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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


For the week of Nov 27 - Dec 3, 2002

News

Spruces react badly to manís intrusion


By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer

Around town one can find only a so-so sampling of trees, since not many grow well here with the cold nights and desert like days. Spruces, chokecherries, cottonwoods, aspens and conifers are the norm.

But there is a "local tree problem that is occurring primarily with spruce trees," said Bill Josey, a certified arborist, with ArborCare Resources Inc. in Hailey.

Most of the trees affected in the Hailey and Ketchum town corridors and along Highway 75 look burnt and have experienced heavy needle drop. The "damage in the tree may appear as a clockwise striping up from the ground, similar to a barberpole," he said. Mites and bark beetles tend to attack diseased limbs, which further exacerbates the problem.

Bill Josey, a certified arborist, with ArborCare Resources Inc. in Hailey, examines a chemically damaged limb from a spruce tree. Express photo by Dana DuGan 

 

After being called in to diagnose problems for several clients, Josey became frustrated with treating the symptoms instead of the cause. He decided to put some theories to the test.

In looking at the conditions, Josey discovered that the root systems of the trees had commonalties, including limited or no irrigation, construction damage and proximity to roadways and sidewalks where de-icers are used in the winter.

Josey preformed nine foliage and soil tests and found that the tree burning could be caused directly from the manganese chloride or calcium chlorides used locally as de-icers.

The problems come when the trees packed in by pavement and buildings canít leech the chloride out of their systems. Where roads slope into tree areas the problem appears particularly bad, but trees that are either on or are protected by berms have no such problems.

Josey came up with several ideas to help the situation. He suggested either limiting the amount of chloride used or, even better, using sand or labor instead. Heated pavers help but itís important to be cautious of root compaction and cutting when setting the base for the pavers. During growing season and into the fall, water the trees deeply, and plan and design with trees in mind, using more tolerant species such as Black Hills Spruce or Austrian Pine.

 

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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.