Red pines removed in Allenstown park to slow insect spread

Last modified: 4/10/2013 12:09:01 AM
State forestry officials have been removing about 120 acres of red pine trees from a state park in the last few weeks to slow the spread of an aggressive insect that’s destroyed thousands of trees in southern New England.

The nearly microscopic brown insect is called red pine scale. It was detected at Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown in August. This is the first documented case of the insect in New Hampshire, though the bug has been a longtime headache in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Red pine scale is easily spread by wind, birds and squirrels. The first visible signs of infestation include bright “flagging,” or discoloration of the lower branches, followed by the swift declineof the entire crown. A tree can be destroyed within a few years.

Visitors to Bear Brook State Park may notice the missing trees, many of which are at the park’s entrance. But the landscape isn’t completely barren; there are nearby stands of white pines at the park that are waist-high to 10 feet tall.

The red pine harvesting started Feb. 20. Logs are stockpiled and are waiting to be transported, which may continue into early summer.

The Parks and Recreation Department said the red pine plantation currently undergoing timber harvest was planted by the Daughters of the American Revolution back in 1940.

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