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Author Topic: White pine growth problem  (Read 3284 times)

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Offline tughill

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White pine growth problem
« on: November 01, 2009, 01:48:12 PM »
Hi all!
I have an old pasture that is starting to grow up in eastern white pine.  Size range is from tiny twig sapling to about 6" dbh maybe 25' tall.  I have started pruning the lower branches, because these are growing more or less in the open, and are very bushy, not self pruning yet.  All with the hope that in 30 years I will have some nice clear pine logs to saw.  I know it's probably not worthwhile $ wise in terms of payback on my labor, but it's a good way to spend a sunday afternoon.

Anyway...I noticed probably about 50% of the probably 400-500 trees have a central leader that has died off after the bark became scaly and flaky, and another branch has bent itself up to take the place of the central leader.  Some trees have had this occur multiple times.

My question is, is this normal for white pine, or is it because of a disease or pest? Genetics perhaps? Is there any way to control this?  There are nice straight trees right next to ones that have this problem.  Do you think that a 4" tree that has this crook in it where a branch bent up to take over the job of central leader will eventually be a decent log as the layers (growth rings) of wood build up to a point where it is much larger in diameter, say 18" for example?

Thanks
"Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not."- Thomas Jefferson
Local Farmer here won 10$ million in the lottery, when asked what he was going to do with his winnings, responded, "Keep on farming until that's all gone too."

Offline Tom

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Re: White pine growth problem
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2009, 02:14:33 PM »
Tughill
Here is a shot in the dark, the White Pine Weevil

About the damage.
Damage of the pine Candle is common in many pines and it is also common for there to be an alternate leader developed.  If it doesn't happen to often, the tree will recover and produce a decent log. Now, we don't grow White pine here, so I'm just guessing about it, but tip damaged slash and loblolly will tend to recover.  Granted, it's better if they didn't lose the initial tip.
Longleaf  generally dies here when it loses its candle, so it sounds like you are more in the ballpark of the slash. 

Is fire an option?  Fire is usually a pretty good way of getting rid of beetles if the tree can stand it.  This articl says that the beetle depends on the detrious on the ground beneath the tree for survival.  If fire isn't an option, perhaps an insectide might be.  You will have to determine when to apply it for it to work though.

Another option might be Diplodia a fungal disease, also curable.  If it is the fungal disease, care should be taken about your pruning.

This is interesting and I'll await someone from your area to answer. :)
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Online SwampDonkey

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Re: White pine growth problem
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2009, 03:04:40 PM »
If the weevils don't do a number on them, the rust will. Best to prune as you are to control rust and grow them in shade. So maybe the "cabbage pine" can cast enough shade on the smaller seedlings to make better trees of them.



cabbage pine

Grow them shaded until pole size and cut down the cabbages. Then along came the moose and broke everything off as it got to be 3 feet or better.  ::) ::) That's what is happening with my pine. Growing nice, and the darn moose have a frolicing and there goes your future pines.  >:(



moose damage
Move'n on.

Offline PAFaller

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Re: White pine growth problem
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2009, 05:52:14 PM »
I'll take a moose tag and help you with your moose problem ;)
It ain't easy...

Online SwampDonkey

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Re: White pine growth problem
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2009, 06:03:58 PM »
There seems to be no end to 'em. Just after the season closed I seen 4 in a bunch just across the road coming up from a beaver pond.  ::) My scarification trails in my plantation sections are corridors for moose.
Move'n on.

Offline Tom

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Re: White pine growth problem
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2009, 08:20:41 PM »
I've never heard that Moose are jumpers, so I assume that they are bulldozers.  Are there fences that might keep Moose out?
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Offline tughill

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Re: White pine growth problem
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2009, 08:37:28 PM »
Tom,
I think you nailed it with the white pine weevil.  I will try to get some photos, but i'm thinking thats what i've got.  Thanks for the links.

Anyone know what I can do to get rid of them, if I can confirm that that's the problem?  I could do some localized burning of the litter under the affected trees with my weed burner, especially now that the weeds have gone down somewhat.

Any comments on whether or not its at all worth the effort to prune?  In total I would estimate I've spent 10-12 hours pruning, with hand shears and pruning saw, over the last few weeks.  Probably a total of 400 trees, although I didn't keep track.  I tried to prune the lower 1/3 of total height of each tree, based on some USDA or USFS (I forget) info I read on the web.  And I'm thinking if I spend a similar amount of time each year for maybe the next 10 years, until the stems are all free of branches to 12-16 feet,  in maybe 30 years I should be able to begin harvesting and get at least 25 MBF, from the first harvest. 
"Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not."- Thomas Jefferson
Local Farmer here won 10$ million in the lottery, when asked what he was going to do with his winnings, responded, "Keep on farming until that's all gone too."

