Douglas Fir Cone Disintegration

Asked August 24, 2020, 2:38 PM EDT

We have a very large and old Doug Fir in our front yard that appears to be OK but for the first time in our 25 years living here, many of the cones (of which there are thousands every year) appear to have disintegrated and the scales (if that is the right term) have dropped all over in the area under the tree. We have raked up as much as we could but now wonder if this is not a symptom of something more serious effecting this gorgeous old tree. Please see attached photos. P.S. my wife has already attempted an enquiry about this - ( but she has not been able to complete her response to you for some reason. Thank you, Gary McCuen 503 302 9043

Marion County Oregon

1 Response

hello, that may be bird or squirrel foraging on the cones. Douglas squirrel, or perhaps western gray squirrel, will forage on cones, and some birds will also, but the way these scales were removed makes me think it is more likely a squirrel. Keep and eye out on the tree, sometimes if you see the cones coming down, you can look with binoculars and see the animal up in the tree top by the cones.

We are having a good cone year, so animals are having a good year eating seed.

I can't think of any other thing that rips the scales off a cone like that. There may also be whole cones on the ground too, which will be collected by squirrels, as they throw them to the ground also and you may find piles of scales where the squirrel was foraging.

I don't think you have a problem with tree or cone health, just a good year for animals that eat seed.