The official term is root rot and it is the label used for several kinds of stump illness. Fir trees can get a disease that begins below ground in the root of the tree and works its way up. It can kill a tree but what is worse is that the infected roots can touch a nearby tree and can spread the disease.
Because it uses the underground roots as the catalyst, trees that are 20 feet away from each other can still touch roots and spread the disease. Mike will cut off several feet off this tree up to where the disease has not affected the wood. The tree will still be viable timber for sale to a mill after the disease has been cut off.
We will be taking a closer look at the rest of the trees in this area to remove any that look like they may have rot issues.
Once this tree is taken out of the woods, my right-hand-helper and I will clean up any of the pieces that have been cut off, split them into chunks small enough to lift into the Gator, and haul them out of the woods to decrease the chance of the stump rot working its way into the soil as it decays.
I have been told by a forester that in Canada the loggers pull the whole stump out of the ground to try to remove the disease from the forest. Although this is a good method of control, it is also very expensive and it disturbs large areas of the forest floor which could lead to other problems such as erosion, disruption of helpful bacteria and degradation of the natural forest.