Summer Newsletter 2018-Idaho Tree Farm

President – Sean Hammond
Idaho Forest Group
(T) 208.610.8754

•  Vice President –
Erin Bradetich
(T) 208.290.6037

•  Treasurer –
Madeline David

•  Administrator –
Colleen Meek
ID Tree Farm Program

(T) 208.591.5933

District Chairs:

•   District 1 Chair –
Andy Eckberg
Idaho Forest Group

(T) 208.255.3276

•  District 2 Chair –
Robbie Easley
Idaho Department of Lands
(T) 208.877.1121

•  District 3 Chair –
John Lillehaug
All About Forestry
(T) 208.630.4076

Our annual Fall Field Tour of the Idaho Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year is scheduled for September 8, 2018. Brian Kroetch will lead us through portions of his 6,000 acres in the Mica Bay Tree Farms area south of Coeur d’Alene. During the day we will view active logging and roads jobs showing how various prescriptions are being used to achieve the desired result on these working forests. We will stop at some of the white pine and larch plantations and discuss reforestation issues that accompany such a large acreage.

Other items to discuss are the challenges of working so closely in the wildland-urban interface near Coeur d’Alene, the relationship Brian has developed with the Idaho Fish & Game Department in helping manage access and game herds on the property, as well as working to combine sustainable forestry with the need for a sustainable income from the harvests.

As always, the tour is free and lunch & seating will be provided.     The plan is to meet on the Mica Bay Land Company Tree Farm property adjacent to Highway 95 about 2 miles west of Coeur d’Alene Lake and Mica Bay around 8:30 that morning.     Coffee, doughnuts, snacks and beverages will be provided by the Idaho Tree Farm Program.

Be sure to dress appropriately for outdoor field conditions and have proper footwear for the woods. We will send out another notice with a map and scheduled itinerary for the day, but if you wish to contact us just email or call our State Administrator Colleen Meek at (208)-667-4641, ext 503.Hope to see you there!

Idaho Tree Farm Program

Fall Field Tour 2018

Kroetch Land and Timber

Coeur d’ Alene, ID

P.O. Box 2659 • Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814 • (T) 208.667.4641, ext 503 • (F) 208.664.0557 •


Idaho Tree Farm Program Assessment – Coming in 2019


Part of being a “Certified” Tree Farm Program is the requirement every 3-5 years of a 3rd party assessment to ensure we are in compliance with all the current certification standards. We have been informed that 2019 will be the next audit/assessment year so we need to begin getting things in motion to be ready.       Early in 2019 officials from the 3rd party organization, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and representatives from our National ATFS office will travel to Idaho and decide on which parcels to visit. Our record keeping and procedures will be checked, but the main thing for member Tree Farmers to address will be your management plans. If you haven’t regularly done so, now would be a good time to locate, dust off, and update as necessary your management plan to ensure it complies with the current certification standards.       If you are unsure or have any questions on any of this, contact your Inspecting Forester or call our state office at 208-667-4641 Ext 503 or email to
Two Idaho Tree Farm Committee Positions Filled
We are pleased to recognize two volunteers that have agreed to fill spots on our state committee.

Mary Fritz, Certification Chair.       Mary is a long time IDL employee who earlier worked on the Clearwater as a private forestry specialist and has been living in the Silver Valley since moving to Cataldo to fill a position as a private forestry specialist. Currently Mary works as program manager in forest stewardship in CDA.

Matt Engberg, Inspecting Forester Chair. Matt, a University of Idaho graduate, has been a Northwest Management Inc employee from the early 90’s to present.  Matt’s career started out falling snags on a wildland fire crew and then cruising timber, ran planting programs, precommercial thinning programs, timber sale layout & admin along with building roads and installing bridges, working wildland and prescribed fire programs for NMI and last but not least helping with Idaho tree farm on the Palouse.

Welcome aboard and thanks to both of you for stepping up to help our program!

