Pine Beetles & Other Devastating Pests

Pine beetle damaged trees
Beetle killed Hemlocks

The Southern Pine Beetle, and more recently the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and Emerald Ash Borer, have created nightmares for landowners in nearly all Southern states.  Infested trees quickly become tangled “deadfall” rendering property unattractive and inaccessible.  These infestations are threatening to more than just home and property values, they are potential fire hazards, essentially functioning as enormous piles of kindling that last for years.  Few companies have developed cost effective strategies to deal with the insect damaged timber.  At V&V, we have hundreds of acres of cleanup under our belts and consider ourselves the leader in the field.

The Safe and Effective Way to Clean Up Insect Damaged Timber

Cat299d WHP with mulching head
Cat 299D XHP with Mulching Head

Pine Beetle and Adelgid infestations are dangerous and difficult for ground crews to work in.   We have found that the most inexpensive and thorough method for mitigation is forestry mulching.  This procedure generally allows one operator, safely enclosed in armored equipment, to do the work of a dozen or more laborers and chippers. The dead and tangled trees are rapidly reduced to mulch and spread evenly over the entire area in a single step.  The work is done in a safe and cost-efficient manner and the landowner is left with a rich carpet of mulch.

Negative Side Effects of Conventional Cleanup Methods

When infested areas are cleared with conventional equipment, such as bulldozers and track hoes, top soils are stripped, keeper trees damaged and enormous piles of debris left for burning or hauling.  In addition, some form of erosion control is generally necessary to stabilize the site.  After the work is complete the difficult task of revegetating bare, stripped soils usually still remains.  We believe, especially with burning restrictions and prohibitive hauling and re-vegetation costs, this method of clearing will soon be obsolete in all but the most rural areas.

Effective Infestation Removal Strategies

Treating hemlock trees
Treatment of
Infested Hemlocks

In the event that we cannot mulch dead or damaged trees we offer comprehensive tree removal services including felling, tree removal and  chipping.  Often a combination of traditional climbing and take-down strategies in conjunction with forestry mulching is an effective solution.  Should tree and/or ground crews be required, mulching equipment vastly improves efficiency and cost-savings by  opening safe “drop-zones” and “staging areas” with tractable footing and good visibility.

We have cleaned up hundreds of acres of damaged timber in recent years and developed unique strategies for virtually every circumstance.  If merchantable timber remains standing we will be glad to safely harvest or leave it in a manner congruent with accepted forestry practices and long-term management goals.  Give us a call.  We evaluate sites in our base service area at no charge.  For larger acreages we offer digital mapping services and low-altitude aerial photography to better assist planning and execution.