Colorado State Forest Service experts have scheduled a meeting Tuesday in Vallecito to alert residents to a potential
spruce beetle infestation and explain what they can do to protect their trees.
Spruce trees account for the majority of the trees in the upper Vallecito Valley," Lindsay Gartner, assistant district
forester for the agency in Durango, said Friday. So it's important that landowners find out what may be coming and
what they can do to protect their trees."
Gartner will be joined by Sky Stephens, CSFS entomologist, who will talk about insects and diseases that affect trees
in Southwest Colorado, including the Douglas fir beetle, the western spruce budworm and Sudden Aspen Decline.
Gartner said the state Forest Service wants to be sure landowners are prepared to combat the spruce beetle if it should
migrate into blue spruce, which is found around Vallecito. The beetles generally attack Engelmann spruce but will eat
Spruce beetles generally feed on downed timber, Gartner said. But in a major outbreak, they can kill large, standing
trees that have been weakened by drought.
An aerial survey in 2009 revealed 114,000 acres, mainly in the Weminuche Wilderness, with active spruce beetle
The beetle didn't make it to La Plata County last year, but about 80 percent of the affected acreage is in nearby
Hinsdale and Mineral counties.