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NPS Advisory on Pine Wood Chips/Logs, etc.

From: Badzik, Bruce Date: Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 9:04 AM Subject: Re: Pine Pitch Canker

Generally it is not good to keep the chips around the area if there are healthy trees and buildings nearby. Chipping does not kill all the insects, so the insects once they reach the adult stage can leave the chips and go on to infest new trees and/ or buildings (some of the beetles found in trees and firewood also infest structures). As you can read in the exert below from the California Pine Pitch Canker tasks force, the pathogen can live in soil and chips for over a year, so anyone walking over the contaminated material can transport the pathogen to new areas.

Hope this helps


Guidelines for Handling Woody Material Infested with the Pitch Canker Fungus

Note: The practices described herein are key to the implementation of the Board of Forestry's Zone of Infestation.

Pitch canker is a fungal disease that infects many species of pine trees and Douglas-fir, but is most likely to be encountered on Monterey, Bishop, or Knobcone pines. First discovered in California in 1986. This disease continues to spread. Preventing spread is important because once pitch canker becomes established in an area there is no way to stop it from infecting and killing trees. No cure or preventative measures exists. Insects spread the disease locally, but people are responsible for long-distance spread. The fungus can survive in cut wood or soil for a year or more. Insects that carry the fungus may survive in cut wood or chips for many months. Chipping does eliminate most insects. Pine firewood, logs, chips, branches, needles, cones, trees and seedlings may all be a source of the pitch canker pathogen.


  • Tools and machinery which are used to prune, cut, or chip trees with pitch canker disease should be cleaned and sterilized before use on uninfected trees or in uninfested areas. Lysol™ or a 10% solution of bleach (1 part household bleach in 9 parts water) are effective sterilants. A logical alternative to repeated cleaning of equipment is to reserve one set of equipment for use only in infested areas and another set for use only in uninfested areas.

  • Limbs and small pieces of wood from diseased trees may be chipped and the mulch deposited on site or they may be burned. Any material that is removed from the site should be tightly covered with a tarp during transit and taken to the nearest landfill or designated disposal facility for prompt burial, chipping and composting, or burning. Do not transport diseased wood out of infested counties.

  • Logs from diseased trees may be split for firewood for local use, but the wood should be seasoned beneath a tightly sealed, clear plastic tarp to prevent the buildup of destructive insects. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection TREE NOTE #3, Controlling Bark Beetles in Wood Residue and Firewood, provides specific guidelines for firewood tarping. Do not stack pine firewood next to living pine trees or transport it to uninfested counties.

  • Logs that are removed from the site should be taken to a designated disposal facility for prompt burial, chipping and composting, or burning. Do not transport logs from diseased trees out of infested counties unless they are treated according to the log treatment protocol described in Section I of the Guidelines.