Mountain Pine Beetle
We horsekeepers must be good stewards of the land. Besides pasture management, we must also keep on top of brush and tree management.
The Mountain Pine Beetle has been a big problem in Colorado and Wyoming over the last 10 years or so but so far we have been lucky and the vast majority of the Ponderosa Pines and other evergreens on our property are still green and healthy.
But last June (2009) during one of those wild Rocky Mountain thunderstorms, we heard a loud crack and wondered what was hit. The next day we found that one of the Ponderosa Pines in our upper pasture had taken a direct lightning hit and the bark was blown off the tree in a spiral.
It didn’t take the pine beetles long to find the distressed tree. They moved into the portion of the bark that was still attached and by this spring (2010) the tree was dead.
We contacted our local forester and he advised us to cut the tree down as soon as possible and treat the tree so that the beetles wouldn’t emerge this July or August and infest other trees.
There are a variety of methods of treatment including various forms of solar treatment which includes laying the diseased portions face up toward the sun, either with bark on or removed, and with or without the use of a plastic cover. There is much information on the Colorado State University website.