dead salmon berry brush
In Seldovia this year about half the salmon berry brush is dead. Is there a new bug killing the brush? There are also some devils club that have died this year. Are these two related? We just finished 4 year cycle of the moths here and we had a good berry year last year but there was no brush die off like we are having this year. You can look up on the hills about town and see brown spots where there should be green as well. Any thoughts or ideas on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Michael Opheim Environmental Coordinator Seldovia Village Tribe
Kenai Peninsula Borough Alaska
Sorry for the delay in reply. I have been out of the office and traveling much lately. Right now, I'm still currently in Western Washington.
Do you have any photos of the plants you are mentioning? Salmon berries have a much lower cold tolerance than raspberries, and given the winter we had this last year, it would be possible to have had winter kill. Also, there could be a few disease or environmental reasons for the mortality you are seeing. Did you dig up the roots of either plant to investigate further? Also, for the salmon berry, splitting open the cane down to the root could rule out some insect pests.
The Devil's Club should be quite hearty. I have not seen instances of Devil's Club dieback, except where there was physical injury to the plant or other environmental factors such as too much shade or not enough water reaching the plant.
Do you have any more information that could help me diagnose the issues? Please feel free to email me directly. I could give you a call when I return to the office next week.