Our extremely dry and hot summer last year is showing in the fir trees this year. It is noticeable when walking through the woods. Some of the trees that were not vigorously growing were traumatized by the extreme weather and are not looking good so far this year even though we had tremendous amount of rainfall so far this year.
When I say tremendous, I mean that we have almost reached the average rainfall in a rain year, that is October to October, and it is only May. This glut of water came too late for the trees that were already struggling. Some of the large trees show many more dead, reddish needles than usual and are sloughing off those that did not survive after last years heat. Trees that were a little stressed before the summer weather are at risk.
Trees that have stump rot or bugs (ants or beetles) are showing up in spots on the hillside and we will have to harvest those trees before they die completely. Some of them take several years of poor growth to die while others may linger longer. By observing how the trees are growing each year we can get the areas that are affected before a small problem becomes a larger, less manageable problem. The one summer will have a lasting effect on the timber in the area.
A task that I have been planning and putting of for several years has been plotting timber on our farm. Plotting is taking measurements and observations in many sections of a property. The date taken one year is compared by years and by decades to keep track of those areas that need attention.
I had visited a timber tract last year where the owners had plotted the entire acreage in blocks of 25 feet by 25 feet. They had an incredible amount of data and were able to pinpoint trees in danger of dying or trouble spots easily. Especially with our steep hillside and canyons, I will be happy with a tenth of the amount of data. I believe that this would be a good year to start this new task.