Are helmocks, Cedars and Firs suffering from drought related deaths?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by wynn, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. wynn

    wynn Active Member 10 Years

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    Doing a little research and reading I understand that 2012 was an exceptional "drought" year and it is thought that observations of die back in cedars (top down) and defoliation/death of many younger hemlocks may be due to that damage suffered in 2012 and general climate change. Have others observed an exceptional amount of forest tree dieback this year? Or know what might be causing it?

    Thanks so much for feedback.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Hemlocks die out when a stand is opened up for development anyway. They have also been getting adelgids although the native species does not just up and die when infested unlike the eastern one(s). Also recently there was a major dying off of hemlocks in a park near me, with only a small percentage surviving; affected trees had a small purple conk coming out of their trunks. I saw this same phenomenon on a trail in the mountains near here, this was in an area of remaining old growth so the effect was spectacular, large swaths of large trees dying and coming down in a short period of time.

    Western red cedar compartmentalizes so part of the top dying while the rest hangs on is typical. However, what people usually ask about is cedar flagging, where the oldest sprays die and turn reddish after summer drought has been in effect for awhile - typically in August, I think. This shows more on thin specimens on marginal sites, such as where there has been development - and people looking on who may wonder about it.
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Saw some cedars with drought symptoms in Turkey in native stands a while ago; the needles were short, sparse, and somewhat yellowed.
     
  4. wynn

    wynn Active Member 10 Years

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    Ron, what do I look for with the adelgids? Are these new to our area?

    Also, do you know what would have caused the purple conks - disease? Could this also be a factor for Firs?

    Michael. the cedars dying back seem to turn red from the top down to about 1/3 or even 1/2 way down. Quite rapidly, or so it seems. Most noticeable around mid Spring and seemingly in clusters by the edge near a developed lot or trees standing singularly on bluff areas -- probably drought I would think?
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Yes, they are compartmentalizing due to drought stress. You are talking about Thuja plicata, he is talking about Cedrus libani.
     

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