[Tweeters] Douglas-fir Die-off -- Off topic

Dennis Paulson dennispaulson at comcast.net
Mon May 27 15:08:23 PDT 2013

Hi, Denis.

We drove from Hood River, OR, to Seattle this morning, and I recalled your post. I'm sending it to tweeters as well just to remind people of this again.

I think I wouldn't even have thought about this if it weren't for your post, but going along I-84 west of Hood River, we all of a sudden noticed all the patches of orange-brown needles on the Douglas-firs. Many, many trees were affected from Cascades Locks to Rooster Rock State Park and a few farther west, then we dropped into the mostly riparian vegetation closer to Portland. We drove up I-205 and saw no brown needles there, then nothing on I-5 until the exit for US 12 West, when we started seeing just the occasional tree affected. A little greater frequency on more trees as we approached Nisqually, then again scattered trees from there through JBLM north to about Southcenter. I hadn't realize there were so few Douglas-firs along I-5 between Southcenter and Seattle, but that's the case, hardly enough to be considered a sample.

I wish I had thought about this when we were in eastern WA the day before, but we surely would have noticed it if it was as prevalent as it was along I-84 for a while. I pulled off and took some photos, if you need any more.

The affected trees were probably in the age group that you're talking about. The symptoms did NOT start at the top of the tree, however, but were mostly in lateral branches well below the top, often clumped in a way that made one think of contagion. Also, the affected trees were somewhat clumped, but there were also single brown-needled trees in the midst of large stretches of road with no other signs. We saw only a few trees that were so heavily affected that they were probably dead.

Definitely nothing like winter burn, had the look of some kind of fungus. I didn't see it on any other conifers, but 90% or more of what we looked at were Douglas-firs. If you learn more about it, many of us would be interested.


On May 22, 2013, at 12:04 PM, tweeters-request at mailman1.u.washington.edu wrote:

> Date: Wed, 22 May 2013 08:58:55 -0700

> From: Denis DeSilvis <avnacrs4birds at outlook.com>

> Subject: [Tweeters] Douglas-fir Die-off -- Off topic

> To: <tweeters at u.washington.edu>

> Message-ID: <BAY176-DS1195C7C4E8A65E6B9824B1FCA90 at phx.gbl>

> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"


> Tweeters,


> Because you're the largest, most out-in-the-field group of folks I know of,

> I'm turning to you to get a small bit of information.


> The problem: Douglas-fir trees, mostly in the under-20-yo group, are dying

> off in my area. In particular, I've noticed an incredible number of younger

> trees north and east of the Nisqually River throughout JBLM, Parkland,

> Spanaway, and Roy are dying. The symptoms usually start at the top of the

> tree and progress downward, with the leaves often turning a bright

> orange-brown. Within a few weeks of starting to turn color, the tree is

> dead. And it appears to be spreading to older trees, too.


> A person in the DNR, albeit with only one photograph to go by, thought it

> was due to "winter burn." However, winter burn is associated with wind, and

> hundreds of trees I've seen in the area that are affected aren't subjected

> to wind (they are under deep canopy, in a windbreak area, in moist

> locations, etc.). Another observer stated "It acts like a pythium in

> severity or a Fusarium/microdochium. The key for me is I do not see

> recovery which I would expect to see from winter burn."


> If you've noticed this die-off in your area, please send me a note (off post

> - directly) with the following information:


> Where you've seen this occurrence. For example, "Along highway 507 from the

> intersection of highway 7 to McKenna"; or "Along the Murray Creek wetland to

> the east of Pincus Road." Please be specific as you can, but don't go to a

> lot of trouble with GPS coordinates, etc. I'm merely trying to see how

> widespread is this phenomenon.


> Type(s) of trees affected. I believe this die-off is also affecting noble

> firs in the former Christmas tree farm near me. But I've seen this almost

> exclusively in Douglas-firs.


> Approximate number of trees affected. Subjective is definitely OK - "many,"

> "several," "just a few," etc.


> With your help, I'm going to compile a subjective overview of the extent of

> this problem and send what I find to the DNR and possibly to the plant

> pathologists at WSU. (Right now, I'd be worried if I were a Christmas-tree

> farmer and young Douglas-firs on a nearby property were dying.)


> Thanks for all your help, and may all your birds be identified,


> Denis DeSilvis


> Roy, WA


> Mailto: avnacrs4birds at outlook.com

Dennis Paulson
1724 NE 98 St.
Seattle, WA 98115
dennispaulson at comcast.net

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman11.u.washington.edu/pipermail/tweeters/attachments/20130527/693babee/attachment.html>

More information about the Tweeters mailing list