I wrote the county forester this morning as i believe one of the dead pines -- the one closet to the power line -- has Southern Pine Beetles infesting it.
Dear Ranger Baird:
Our home is on a 4 acre lot at the address at the end of this message, and the power company has a pole on our property next to our driveway. This past winter they took out two of our yellow pines: one that had been dead for a while, one they thought was infected, to protect the lines.
This past weekend i was catching my breath from yard work [really? Did i need this much detail?] and noticed a pine next to our septic field had all turned brown. It's far enough from our home and the power to not threaten any one and will be a fine destination for the woodpeckers, i thought. Then i noticed that beside our driveway, much closer to the power line, another pine had lost all its needles.
I've looked at the base of the pine; see the attached [same photos as at iNaturalist]: there's "sawdust" at the base of the tree and yellow crust around bore holes.
I believe our stand of yellow pines (loblolly, last time i casually checked needles to a key) to be about 75 years old, assuming the land went fallow when sold to land speculators C C Wren [They owned lots of land in the county; i suspect the forester will have heard of them]. Our neighbors to the east are a 60 acre stand of woods that i assume has had some timbering and is used for hunting. I assume some mortality is to be expected, and am happy to host snags for wildlife purposes. However, i don't want to be responsible for some epicenter of Southern Pine Beetle infestations.
Your advice regarding responsible management is welcome. Also, i would like to cut this pine before the Duke power butchers show up. I would like someone who could minimize the impact on a very close tulip poplar and the succession hardwoods, who could cut the top of the tree down to prevent damage to the power line, but leave as tall a snag remaining for wildlife. Recommendations for whom to contact for that service would also be welcome.
I would LOVE for the county forester to come talk to me about my woods. I wonder if we should timber the front. There are a few good sized hardwoods mixed in with the pines so it wouldn't be pathetic, but oaks need the shade and the oaks i've seen are still rather spindly. I had hoped for more time, time to plant chinqapins and hybrid chestnuts and filberts and persimmons and pawpaws and more beeches.
Must run - time for commute