Ailing Douglas Fir?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Jane Pearce, May 7, 2013.

  1. Jane Pearce

    Jane Pearce Member

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    I have a tall, old Douglas Fir in the back yard. Over the past few years the City has over-zealously sheared off branches from the one side to protect their wires. Also over the years, I've noticed little piles of sawdust at the foot of the tree. About 8 years ago there were ants in the tree and I took the piles of sawdust to be related to their presence but for at least 5 years there has been no sign of ants. Lately large sheets of bark have fallen off the lower trunk. Looking at the inside of them, I wonder if they show signs of beetles. I'm including a photo (with a few wood bugs lurking). The tree has been a heavy cone producer for a long time but this spring I've noticed not the usual green tips at the end of the branches but instead a cluster of beginner cones. Again see photos.

    Should I be concerned?

    I've had the tree looked at in the past by the same arborist and he believes there's nothing to worry about but I feel I should get another opinion. Any suggestions for a specialist?
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The rows of small cones are male strobili, these produce pollen. Different strobili become seed cones. The winter buds are just starting to make the new spring shoot growth.

    If the trunk has beetles that could result in the death of the tree.
     
  3. Jane Pearce

    Jane Pearce Member

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    I've never seen a beetle on the tree. Would they be visible? The small mounds of sawdust at the base of the trunk have been in evidence for many years. What I've read about beetle infestation suggests that the tree would show signs of trouble within a year or two -- yellowing vegetation, etc. If beetles are not to blame, is there an explanation for the bark-shedding? The photo shows the bare section of the base of the trunk. The bark all around that feels unstable, ready to fall.

    How common would it be to find the beetle in an isolated tree?

    Thanks for the info about the strobili. Isn't it a bit late for the winter buds in Vancouver to be just starting to make the new spring shoot growth?
     
  4. ryansenechal

    ryansenechal Active Member

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    Have an Arborist or two come by for an assessment. I encourage these sort of matters to be handled by someone experienced and qualified, observing the entire scene, as it is easy for key factors and indicators to be missed by forum users.
     
  5. Jane Pearce

    Jane Pearce Member

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    Yes, I'm sure that's good advice but how to find someone whose primary interest isn't in taking down the tree?
     

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