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Torrey pines infested — 100 trees doomed

Bark beetle populations boom amid drought and higher temperatures

The 360-degree views from High Point will be less obstructed.
The 360-degree views from High Point will be less obstructed.

Pinus torreyana (aka Torrey pines) are among the rarest pine trees in the world. They occur naturally only on Santa Rosa Island (west of Ventura) and here in San Diego at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

At Torrey Pines State Reserve there are currently less than 4600 of the pine trees growing. They are protected by state law and monitored by state-employed scientists and park staff. Park volunteers and visitors also keep an eye out for anything amiss in the park.

Infested trees

In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, because of a three-year drought and a severe wind storm, the park experienced a die-off of Torrey pines due to attacks by the California five-spined engraver beetle and the red turpentine beetle. About 12 percent of the total population of pines in the park — 850 trees — succumbed to bark-beetle attacks.

Since that time, state biologists have used pheromone traps to monitor bark-beetle populations. By monitoring the rise and fall of these naturally occurring bark-beetle populations, it can be determined if actions need to be taken to protect the pines.

When the pines are stressed, by drought or or other factors, they are less able to ward off attacks by the beetles. The current drought and higher temperatures have been especially hard on the trees. Park staff have identified about 100 trees that are dead or dying from beetle infestation at this time. These trees cannot be saved. In order to reduce the infestation and protect healthy trees, the affected trees will be removed.

Oozing sap is a sign of infestation

Trees infected by bark beetles have hundreds of small holes that weep sap all over them. Their canopies then turn brown and the tree dies. Several trees at High Point Vista and the grove behind the Torrey Pines Lodge are slated for removal. It is hoped that this quick, definitive response to the problem (along with a better-than-average rainy season) will stop the spread of the beetle infestation and revitalize the Torrey pine population.

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The 360-degree views from High Point will be less obstructed.
The 360-degree views from High Point will be less obstructed.

Pinus torreyana (aka Torrey pines) are among the rarest pine trees in the world. They occur naturally only on Santa Rosa Island (west of Ventura) and here in San Diego at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

At Torrey Pines State Reserve there are currently less than 4600 of the pine trees growing. They are protected by state law and monitored by state-employed scientists and park staff. Park volunteers and visitors also keep an eye out for anything amiss in the park.

Infested trees

In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, because of a three-year drought and a severe wind storm, the park experienced a die-off of Torrey pines due to attacks by the California five-spined engraver beetle and the red turpentine beetle. About 12 percent of the total population of pines in the park — 850 trees — succumbed to bark-beetle attacks.

Since that time, state biologists have used pheromone traps to monitor bark-beetle populations. By monitoring the rise and fall of these naturally occurring bark-beetle populations, it can be determined if actions need to be taken to protect the pines.

When the pines are stressed, by drought or or other factors, they are less able to ward off attacks by the beetles. The current drought and higher temperatures have been especially hard on the trees. Park staff have identified about 100 trees that are dead or dying from beetle infestation at this time. These trees cannot be saved. In order to reduce the infestation and protect healthy trees, the affected trees will be removed.

Oozing sap is a sign of infestation

Trees infected by bark beetles have hundreds of small holes that weep sap all over them. Their canopies then turn brown and the tree dies. Several trees at High Point Vista and the grove behind the Torrey Pines Lodge are slated for removal. It is hoped that this quick, definitive response to the problem (along with a better-than-average rainy season) will stop the spread of the beetle infestation and revitalize the Torrey pine population.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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