Know Any “Outstanding” Candidates ??
Each year we honor some folks that have gone a bit above and beyond in the care for their land or the improvement of our program.       An Idaho Outstanding Tree Farmer, Inspecting Forester, and Logger is chosen from among our ranks and showcased during our annual meeting at the Family Forest Landowners & Managers Conference in Moscow. We are in the midst right now of choosing our candidates for 2019 so if you know of a particular Tree Farmer, logger, or Inspecting Forester that has gone the extra mile, please let us know.

As we all know the workings of our program and the fine stewardship done on your land doesn’t happen on its own. It takes all of the dedicated volunteers working together and we want to honor those that are in the blue ribbon class. If you know of a particularly well cared for parcel, a logger that goes beyond what is required to make things shine, or an Inspector that is especially helpful to landowners, give us a all or email a note for us to consider them for special recognition.


Idaho Forest Products Commission – Sustainable Forestry Tour


Each year the Idaho Forest Products Commission (IFPC) puts on a week-long tour for educators covering everything from soup to nuts regarding forestry in Idaho. In the IFPC wordsThey are immersed in the social, economic and ecological aspects of sustainable forestry, and receive proven activities and materials to take back to the classroom.” Our program thinks very highly of this outreach and sponsors an educator each year. Here is some feedback from one of the educators that took part in the 2018 tour:

“The Sustainable Forestry Tour has been the best short-term professional development experience I have taken part in during my 22 years as a teacher.  The Idaho Forest Products Commission (IFPC) team did an outstanding job of handling logistics and being continual educators throughout the tour. I participated in several activities where I plan to use either the teaching strategy or the content of the lesson.  I gained a greater appreciation for our forests and the importance of managing them well. By the end of the tour I found myself wishing I was a lobbyist that could get policymakers to be a part of this tour. I believe the most effective, transformative way to get the information we gained this week into the hands of policy makers would be to have them participate in this tour in its entirety.  Trying to gain the same level of information and appreciation for the information through reading or listening to lobbyists, or even participation in a one-day conference is simply not as effective as being immersed in the activities we did, including touring the facilities and job sites we had the privilege of seeing. I will definitely be recommending this tour to my colleagues in education.  

In addition, my husband, Sean Hammond has been a sawyer for several area logging contractors for most of the last 30 years. This tour gave me a much greater appreciation for the work my husband does and the entire forestry industry.  At each tour stop, I found myself delighted in knowing some of what was being taught because of what Sean has taught me and our children. By the end of the week I found myself with a significant degree of pride in what my he does, his care for the land, and his integrity as now a private one-man logging operation.” 

Thank you Idaho Tree Farm for your sponsorship and participation in this incredible opportunity. 

Sincerely, Virginia Hammond



Idaho Master Forest Stewards Program Accepting Applications

University of Idaho Extension is seeking candidates for the Idaho Master Forest Stewards (IMFS) program. The Idaho Master Forest Stewards program was co-designed with forest owners to increase participants’ forestry knowledge and skills; enable them to provide educational assistance to forest owners and other groups; and provide a forum for richer peer to peer learning among forest owners. Over 100 people have participated in the program thus far.

Applications for the IMFS program are accepted continually. When we have at least ten applications by August of a given year, we schedule IMFS core sessions for the next. We are very close to reaching that threshold, so if you are currently interested in taking the training in 2019, send an application in August 2018. More information on becoming an Idaho Master Forest Steward and application materials can be downloaded at:

The largest portion of the 2019 training would take place during four, one-day sessions held April thru September.


Put your Forest Plan into Action

Across the state, the Idaho Department of Lands employs Private Forestry Specialists (PFS) whose primary role is to provide forest landowners with information to help them meet their forest management goals. Our PFSs provide planning advice, assess insect and disease threats and design a variety of practices to help you manage your land. Some of these practices include thinning, tree planting, forest health improvement and fuel breaks. We collaborate with a wide variety of resource professionals and are long-time and strong supporters of the Idaho Tree Farm Program.

