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Author Topic: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)  (Read 30322 times)

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Offline Jeff

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Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« on: September 15, 2010, 12:55:25 PM »
Here at the cabin in the eastern end of Michigan's U.P., we started noticing the death of a Tamarack here and there, but didn't pay a huge attention to it. Last year we had several more die (a couple dozen) and we started to pay closer attention, but figured it was wet/dry stress problems.  This year almost every tree is effected (infected?) and clearly doomed. I now see, that I have a few trees down the road on my twenty acres that died this year as well. I have many Eastern Larch that are of pretty good size that as yet still look healthy but I think its only a matter of time.  After spending some time in the effected areas, I am sure this is a bug problem and doing a bit of research on the internet, I think the problem could be the eastern larch beetle.

Here are some photos. the trees leaf out as normal, then lose their needles early in the season and are dead. If you find a tree that looks to have normal foliage within the group, you find where the bark is already coming off to show what appears to be insect galleries and the little pin point sized what I am guessing are either entrance or exit holes.

 











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Offline ely

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2010, 04:42:09 PM »
will you be able to salvage and lumber or is it a total loss.?

Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2010, 05:18:11 PM »
That's sad, Jeff. One of my favorite trees when I lived in Maine. We had a huge one in our yard, 30" abh and over 100 ft. tall. It started to die about 15 years ago and my dad cut it.
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Offline ahlkey

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2010, 05:33:57 PM »
Attached is a PDF file from the minnesota DNR website if you haven't seen it already. From your pictures it does look like the eastern larch beetle but this year we certainly have received more than our normal amount of rainfall.  

Offline saltydog

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2010, 08:44:51 PM »
2or3 years ago it started happing around my place ive harvested some every year  the last three years. it sure gets light quick. you really notice it on the pulpwood check. i live in the middle of the U.P. near gulliver
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Offline Gary_C

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2010, 04:39:41 AM »
A year ago this past spring, I clear cut a plantation of European Larch that was planted by the MN DNR in SE MN. They had some excellent growth rates in the 30 or so years since it was planted but the bugs had thinned it out so bad that the Buckthorn was taking over. And it was planted on level ground on top of a hill so it was not wet ground. 

So I am sure you are right in that pests are responsible for the deaths of your trees. The DNR forester on that job I cut said that was a problem with Larch or Tamarack in that there were too many pests that attack the trees.

Here are two pictures I took on that job. The first one shows how thin the stand had become.

 



This one shows a few that were on the edge of the hill they wanted left standing. There were some 15 inch dia trees in that stand but they sure had a lot of taper. 

 

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Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2010, 08:50:47 AM »
The tree with many names-- in Maine we called it Hack or Hackmatack. But we had special words for everything there. . . . . .
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2010, 01:29:06 PM »
I'm not sure exactly what we should do yet. My brother-in-law and I will develop some sort of a plan of attack. He has much more effected here then I do. My trees are for the most part bigger, but more isolated from each other, where as Pete has some pretty pure stands as an over story.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2010, 04:00:04 PM »
I asked my friend up in Sault, Ontario when I was out that way and he gave me 2 or 3 bug names which escape me now, and the bug you suggest could be one of them. He was familiar with the problem as he is an entomologist with Forestry Canada. He's not that far from where Jeff's cabin is and frequently travels to Michigan.
Move'n on.

Offline Jeff

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2010, 04:05:41 PM »
Could you direct him to this thread? I would think the photos might be a pretty telling story.  I'm guessing we are going to have to implement some sort of salvage plan. On Pete's its worse as other then the tag alder, the larch is the prominent species. If we take that all out, what do we do then? We really don't want more tag alder.
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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2010, 06:54:48 PM »
Message sent, only don't expect expedience as he is often away from town.  :-\
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Offline snowstorm

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2010, 08:42:48 PM »
in maine we call it european larch desiese   the story i heard was it came from europe with some hack ... larch....that was used for pillings at the cargo port in eastport. it has killed most of the hack up here

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2010, 09:44:47 PM »
Larch saw fly has been responsible for most defoliation in my area, it comes and goes like the budworm. They look like green moth caterpillers in bunches. I've killed a few on a European larch a couple years back and never saw another. I don't see any bugs on my planted larch on the woodlot, thanks to a diverse species mix and no monoculture. Now we just have to increase the moose tags. ::)

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Offline Jeff

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2010, 09:48:45 PM »
This is not a defoliation. Well, I suppose ultimately it is.
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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2010, 10:08:55 PM »
Yeah, I remember. I wasn't offering this insect as a diagnoses, just commenting as to what has been hitting ours back east.
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Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2010, 10:27:05 PM »
Is it just me, or are way too many tree species going the way of the American Chestnut?
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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2010, 04:37:51 AM »
When we get these pests it seems to always be in the name of global commerce. Nobody has the forethought of possible ecological consequences. Then there becomes a campaign to save the trees with little hope of preventing the spread of the pest or the financial means to do a whole lot toward it. Then, after a period of time when all the studies are written and people whose career it is the write them find something else to write about, the focus is directed toward another pest which needs another study written to put on the shelf next to the last one.  ;)
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #17 on: September 17, 2010, 09:13:01 AM »
Actually, the turn in conversation about this seems to be a bit out of place because in this instance, the larch beetle is a native North American Insect. It's been around a long time with outbreaks documented clear back to the late 1800's early 1900's and pretty wide spread.

Pretty good paper here from the Forest Service.

http://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/fidls/elb/elb.pdf
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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2010, 01:20:42 PM »
So hasn't the larch sawfly Jeff, it's came and went in many cycles since the 1800's, yet it was introduced. But, as you observed this problem in your larch is not a defoliator and quite possibly native. I guess this thread is subject to all the many twists, conjecture, meandering and opinion that many take for the sake of participating. When do we talk food? :D

I don't know if there will be a satisfactory solution to the larch infestation your experiencing unless it involves  replacing larch with say black spruce. But, with budworm in the area that don't seem right either. Maybe it's one of them cycles and the larch will be renewed in a new generation on it's own. Seems it's shade intolerant however and if it's going to reseed it better be quick to get above the alders and weeds. The odds are probably black spruce is the best solution, something deer won't eat and budworm may overlook until it passes it's cycle before it gets to pole size. And will survive in alder cover to possibly benefit in some way if alder leaf beetle hammer the alder canopy, but allow enough alder to provide nitrogen to the spruce. We have had budworm here and yet we reforest with spruce, and if memory serves, budworm will take fir over spruce sometimes.
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Offline Okrafarmer

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Re: Loss of our Tamarack (Eastern Larch)
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2010, 09:42:21 PM »
There sure are a lot of Larch, from where SD lives all the way to Alaska (not sure if they're all the same species) but I hope there at least are areas where the bugs don't get them. It sure would be a shame to lose it-- the north parts of Canada and Alaska can't boast of too many species to begin with, and Larch is a major part of the wilderness up there. Even in Maine I remember seeing them in droves once you got north of Route 2-- on a fall day you could drive up to Anson or Athens or Dover Foxcroft and see thousands of young to older Hackmatacks turning yellow to drop their needles. I'd hate to think of losing them all.
No matter how conventional wisdom may fly in the face of radical thought, it's still the most popular type.

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