Mountain Folk News
 
February 2007

Welcome, Division Four!

We'd like to officially welcome the residents of Division 4 to our Home Owners Association!

We trust you feel good about the unanimous vote in October that brought you into the fold. And we hope that you will avail yourself of our occasional Newsletters, our website (www.duquettepines.com), and, of course, our monthly board meetings to let us know your concerns.

Every member of the board is eager to work with you on issues relating to your particular CCR's, which are quite different from those in Divisions 1,2, and 3.

At the time the Duquette Pines Architectural Control Board (dba DPHOA) accepted responsibility for road maintenance/snow removal of Western Lands Division #4 roads, we continued with the existing annual billing cycle previously established by Western Land Company. Division #4 property owners were billed for road maintenance on a January through December basis. That billing cycle differed from DPACB fiscal billing cycle of July through June for Divisions #1 through #3.

As all four Divisions are now members of the same Association, beginning July 2007 we will maintain one billing cycle for all property owners.

To accomplish this change Subdivision #4 owner will have received an invoice for road maintenance for the six month period January 2007 through June 2007. In late June 2007 you will receive the annual road maintenance bill for the July 2007 through June 2008 fiscal year.

We will work hard to keep the lines of communication open and look forward to your active participation in our Home Owners Association, including running for elective office in June.

Dogs Running At Large

A reminder to all Duquette Pines residents from your Home Owner Association about Dogs running at large. The following is a direct quote from Idaho State Law.

25-2805 Dogs running at large--Penalty. Any person, who, after complaint has been made by any person to the sheriff, who shall serve a copy of said notice upon such person complained of, willfully or negligently permits any dog owned or possesssed or harbored by him to be, or run, at large without a competent and responsible attendant or master, within the limits of any city, town, or village or in the vicinity of any farm, pasture, ranch, dwelling house, or cultivated lands of another, or who willfully or negligently fails, neglects or refuses to keep any such dog securely confined within the limits of his own premises when not under the immediate care and control of a competent and responsible attendant or master, shall be guilty of an infraction punishable as provided in section 18-113A, Idaho Code.

Idaho Code 18-113A. PUNISHMENT FOR INFRACTION. Every offense declared to be an infraction is punishable only by a penalty not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) and no imprisonment.

Please try to abide by Idaho State Law so that your Dogs do not become a problem for you neighbors.

Manager's Report

Roads

We are evaluating, with our road contractor, certain areas of our roads that will require some upgrades in the spring. Some areas will require build up to allow better run-off from snow melt and rain. Cleaning ditches, along with other routine maintenance will be done. The Board is reviewing dust abatement options.

Water

Our water system seems to be in good shape at this time however, we need to be aware that the low snow pack and rain fall this season may impact water this summer. Please conserve water. This spring work will be done on two main water line valves. If they need to be replaced, we will have to shut off the water to the Subdivisions for approximately 4 to 6 hours at each repair period. If that becomes necessary, owners will be notified 3 days in advance.

Trees

With the drought conditions, our trees may be stressed and susceptible to attack by Pine Bark beetles. If you have dead trees on your property, they should be removed promptly. With his permission, we are reprinting information, titled Tree Health, authored by Ray Eklund for prior newsletters. Ray is a long time Duquette Pines resident who is District Silviculturist for the Idaho City Ranger District of the USDA Forest Service.

Protecting Your Pines

One of the things that enhances our quality of life in Duquette Pines is the beauty of the ponderosa pine trees that surround us. Although dead and dying trees are always part of the natural environment surrounding us and our homes, it is still painful to see a favorite large old ponderosa pine tree or a grove of young pines, turn from a healthy green to foliage of rusty orange.

Most people living in the subdivision either have or will experience the loss of one or more of their pine trees sooner or later, but there are some things we can do as homeowners to keep our pine trees as healthy as possible and reduce the risk of death touching them.

Ponderosa pine is a long-lived hardy tree that survives well in droughty climates and on harsh nutrient deficient soils. In short they are pretty tough. Most of the larger pines in Duquette are approximately 100 years old, with a few incidental individuals older than that. These trees have reached an age where they are beginning to fully mature (how would you like to reach young adulthood at 100 years?), but they are also becoming more vulnerable to one of nature's "thinning agents"...the bark beetle.

These little noticed insects (seldom larger than pencil lead thickness) are the major killing agent of ponderosa pine in this area. While the threat of tree-killing bark beetles is always present, people sometimes unwittingly aid the bark beetle’s cause, or neglect to remedy a situation that allows them to do their damage unhindered.

Three major species of bark beetles that prey on ponderosa pine live in our area. Each has its own ecological niche and attack the pines in different ways, but often work together. They are the turpentine beetle, western pine beetle and the pine engraver beetle (also know as Ips beetles). All three species of beetles tend to attack weakened or injured trees.

The turpentine beetle attacks the base of large trees, where as the western pine beetle attacks the middle stem portion, and the pine engraver attacks the top. These beetles kill the trees, or portions of them, by boring through the bark during the warm late spring and summer months laying eggs as they go.

