I have some very large pine trees in my yard, around 40 foot tall. Last summer the needles began to fall off of the trees. The needles have covered the ground and the trees have only needles on the top 20 feet of the trees. Nothing has come out this spring.
Have my trees died and how can I tell? I was hoping that they were in a dormant stage and just needed a rest, but my husband seems to think they have been invaded by beetles. Is it too late for my trees? How long will it take for them to rot down or do I need to take advantage of the wood soon?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Karen: It is difficult to say for certain what is going on with your pines but given the bottom half of the trees are bare, this is concerning. Your husband may be on the right track. Bark beetles, weevils and sawyer beetles all attack pines in Kentucky. I would suggest hiring a certified arborist to come out and identify the problem. They will also be able to give you advice in terms of treatment or removal options.
The horticulture agent at the Hardin county cooperative extension office may be able to guide you in the right direction in finding a local certified arborist. The phone number is (270)765-4121. Pines require full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. Trees not growing in these conditions can become stressed and are more susceptible to insect and disease issues. Site selection is essential for healthy pines.