Landowners learn about mountain pine beetle

Ellen Nelson
North Fork Weed Coop

The North Fork Weed Coop recently sponsored a workshop on pertinent natural resource issues including the mountain pine beetle epidemic, spring wildlife issues and noxious weed management in Larimer County.

A group of 35 to 40 landowners gathered at the Red Feather Lakes POA Hall the afternoon of June 11 to ask questions of David Leatherman, forest entomologist, Colorado State Forest Service (retired), and an expert on the Mountain Pine Beetle, Tim D’Amato, Larimer County Land Stewardship Manager, and Justin Foster, Wildlife Technician with the Colorado Division of Wildlife at Cherokee Park.

The key concepts that Leatherman reiterated were: mountain pine beetle is a native insect; hundreds of species within the forest ecosystem depend in the mountain pine beetle; mountain pine beetle is a “keystone” species, and as such is absolutely essential to the natural functioning and health of pine forests; mountain pine beetle is an agent of renewal in old, stagnant pine forest stands.

While it may be tempting to spray hundreds of trees to protect them from the beetle, it is important to remember the overuse of insecticides can endanger beneficial insects and birds. David Leatherman outlined the following three steps of mountain pine beetle management:

1. Preventatively spray your favorite few trees before July, when the beetles usually fly. The use of Verbenone patches may also help protect a few favorite trees from infestation.
2. Walk your property, identify all currently infested trees and treat them properly before the beetles fly.
3. Initiate thinning and other measures to diversify your forest. A basic rule of thumb about tree spacing: The optimal distance between trees in feet is roughly equal to the diameter of the tree in inches multiplied by two.

For more information on the North Fork Weed Coop, send an email to [email protected] or visit the website

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