For landowner’s writing a forest management plan, IDL’s Forest Stewardship Program staff collaborated with the Idaho Tree Farm Program and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop the One Plan Template. Each of these three programs require a management plan and by working together, the One Plan allows a landowner to easily sign up for all three programs.

The Idaho Department of Lands administers the Forest Stewardship Program, a national program that provides funding to IDL to assist forest landowners. To become a Forest Steward, landowners must develop a management plan. The benefit of participating in Idaho’s Forest Stewardship Program includes a free site visit every five years and access to conference and educational opportunities. Many of our staff are also Tree Farm Inspectors that can enroll you in the Tree Farm Program.

You will find the One Plan Template on the Idaho Department of Lands Forestry Assistance webpage

If you need advice or technical assistance, you can call your nearest Private Forest Specialist for an appointment. Our PFSs can be contacted at anyone of these locations:

For more information on the Idaho Forest Stewardship Program contact Mary Fritz, or phone 208-666-8667.

Wanted: Email Addresses
We are always looking for ways to reduce clutter and streamline our process. If you are currently receiving your Tree Farm newsletter by mail and would like to switch to electronic, please contact us and have your email address listed as your preferred method of contact. Just email to or call Colleen at 208-667-4641, Ext 503
Idaho “One Plan” for Tree Farm, Stewardship and NRCS

Mary Fritz, Forest Stewardship Program Manager, Idaho Dept of Lands


Brown Needles – Are My Trees Dying? 

Chris Schnepf – Area Extension Educator, Forestry

Most people love healthy green tree foliage. When a tree’s foliage becomes less green, or worse yet brown, people are understandably concerned about tree and forest health.

Extension offices across Idaho frequently get calls about brown conifer needles, especially in the fall and spring. Brown needle causes vary from normal tree physiology to a wide range of insects and diseases. Unless the whole tree is brown, some brown needles are not necessarily a problem. 

Fall needle drop. Deciduous trees drop all their leaves every fall. But non-deciduous conifers drop leaves too – they just don’t drop them all every year. Older conifer needles are less photosynthetically efficient than younger needles, as they are often shaded by newer foliage. Conifers drop these older needles because those needles take more energy from the tree to stay green than the tree gets in return.

Trees vary in how many needles they keep on the tree. Some conifer species can keep 4 or more age-classes of needles. Needle drop on lodgepole, ponderosa, and white pines is often most noticeable, because every fall, three-year needles turn brown and eventually drop. If a pine had particularly good growth 3 years ago, putting on abundant needles, that needle-drop can look dramatic, but dropping those old needles helps the tree.

Needle diseases visible in spring. A variety of diseases infect needles. The most commonly noticed needle diseases are those visible on pines in the spring. It is usually worse in the lower parts of younger trees and in draws or low-lying areas where humidity is higher. One of the most dramatic examples is Lophodermella concolor, which sometimes affects whole mountainsides of lodgepole pine at high elevations. Sometimes in the spring it can look like a whole lodgepole forest is dying, until the new growth comes on shortly thereafter. Most pine needle diseases are worse in the lower and interior parts of the tree – the least efficient needles on the tree. Sometimes they look terrible, but trees almost always survive needle diseases.

An exception occurs for trees planted from seed sources which were too far removed from the site to be adapted to it (“off-site” trees). These trees are often more dramatically affected by or even killed by needle diseases. Therefore, needle diseases could be a way to monitor changing climate. If needle diseases are killing many naturally regenerated trees, it may be time to consider assisting the migration of better adapted seed sources to that site.

Brown branch tips. Various insects and diseases can turn individual branch tips brown. Some of the most common issues with pines are gouty pitch midge, pine shoot borer, Diplodia tip blight, and western gall rust. Some small bark beetle species also kill Douglas-fir branch tips. These organisms usually only kill a few branches or tips – they almost never kill a tree, unless it is seedling-size. They are generally considered non-economic pests in the context of forest management. 

