Is it OK to leave a dried pine tree stand through winter, for removal in spring?

Asked December 5, 2016, 6:49 PM EST

Dear Experts, I have few dead trees on back of my property up in Sierra, near Big Trees CA park. In the past, I've seen dead pine trees remained standing for years. Would it be OK to leave the tree removal to a spring time? These are large pine trees, all dried up this 2016 summer-fall season. It seems like the tree removal services are very busy right now, plus the hurdle of snow. I need to decide on this soon, and would really appreciate your expert advice. Tnanks. Mike

Calaveras County California

3 Responses

On average, dead trees can stand for about ten years before falling. Some last a lot longer as tall snags, but some will fall in a few years. As long as it is not next to your house or garage, you have time to wait to remove them, cut them for firewood, or just let them fall if they do not block a road or hit a building. If they are on the back of your property, there should be little reason to worry this season.


Dear Bill,

Thank you very much for your advice! This does help, and I may postpone dried trees removal to spring.

May I also ask you about the efficiency of "trees injection" with chemicals ("pheromones" or insecticides?) to prevent the beetle infestation? I've heard that this works at times, but not sure whether applies to the drought conditions, when the trees are "on their last leg" as is. The treatment is rather costly, and I am unsure whether this alone would be effective in drought, without watering the trees in the first place.

Again, thank you very much for your advice and help!

Lucky part-time resident of Arnold, Calaveras County

What I have heard about the pheremones or other injectables is that they are both very expensive (just think about how much biomass has to be affected within a big tree compared to your body weight) and the effectiveness has been hard to prove. I think USFS foresters in state and private forestry have done some trials on the injectables, but I am not exactly sure of the final results.

Overall, once a tree is fully infected it is very hard to imagine how it can be brought back to health, and even then it may get attacked within a few decades.