QUIZ: Damaged Pines or Hardwoods – Which Should You Harvest First?

Not all tree damage is created (or destroyed!) equally. Some trees degrade in quality much faster than others. It is a function of the durability of the wood, but also the gathering momentum of damage in the weeks and months after the storm.

pine mape and oak trees

Which species would you harvest first?

  1. Pine
  2. Maple
  3. Oak


Answer: Pine.

Damaged white, red, and jack pine all are immediately susceptible to pine bark beetle and thus wood quality degradation. The beetles carry with them on their bodies a fungus that grows throughout the wood fibers and stains the wood blue. This staining lessens the value of the timber. The bark beetle is active March through September so the summer storms create favorable conditions for a dramatic population increase. What is worse, a localized increase in pine bark beetle populations puts nearby healthy pines at risk. Pine salvage harvest should happen as soon as possible following storm damage. The hardwood stands are more stable, possibly up to one year after the storm. If there is a silver lining for damaged oak stands, oak wilt fungus is inactive by July 15. If oaks are only slightly damaged by the storms after July 15, it is probable that the wounds will heal over and seal off within a matter of days, and oak wilt infection will be avoided.