Larch commonly has needle issues in the spring. Western larch needle issues are usually caused by three factors: larch needle cast, larch needle blight, and larch case bearer. Larch needle cast starts as small yellow-brown spots which grow and eventually cause the whole needle to turn brown and fall off the tree. Larch needle blight wilts whole clusters of needle downward (they look melted, like a Salvador Dali painting), eventually turning them brown. Larch case bearers are tiny insects that mine the inside of needles, turning them straw-colored

(continued on next page)


Brown Needles – Are My Trees Dying?

(continued from previous page)

Good Neighbor Authority Field Trip

August 24-25 Priest River Experimental Forest

The Inland Empire Society of American Foresters (IESAF) would like to announce a two-day field trip to the Priest Lake Ranger District and the Priest River Experimental Forest (PREF).       The dates are Friday, August 24 and Saturday August 25th, 2018. On Friday, the field tour will look at and discuss the results of the Good Neighbor Authority in action. The US Forest Service and the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) have pioneered this effort, and this will be a terrific opportunity for Tree Farm members, landowners and friends to see the first-hand results. The Good Neighbor Authority was recently expanded to include authorization for transportation that was not included in the original legislation. This new authority will be very helpful to expand and make the program more efficient and economical. This tour will begin at 10:00 a.m. by meeting to consolidate vehicles at the PREF. We will return to PREF for an evening meal and program for those that want to stay over for the Saturday tour of the Experimental Forest.

The Friday evening program will feature Dr. Russ Graham discussing the origins and history of PREF. Saturday’s field tour of the Experimental Forest will be a walking tour of the research projects in close proximity of the facilities at PREF. The travel route is on trails and roads covering generally flat and gentle terrain.

What to do if you are interested in possibly attending: Send an e-mail to stating your interest in one or both days, lodging, and meals by August 10th. You will be placed on our e-mail list for this field tour (only). You will receive a registration response with all of the final cost information and charges for your selected portion of tour.

and crinkling the tips. It is quite possible to have all three operating in the same larch tree at once. Some years are worse than others, but these maladies can look dramatic, particularly case-bearer. Luckily, none of these usually kill the tree. The wonderful thing about larch (in addition to root disease tolerance) is that it continues to grow new needles through the growing season. Trees that look brown in the spring are usually re-needled by mid-summer. The only impact might be slightly reduced stem diameter growth. 

Bark beetles? Root disease? If both new and old needles are not a healthy green, a tree is probably being affected by something other than needle maladies. If the whole tree fades over a period of years, it is likely root disease. If the whole tree turns brown within 6 months, it is more likely bark beetles. But if the symptoms are more like those described previously in this article, the tree will likely survive. Consider waiting before starting a salvage sale or cutting such trees for firewood.

If you are not sure, bring a fresh sample (and/or perhaps photos of the tree) into your local University of Idaho Extension or Idaho Department of Lands office.


IDL and US Forest Service are currently conducting the annual aerial survey of Idaho’s forest lands, and it looks like 2018 will be a big year for fir engraver (Scolytus ventralis). Fir engraver is a native bark beetle that attacks grand fir of all sizes. Trees that are under stress are most vulnerable. The dry weather during the summer of 2017 resulted in a surge of requests for technical assistance from private forest landowners in the spring of 2018. Minimize fir engraver damage by growing grand fir on suitable sites, avoiding drier aspects and rocky soils.

IDL personnel also received many calls from landowners reporting dead & dying Douglas-fir saplings. We have been seeing an increase in the occurrence of secondary bark beetles in small Douglas-fir. Scolytus monticolae and Scolytus unispinosus (Douglas-fir engraver) are minor bark beetle species that usually do not cause many problems. The dry weather in 2016 / 2017 is probably the main cause of this mortality. Most of the damage has been on sites with rocky or thin soils. As with fir engraver, maintaining proper density is important, especially if the soil is well drained or rocky.

