Pine Bark Beetles

To root rake the land or not…

I had that option when I purchased my lot.  Of course, the pervasive thinking where I live is that you SHOULD just clear the lot because as one good ol’ boy told me just the other day (flicking his cigarette butt onto my yard) there are snakes out there.  This I don’t doubt.  I’ve seen them on my walks around the hood.  He informed me, for a few hundred more dollars, he’d be happy to mow all that vegetation down, pointing to the back yard.

Back to when I purchased the lot (50’x150′), it was completely wooded w/ mostly pines.  I directed the clearing which entailed the driveway, the footprint of the house and a 5′ to 10′ barrier around the perimeter of the house.  Being the nature lover-environmentalist that I am, I wanted to save as much as I could even though they were “just pines”.  Since that day I’ve wondered if I did the right thing.  Those pine trees I HAD to save, sap on the cars, sway in the wind when there’s a hurricane and now it appears they are infested with pine bark beetles.  That’s right.  I had a bamboo fence built recently that was attached to one of these sapping pine trees.  That tree is now dead.  Naturally, I wonder if the nails killed the tree.

Fast forward to the good ol’ boy that I called to give me a quote on taking down said tree.  No, the fence didn’t kill the tree.  If I look closely I can see the bark of the tree riddled with holes.  He points out that almost all my pine trees are infected and will probably need to come down.  That’s nice and gives me a warm cozy feeling when I think about Ernesto swirling around toward the gulf.

Ernesto turns out to be a non-event and I can breathe a little easier this week, but that tree is still looming over my solar water tank.  Sometimes it just feels like an exercise in futility when it comes to weighing decisions regarding the environment.  *sigh*   

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