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We need to remove a number of trees that have been killed by some kind of pine beetle - presumably black turpentine beetle - on eastern Long Island. These trees had suffered injury from salt spray during superstorm Sandy.

There are wetland permitting issues involved, and so we need to revegetate to keep everyone happy. Our original thought was to plant some oaks suitable for the site as we feared the beetles in the area would kill any pitch pines we planted. However we were told that we should replant "in-kind," and that the new, healthy seedlings would not be bothered by the beetles.

Any input would be welcome.

  • I see you haven't accepted an answer. :) Is it because you haven't gotten a satisfactory answer, or did you just forget? – J. Musser Jan 16 '15 at 21:43
  • @J.Musser I haven't felt that the answers form a consensus, and none stands out as being authoritative. That said, we cleared the trees and have found little to no infection in pines under 3-4" DBH. So this favors your answer. – That Idiot Jan 20 '15 at 12:48
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Another point of view.

The beetles usually only attack trees that are compromised healthwise. They don't generally attack small trees. By the time the trees are large enough to attack, the beetles will have moved on, looking for new food sources, and the trees are going to be no more susceptible than any others. The trees should be kept healthy; the healthier the trees, the less likely they will be attacked.

If you were allowed, planting deciduous trees would be good, but in the situation you're in, planting new pines will be fine.

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Replanting trees in this environment will likely result in weakened plants and simply feed the insect population. As J. Musser above mentions, establishing a base of hardy shrubbery is necessary first.

  • I agree, insects already are looking for these pines. Healthy or not, they will be compromised by the beetles. I would not plant these pines. Could you post a picture of this beetle? There can be another host in their cycle. What is 'pitch pine'? Botanical name... – stormy Sep 24 '14 at 23:23
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    @stormy I'm pretty sure they're referring to refers to Pinus rigida as pitch pine. And then here is a picture of a turpentine beetle. The adults bore into the inner bark of stressed or injured pines, the larvae live in the bark. Completion of the life cycle of the black turpentine beetle requires 2 1/2 to 3 months. For why replanting these pines won't be an issue if the affected trees were removed, please see my above answer. – J. Musser Sep 25 '14 at 10:44
  • These beetles/larvae can kill a healthy tree in that amount of time. Did you read about the fungus they infect the tree with that really hurries up the process? I got the rigida=pitch pine thing (I think I said 'or')...it is so ingrained in me that one just does not use the same species being attacked. Makes sense, and so simple to plant something else indigenous...Are they cleaning up the pine debris? – stormy Sep 25 '14 at 19:32
  • @stormy fyi the only time they attack healthy trees is during heavy overpopulations. Also, if they aren't carrying infection, they won't necessarily be fatal. – J. Musser Sep 25 '14 at 19:55
  • Would you really plant one of the stricken pines in this situation? Hurricane Sandy happened 2 years ago. Enough time to build up quite the population of hungry insects. Yes or no? – stormy Sep 25 '14 at 21:01
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Turpentine beetleI don't think that replanting plants that have got a community of insects feeding off of them would be a good idea. Granted the storm weakened them, but healthy plants are going to be feeding the beetle larvae that have found the original pines. I'd find a good indigenous tree that hasn't had any problems with insects, now or in the past. Amelanchier alnifolia (Serviceberry) is one I can't believe hasn't been planted more. It's a great understory plant that won't be bothered by a little shade while the remaining pines return. Oaks have had many problems, be careful which variety you choose.

I looked up a few sites and planting new pines (Rigida or Pitch, Scot Pine or Japanese Black Pine) is not a good idea. When insect populations go up they will attack healthy pines. Unless you want to baby the new trees with pesticides, just plant non-pine indigenous stuff. I am sure they should have a list of recommendations at your extension service in your state.

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