Forum Index > Trail Talk > Article on fir tree die-off in PNW
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Joey
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PostMon Dec 19, 2022 8:20 am 
breadcrumb, meck
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gb
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PostTue Dec 20, 2022 8:06 am 
That is pretty disturbing. As through other tree sicknesses and die-offs, the Doug Fir has seemed to be most resilient. Notably, Teanaway, where pines have suffered and Englemann's Spruce suffered severe losses beginning about ten-15 years ago. In Stafford Creek I do note that there are some probably 500+ year old firs, and in areas where there would not look to be a lot of groundwater: in those places a significant portion of these really big firs are recently dead. Also in the mid-90's Western Hemlocks had significant losses in at least one drought year. The dead trees just out of Darrington are still visible, and many live trees still don't sport real healthy foliage.

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mike
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PostTue Dec 20, 2022 9:54 am 
Alders in our neighborhood died over the last few years.

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Bruce Albert
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PostTue Dec 20, 2022 12:35 pm 
Cedars too: Seattle Times articlle on Cedar die offs The cedar die off was prominently visible locally in recent years; other species not so much. If Doug fir were to be similarly affected, such a thing could have a huge impact given the Doug Fir monoculture being replanted on timberlands in western Washington.

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Nancyann
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PostTue Dec 20, 2022 1:14 pm 
Re: The Doug fir monoculture planted by the timber companies; I am already seeing die off on the tree farm I live next to. So far, it is the smaller trees most recently planted, and I first noticed it after the heat dome episode in June 2021. Another more disturbing die off I noticed was an entire southwest-facing slope east of Spada Lake, elevation around 4,000 feet. This area sees a lot of annual rainfall, so I am thinking the excessive heat rather than lack of precipitation was the culprit. At home I have very large cedars which are still doing ok, but all my large hemlocks have died or are in the process of dying. My Doug firs still seem ok. On a positive note, despite the June 2021 heat dome, while circumnavigating Glacier Peak, I was amazed at how healthy the ecosystem looked along the northwest flank of the mountain all the way over to Buck Creek Pass. The meadows were lush and green still in mid-August and I didn’t see any large stands of dead trees. Maybe the cloud cover that is often seen on that side of the mountain protected the foliage from the worst of the heat.

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Bruce Albert
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PostTue Dec 20, 2022 9:03 pm 
Nancyann wrote:
all my large hemlocks have died or are in the process of dying
Curious, are your Hemlocks of old-growth scale or just 'big'? Western Hemlocks, together with Alaskan Yellow Cedar, are among the longest lived of climax forest species are they not?

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Sculpin
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PostThu Dec 22, 2022 9:06 am 
Bruce Albert wrote:
Western Hemlocks, together with Alaskan Yellow Cedar, are among the longest lived of climax forest species are they not?
That may well be true, but western hemlock is a poor choice for horticulture. By that I mean don't plant it on your land. When not naturally regenerating in its highly specific environmental conditions, it is very prone to disease and sudden die-off. None of our other native conifers are anywhere near as difficult to cultivate, even the subalpine trees.

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir

breadcrumb, Anne Elk
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Malachai Constant
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PostThu Dec 22, 2022 10:29 am 
In or back yard the Alders start falling over when they are around 50, Hemlocks are mixed but once the woodpeckers start making the large rectangular holes they are toast, the firs and cedars just keep getting bigger.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Nancyann
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PostMon Dec 26, 2022 10:46 pm 
Bruce Albert wrote: “Are your hemlocks old growth or just big?” They are (were) between 80-100 years old. Thursday night during the ice storm one was completely uprooted. (And took out my fence and power lines)
Another broke at the bottom of the trunk and fell into one of my cedars. We took it the rest of the way down today before it ended up on my house.
Two more small, diseased hemlocks were also uprooted.

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treeswarper
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PostTue Dec 27, 2022 9:46 am 
The unanswered question, or maybe I missed it, is what is the ideal number of trees per acre on those stands. Are they overstocked to begin with? Too much fire suppression? Not enough thinning? Then unable to withstand a drought because of overstocking. Nothing new about this. I suspect nature is going to thin the stands that people won't do and contribute more smoke to the atmosphere in the summers. In olden days, the dead trees would be quickly cut and hauled to mills. Now they won't so nature's gonna burn it.

What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities

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