This year's drought was fierce. We only had two substantial rainfalls all summer. And here in piñon-juniper country, that means the piñon trees were under heavy attack by piñon Ips bark beetles, Ips confusus.
Piñon bark beetles are apparently around all the time, but normally, the trees can fight them off by producing extra sap. But when it gets dry, drought-stressed trees can't make enough sap, the beetles proliferate, and trees start dying. Bark beetles are apparently the biggest known killer of mature piñon trees.
We're aware of this, and we water the piñons we can reach,
and cross our fingers for the ones that are farther from the house.
But this year we lost four trees -- all of them close enough to the
house that we'd been watering them every three or four weeks.
[ 18:38 Dec 23, 2021 More nature | permalink to this entry | ]