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What is this growth on Pinon

Discussion in 'Homeowner Helper Forum' started by MtnHermit, Sep 26, 2018.

  1. MtnHermit

    MtnHermit ArboristSite Operative

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    I have 10-acres of Pinon surrounded by thousands of acres of Pinon (NF & BLM). I'm pruning off the lower branches preparing for the next wave of this drought in Colorado.

    One tree has this strange growth, see pics. What is it? Should I remove it? Any comments/thoughts?

    [​IMG]
    The growth is the bright green in the center of the tree.

    [​IMG]
    Closer view.

    [​IMG]
    View from underneath.

    Thanks for looking.
     
  2. MtnHermit

    MtnHermit ArboristSite Operative

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    Not getting a reply I contacted the Colorado State Forest Service, this is their reply:

    The dense, broom like branch pattern is suggestive of either dwarf mistletoe or broom rust fungi.

    Dwarf mistletoes are small parasitic plants that grow out of the small twigs and branches of a tree. They are dependent on a live host so pruning affected branches is a viable means of control. The parasite will begin to die once the host branch is cut. I am attaching a brochure on dwarf mistletoes for your information. There are many species; each favors a single or small group of tree species so it is unlikely that mistletoe on pinyon will spread to a ponderosa, spruce or fir.

    Broom rust fungi produce the same “witches broom” branch pattern. In the early summer spores of the fungi are released and drift on air currents. If they land on an open tree wound the can become established and grow. The infection can be controlled by pruning infected branches as with dwarf mistletoe. There are many different species of broom rusts and like mistletoes, they favor a narrow range of hosts. There is little risk of cross infections on alternate tree species.

    Perhaps this will help someone.
     
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  3. TNTreeHugger

    TNTreeHugger Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I don't see any mistletoe in your tree, do you?
    mist-f244-large.jpg
     
  4. TNTreeHugger

    TNTreeHugger Addicted to ArboristSite

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  5. TNTreeHugger

    TNTreeHugger Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Specifically, to answer your question, that's called "witch's broom."
     
  6. Del_

    Del_ Life is but a song we sing.

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    Genetic mutations can also cause witch's broom.

    It is a source for new cultivars.
     
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  7. old CB

    old CB ArboristSite Operative

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    It seems like you're doing "fire mitigation," which includes removing lower limbs that serve as "ladder fuel," allowing a ground fire to climb into the canopy where it's a greater threat to nearby structure--your home, etc. (Fire mitigation involves removing trees and reducing fuel load--"low limbing" is just a part of the job.) As fire mitigation is most of my business on the front range of Colorado, I'll give you my take on witches broom.

    When there's a wildland fire nearby it's throwing embers at a ferocious rate. The embers often travel a half mile or more from a raging crown fire, and statistically you're at much greater risk from embers starting spot fires than from the massive flame front.

    Imagine an ember from a nearby fire landing in that tight basket of fuel, the witches broom, especially when it's super dry and preheated by the nearby inferno. Whenever possible I remove them, and the closer they are to the ground, the more I see them as a threat.
     
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  8. MtnHermit

    MtnHermit ArboristSite Operative

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    Spot on!!!
    My 10 acres is 90% Pinon, with a few Ponderosa. I can only get ~4-feet off the ground with the Pinon. If I went to 6' there would be no tree. With the Ponderosa I can get to 8'. I'm in the upper Arkansas in Chaffee Cty. I'll also do some of the adjacent NF & BLM close to the house.
    The 13,000 acre Weston Pass fire put the fire fear into me. It was 10-miles away but seemed next door. I only burn the slash after a heavy rain or with snow on the ground and light/no wind. Hence I have to wait weeks to months.

    Thanks for your input. :)
     

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