The eggs hatch into soft bodied little white grubs, born very hungry, that further borrow and eat most of the tree's inner bark. As if this isn't enough, the adult beetles that attacked the tree in the first place bring with them a bluestain fungi that plugs the tree's water conducting system. Have you seen what looked like a perfectly good looking pine tree look a little dry and off color one day, then turn a straw yellow color, and then a rusty orange color in what seemed like only a couple of weeks?

The beetles with their fungi friend essentially girdle the tree inside the bark and quickly shut off the supply of water to the top. The young grubs mature and emerge from the dead trees that same year or the next, looking for new live trees to overcome. Sometimes the beetles can develop tremendous numbers moving from tree to tree in successive years, killing larger and larger groups of trees.

These are native insects doing what they were designed to do. Before the snow is all gone and the warm days of spring are here, I want to remind you how very important it is to remove the winter-snow damaged trees and slash. The damaged-broken trees and limbs are highly attractive to pine engraver beetles, that will quickly attack and colonize the still green slash as the snow leaves and the warmer days of spring progress. These beetles will attack and kill healthy pine trees!

The beetles produce several generations through the warm spring/summer months, and when the second and larger generation emerges from the green slash or damaged trees in late spring or early summer, they will attack neighboring sapling and pole size pines, or the tops of large pines, either killing them or severely weakening them.

The dying or weakened trees in turn attract another beetle, the western pine beetle, that will kill additional trees in an ever enlarging patch, which can continue for years to come. This scenario has been commonly played out in and around the subdivision for years. Another situation you may have noticed in the subdivision is where some of the larger pines are stripped of their outer bark, and the bark pieces lie in a large pile around the base of the tree. These are trees that were attacked by western pine beetles late last summer or fall.

Some of the trees may still have a green crown and a healthy appearance from a distance. The telltale sign of the bark stripping is due to the winter-feeding of woodpeckers on the bark beetle larvae. As with the winter breakage, the bark beetles in these trees also pose a threat to the neighboring pines, as there will still be large numbers of bark beetle larvae left even after the woodpecker feeding.

What should a property owner do to prevent them from getting the upper hand? The best defense for your pines' health is prevention. Once the pines are successfully infested they cannot be saved. The key is to clean up any green slash (even if only 2 or 3 inches in diameter), and remove winter damaged and infested trees before these beetle populations can build up.

When should the slash cleanup take place? Slash removal should be early enough in the spring before the beetles can colonize it, or in the case of infested trees, removal should occur before the beetle larvae can mature and fly to adjacent trees. Both of these are weather dependant, and the warmer the spring, the faster the beetles will mature and large beetle populations develop. These damaged and broken trees and limbs are highly attractive to the pine engraver beetles that quickly colonize the still green wood as the warmer days of spring progress. They produce several generations through the warm spring/summer months.

When the second and larger generation emerges from the slash or damaged trees in late spring or early summer, they often attack neighboring sapling and pole size pines, or the tops of large pines, either killing them or severely weakening them.

Now enter bark beetle number two: the western pine beetle often comes in and finishes the job The sooner the winter damaged trees, slash, and already infested trees can be removed the better the chance of protecting the neighboring healthy pines. An exact date of slash and infested tree cleanup is not possible, but it should be within 3 to 4 weeks after most of the snow is gone to be on the safe side (which may be approximately the 1st part of April). Later than this, the insects will become very active and efforts to control them may be futile.

The key here is to clean up any green slash and removed winter damaged trees before these beetle populations can build up. For this same reason never bring green firewood home and stack it against or near live standing pine trees. Green firewood or slash that is bark beetle infested, or subject to being infested, needs to be either totally removed from the forested area, or burned. It can also be rendered useless to the breeding beetles by either removing the bark, or splitting the wood and drying it out in an open area with plenty of sunlight. Covering the material completely with black plastic with no exposed gaps until the hot part of summer is another technique that can be used to kill any beetles already within the wood.

The other key to your pines' health is simply to avoid doing things that injure or weaken them. Bark beetles are always in the forest. They are simply doing their job by removing the sickest and most weakened trees. The best defense for your pines' health is prevention. Once the pines are successfully infested they cannot be saved.

Please keep in mind the following suggestions to a avoid aiding the beetle's cause:
DO NOT stack green or infested wood next to live ponderosa pines.
DO NOT strangle pines with cables, clotheslines, wire, etc.
DO NOT smother roots of pine trees with earth piled around their trunks.
DO NOT cut off pine trees water supply with patios, concrete pads, etc. laid over their root systems.
DO NOT excavate or dig trenches near trees that sever major roots, or that suddenly changes the water table.
DO NOT be too eager to remove what appear to be "sickly" or off colored trees. They may be simply going through a normal needle shed.

DO clean up green slash and winter damaged trees.
DO keep ponderosa pines healthy and vigorous by keeping them well spaced out.
DO remove bark beetle infested trees.
DO contact a qualified forester or entomologist for help and advice on keeping your trees as healthy and long living as possible.

Submitted by: Ray Eklund