Lodge, Yosemite National Park; CEUs are available.

Thousands of Trees Downed in Blowdown

Windthrown pine on barracks, Lassen NF. By Hat Creek Work Station.

A major blowdown event occurred on the Lassen National Forest (LNF) in Lassen and  Shasta Counties on February 6th, taking down trees across an estimated 200,000 acres. High southerly winds affected low-lying areas with sustained speeds of 50 to 65 mph for over 12 hours. Most of the blowdown occurred on the eastside of LNF in ponderosa, Jeffrey, and lodgepole pine stands where primarily larger diameter trees (>18" dbh) were uprooted or snapped off. Many trees that managed to stay upright were "root sprung" (roots were pulled away from the soil and rock in which they were embedded) or suffered other structural damage that has left them leaning or bent over. Most of the affected area sustained losses of about one large tree per acre, but some stands lost up to 20 large trees per acre. High concentrations of blowdown were found along edges of openings such as meadows and sagebrush flats and within recently thinned areas where residual trees lacked wind-firmness. No injuries or fatalities were reported, but wind-thrown trees did hit several structures, power and phone lines, and closed portions of CA State Highways 44 and 89 between Susanville, Old Station, and Hat Creek.


Windthrown lodgepole pine along Highway 44, Lassen NF.
By D. Cluck, USFS. 

While smaller blowdown events have occurred in this region, an event covering this much area has not been recorded. Lassen National Forest personnel are currently working on removing downed trees and standing hazard trees from recreation and administrative sites as well as along highways and county roads. Once finished, work will focus on making major forest roads accessible and preparing the most impacted areas for timber sales to remove downed material.

Managing Ips in 2015   

The southern Sierra Nevada Range is currently experiencing an Ips beetle outbreak. Ips beetles typically attack small trees or tree tops when trees are stressed from factors such as pathogens, dwarf mistletoe, mechanical injury, or fires. It is not uncommon for a stand to have only top kill. However, during drought conditions, trees are under additional stress, making them particularly vulnerable to beetle attacks, with a wider range of tree sizes being killed. Under normal conditions, Ips outbreaks typically last one generation, but during extended drought periods they can last longer, with tree mortality potentially worsening over time.


California has several different species of Ips beetles that are commonly found in association with pines throughout the state. Depending upon the species as well as the elevation and temperature of a location, 1 - 6 generations may emerge in a given year when temperatures warm. Beetles may remain active throughout the year in the absence cold conditions.


Ips-killed pine along Highway 49 near Oakhurst. By B. Bulaon, USFS. 

In limited situations, removal of bark beetle-killed trees can help minimize beetle spread. The greatest challenge to doing this effectively is being able to identify beetle-infested trees before the beetles leave to attack other trees.  The best time to do this is during the winter when beetle development slows down.  By the time the foliage of a tree begins to fade, beetles have already begun to leave the tree and may be mostly gone. If  infested trees are removed, transport the material to a site where emerging beetles do not present a threat to surrounding trees. If removal is not an option, a variety of methods have been employed to eliminate or suppress beetle populations.  Consult a forest pest specialist for advice. Cut wood from beetle-infested or live trees should never be stacked near healthy trees.  


Long-term bark beetle prevention is best achieved through stand thinning as the remaining trees are in less competition for resources, producing larger, healthier trees. However, thinning should not be done during drought periods or beetle outbreaks as cut trees can attract and encourage beetle attacks.


For more information, see  Ips Beetles in California PinesIdentifying Dead and Dying Conifers on Private Land in Californiaand Managing Bark Beetles in Urban and Rural Trees.
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Enjoy the last of winter, and remember when heating your home with firewood to buy or gather wood from a local provider. Buy It Where You Burn It


Katie Harrell (formerly Palmieri)
Communications Director  
California Forest Pest Council
California Forest Pest Council | (510) 847-5482 | |

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