Aerial observers are also reporting needle blight on western larch. This disease will quickly turn the needles red, and they will wilt and remain on the short spur. The disease is most common when conditions are wet in the spring when the needles are expanding. It rarely kills older trees, but can be mistaken for other, more serious problems. Fungicide sprays are rarely warranted, except for isolated small trees in ornamental settings. Increasing airflow (thinning) can lower infection by reducing humidity during the infection period (shoot elongation).

Aerial observers in southern Idaho report some Douglas-fir tussock moth defoliation in grand fir and Douglas-fir on the Payette NF southwest of Cascade Reservoir. Parts of the Boise and Sawtooth NF are also experiencing defoliation. Western spruce budworm is also defoliating grand fir and subalpine fir in parts of the Payette NF. With defoliating insects such as tussock moth and spruce budworm, selecting for nonhosts or less preferred hosts is a key management tactic. Pines and western larch are not commonly damaged by these defoliators. Damage is often worse in dense, multi storied stands with susceptible understory. Larvae feeding in taller firs or spruce will fall down on young trees, often causing severe defoliation. Grand fir is often more severely defoliated than Douglas-fir, so during harvest or thinning operations, grand fir should be discouraged as a leave tree.

IDL is receiving reports of “shiny, sticky” grand fir foliage and even broadleaf shrubs in the understory beneath grand fir. In 2013, there was a widespread outbreak of the balsam twig aphid (Mindarus abietis), a sucking insect that creates “honeydew,” a sticky, sugary secretion, which covers the needles and drips onto foliage below. This honeydew attracts attention from landowners, but trees are rarely seriously damaged. This honeydew is often a food source for insects such as wasps, yellow jackets and bald faced hornets, which can annoy woods workers. A good link to this insect can be found at this link: 

Late July through November is the ideal time to conduct thinning or other management activity in pines to minimize damage from the pine engraver (Ips pini). There is often temptation to time harvests or thinning during the winter through spring due to access, logistics or other reasons. Creating pine slash during these times can cause unwanted damage. Creating slash during the summer allows it to dry out and become unsuitable for overwintering adults and damage is often avoided.

Forest Health Updates, Idaho Department of Lands

Tom Eckberg. Forest Health Program Manager Idaho Dept of Lands


Events to Highlight

Aug 25-25, 2018 – Good Neighbor Authority Field Tour, Priest River, ID

Sept 8, 2018 – Fall Field Tour, Kroetch Land & Timber, CDA, ID

Oct 18, 2018 – Idaho Tree Farm Committee Meeting, CDA, ID

Welcome New Members!


The Idaho Tree Farm Committee extends a special welcome to the 4 newest Idaho Tree Farm Program’s certified members.     Thank you to the District Chairs and Inspecting Foresters for promoting membership in the Idaho Tree Farm Program through the American Tree Farm System®.

As a current member, and a steward of the land, we appreciate your current support of the program and your management of the forestland for pride and pleasure. Thank you for your continued commitment to protecting watersheds and wildlife habitat, conserving soil and, at the same time, producing the wood America needs and uses.

Tree Farm Member Acreage County Inspecting Forester
Gale Cope 30 Latah Robbie Easley
Richard & Maryann Fryer 146 Idaho David Summers
Greg & Janis Worch 20 Benewah Jim Nichols
Tim Andersen 17 Idaho John Lillehaug


Stay Informed…..

In case you are ever wondering what is going on at the committee level, our Minutes are now being posted on the Idaho Tree Farm Program website. Just log onto our website for Minutes of previous sessions, contact information, upcoming events, and other news of note to help you in your Tree Farm endeavors.



We’re on the Web!

Learn more at:


About Our Organization…

The purpose of the Idaho Tree Farm Program is to promote better forest management among nonindustrial forest owners. The vehicle for achieving this aim is the American Tree Farm System® (ATFS), sponsored nationally by the American Forest Foundation (AFF), state wide by the Idaho SFI State Implementation Committee (SFI SIC), and administered by the Idaho Tree Farm Committee (State Committee).


We hope to see you September 8 for our Fall Field Tour on the Kroetch Family / Mica Bay Land Company Tree Farms


Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.