Offline Tom

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Re: White pine growth problem
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2009, 09:21:35 PM »
I think what you will find is that the recommendations are "not to prune more than 1/3 of the crown".  That might fit what you are doing.  The only detriment I can see about your pruning is the spreading of fungal diseases.  The link indicates that it is OK if the weather is dry.

I'm not so sure that burning with a weed torch would be the same as a controlled back burn.  The back burn (and sometimes a running fire) will kill insects, ticks etc. Running fires are usually less effective but don't usually get as hot and aren't as apt to kill the trees.   A Forester will have to tell you for sure.
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Offline Clark

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Re: White pine growth problem
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2009, 01:24:16 AM »
Anyone know what I can do to get rid of them, if I can confirm that that's the problem? 

It sounds like white pine weevil to me also.  No way to get rid of them necessarily.  To shield white pine from the WPW (have we seen that abbreviation yet?  Seems like everything else with EWP gets abbreviated) you need to control the environment around the tree.  Usually that means having an overstory, preferably not much of an overstory but just some.  Somehow (magic?) the weevil doesn't operate under a canopy of any sort.

The other way that they avoid the WPW is by growing taller.  It seems like they eventually grow taller than the insect likes to fly and they are no longer a problem for the trees.

I would say that your pruning efforts are probably worth it, to some extent.  It should help with WPBR (white pine blister rust) and give you the form needed for sawlogs.  I would suggest limiting your pruning to the best looking 100-150 trees per acre (17-21' between pruned trees).  If your stocking is above that the extra trees will not amount to much and pruning them is a waste of time when they will end up as pulp.

Clark
SAF Certified Forester

Online SwampDonkey

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Re: White pine growth problem
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2009, 03:42:11 AM »
Yeah like Clark said. I forget to mention why they should be shaded. It's to make the environment less favorable for weevils. The way Clark put it, is about the best advice your going to get on the problems with white pine. I know pruning won't eliminate all the rust troubles, but it cuts it down because the infection tends to hit in the lower limbs of the live crown and spreads to the trunk.  There are studies published on it, especially for western white pine.
Move'n on.

Offline JimMartin9999

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Re: White pine growth problem
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2009, 06:53:13 AM »
Yes, sounds like weevil and rust.
My white pine plantation is in south central NY so the problems are similar. After 28 years of growth so many of my plantation, 10 acres,6X8 feet spacing, were  hit by the weevil and rust  that I decided to cut down every third row and hope for hardwood  regeneration.  I helped out with some seedlings and seeds.
still waiting for results.   I got lots of ash regeneration but   expect destruction  of them soon due to the emerald ash borer.  I am getting some oak and red maple regeneration.
You can spray  within a very narrow time frame  in the spring to cut down the number of weevils but I sprayed twice and they came back.  All it did was postpone the damage higher up the stem.
Clark is right about the weevil only doing damage up to a certain height, but by then you have a badly damaged pine.
I would also follow his advice about only pruning the best, probably 50 to 100 per acre.

Here is where I would ask advice from the pros out there who have experience with white pine and the weesvils andrust.
My guess is that you should prune the 50 to 150 per acre if you have lots of time on your hands.  AND then fall all of the rest in the hope that better trees fill in the gaps.  Face white pine will probably never be of much value and haradwoods will. 
The pines left should protect the new regeneration and act as a nurse to the future forest.  Your grand children will be grateful.

Although most of the white pines in the monoculture plantation are weeviled, pines 100 meters into the woods where they have some shade are not attacked by the weevil.
Also, check with your  local DECNY guys.
Jim

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Re: White pine growth problem
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2009, 07:46:02 AM »
Depending on how advanced your pine are, the red oak might not do well, while the red maple flourish under shaded conditions. Red maple being very shade tolerant. I would not go cutting all the junk pine out until pole stage, because we have moose that just love to destroy pine trees. Safety in numbers. Leaving only the choicest pine makes them a target increasing their chances of damage from insect, disease and antlered critters.  ;) Up here I expect about 1-2 pine per acre to be decent quality.
Move'n on.

Offline Chuck White

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Re: White pine growth problem
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2009, 01:55:05 PM »
We have the same problem with the top dying off in our area.
We've been keeping them pruned up pretty well.
After they get a certain height (8-10'), they seem to be ok!
~Chuck~
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: White pine growth problem
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2009, 02:03:24 PM »
I've never heard that Moose are jumpers, so I assume that they are bulldozers.  Are there fences that might keep Moose out?

Tom, it takes a pretty tall fence to keep moose out!

When I was living in Alaska, it was very common to see them walk over a 4' chain link fence.
They really have long legs!
~Chuck~
Retired USAF 1989, Retired School Bus Driver 2012, now semi-retired Mobile Sawyer
1995 Wood-Mizer LT40HDG25 Kohler - Shingle & LapSider, Cooks Cat Claw Sharpener and single-tooth setter, 4-foot Logrite cant hook.
Basic mechanical skills are all that's required to maintain a Wood-Mizer


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