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Time to check pine trees

Richard Snell
Barton County Extension Agent

Now is the time to get rid of dead Austrian and Scotch pine trees. We are in the midst of a pine wilt outbreak across most of the state and the best way of slowing the spread of the disease is to remove dead pines.

The nematodes which cause the disease, live on the host, pine sawyer beetle, and spread the wilt disease which basically chokes the tree of water and nutrients during the late summer and fall months. There are a lot of nematodes in nature and each is crop and disease specific.

I know it is not cheap to take out a tree but it is for your own as well as your neighbor’s good, especially if you have a windbreak. You need to protect your remaining trees and keep them healthy.

So, what do you do? You need to have the tree cut down level with the ground. Then perhaps mound several inches of soil on top just for extra protection. The cut tree needs to be gotten rid of completely by the middle of March and preferably by the end of February. That means burn it or bury it. It can be taken to a compost pile where they will grind it or burn it. However, do not save it for next year’s firewood. It needs to be burned right away. If stacked up, the logs can allow beetle movement.


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