Why are my trees crumbling?


Why are my trees crumbling?

Oregon has many dying and dead trees.

Individual trees and groups of trees may be dying. This could indicate that there is a drought problem. (

This overview will provide you with some information about your trees as well as tips on how to keep them healthy.

Adequate moisture

Trees need enough moisture to enable their defense mechanisms work properly..If trees are exposed to drought, they may not have the resources necessary to resist diseases. The tree-growing season in Oregon is marked by high levels of moisture. The trees then experience prolonged dry periods that cause soil to lose its moisture.

Overcrowded trees, marginal soils, hot, dry locations (such as slopes south or west) and trees that are susceptible to disease will eventually be lost to natural selection.

Excessive heat

Even if the soil is moist, trees can experience drought symptoms. This can cause leaf damage and stress.

Many areas in Oregon have experienced temperatures that were higher than normal for longer periods of the past few summers. This has caused leaf loss in hardwoods (broadleaf), and conifer mortality.

The decline

Many conifer trees that appear to be in decline now actually started their decline over a year earlier..Lack of heat or moisture can cause stress, which in turn leads to reduced resistance and allows for insect invasions on stems and branches. The larvae ate bark and wood, and then laid eggs. Further damage to the trees encouraged further insect invasion. The trees finally gave up and died.

Tree death is rarely caused by insects.

Once the process is initiated, it can be difficult to reverse. Many conifers die in the spring and summer because of previous damage. The insects simply exploit trees’ weakening conditions. They can’t save them if the root cause isn’t addressed.

Forest pests

Several common forest pests take advantage of drought/heat-stressed trees. This includes bark beetles, wood borers, beetles, and weevils that infest tree stems and branches, as well as beetles, weevils, and fungi that can cause branch and/or stem cankers. Insects and fungi species are usually specific to the host tree species. Douglas-fir, for example, is unlikely to be attacked if it is infected by ponderosa pine.

Bark beetles and borers spend large parts of their lives under stressed or dead trees’ bark. Boring dust can also be seen. One other species might be found in the middle of the stem. Another could be located at the base.

Reddening needles indicate that insects can be long gone before you notice them.

Bark beetles and borers are difficult to control in forest settings. Bark beetles and borers can be difficult to control in forest settings. These techniques can be used for hardwood trees, but not for conifers. An arborist or landscape professional should have the appropriate training, equipment, and certifications.


Tree stress can be reduced by thinning. This allows trees to get more moisture.

If the trees are in good condition, they can be sold or used for firewood.

You don’t have to remove all dying or dead trees. You can leave some trees standing as snags or logs to provide wildlife habitat.

Even ponderosa Pine is suffering from increased mortality due to western pine beetle (secondary drought/heat) in eastern Oregon. In eastern Oregon, even ponderosa Pine is suffering from increased mortality due to western pine beetle (secondary drought/heat).

General advice for keeping trees healthy

Use thin to reduce tree-to-tree competition. 

Trees that are closer together will be more successful than trees that are farther apart. Trees that grow close together will be more competitive than those that are further apart. It won’t save trees that are already in danger.

Manage vegetative competition around young trees.

Young trees are vulnerable to herbicides, grasses, and shrub competition. Young trees can be very vulnerable to competition from herbs, shrubs, and grasses.

Individual trees can benefit from infrequent, deep watering during dry seasons.

Trees that are steep or in competition with other vegetation, such as those with fast draining areas or with steep slopes may need more frequent watering.

Use a soakerhose to get the soil saturated. Use a soakerhose to cover the tree about 2/3 of the length of the stem. It is essential that the soil remains dry between waterings. Many trees are unable to tolerate prolonged flooding in their root zone. Mulch is a good option to protect yard trees’ roots and reduce competition.

A tree of love or plant favor that is well-suited to the area.

You might consider replanting your tree using a different species to suit the soil, temperature, and moisture conditions. You can also let a native tree replace your tree.

Things You Need to Know

Would you like to sell your conifer stems in

You may have noticed sticky “pitch”, which is a stream of water running down the stem of your conifer. This prevents disease-causing organisms from entering trees and also flushes out bark-boring insects.

Clear pitch or white pitch are signs that your tree has suffered damage, but is fighting back. If the pitch is darker, it is less likely that it will recover.

It’s more than bark beetles or drought.

Many pests and diseases can cause tree death. Trees are susceptible to many diseases and pests, including heat, drought, and bark beetles.

  • Insects that eat leaves/needles, or fungal infections by them by fungal bugs
  • Fungal disease in roots or stems
  • Fruit, cones, and buds are at high risk of insect or fungal attack
  • Parasitic plants, such as dwarf or true mistletoe, can invade your garden.
  • Animals such as bear, elk and porcupine, squirrels and beavers can cause damage.

See“Want to know more? “Below.

Are there any dead branches on your Douglas Firs?

Small Douglas-fir trees can suffer from cankers and twig-weevils. These cankers can occur when they are stressed by heat or drought. These cankers appear as sunken, sunken regions of dead tissue around branch collars. Rarely, one of these can cause the tree to be felled.

Weevils can be treated with insecticides. However, dead branches should be cut off and burned to expose the living material. The weevil will most often be found under trees’ bark and will try to find the intersection of living and dead material. However, it is possible to remove infested branch if necessary.

Last point…

Trees can die as is.

Trees can also die naturally.

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