Mount Vernon, WA – The Mount Vernon Parks Department recently became aware of an unusually high number of red cedars experiencing distress or dying on the Northeast side of Little Mountain, just off the main entrance to the Little Mountain Park.
According to a release by the Mount Vernon Mayor’s Office, there are currently between 50-60 trees being evaluated and there may be more in other parts of the park.
In June, Mount Vernon Parks conducted an informal survey in coordination with Urban Forestry, Inc., and the Washington State University Extension Forestry Faculty. Initial feedback indicated that seasonal moisture patterns resulting in increased rain in the winter followed by increasingly dry summers was a likely cause.
In July of 2018, a more extensive review was conducted by members of the Northwest Region Department of Natural Resource Protection Division. They discovered the presence of a fungal Armillaria root disease which feeds off the nutrients in the tree. This stops the natural flow of essential nutrients to the rest of the tree and it eventually dies, according to the release. This is said to be a slow process with few indicators of the damage being caused.
Mount Vernon Parks continues to monitor and evaluate other areas of the park and is evaluating all options to determine the best solution for dealing with the problem.
Options being considered are selective removal of diseased trees, the implementation of a dedicated Forestry Management Plan that could include commercial thinning of densely stocked areas of the diseased trees or simply allowing nature to heal itself. Thinning the trees would leave only the best and healthiest trees to grow.
Mayor Jill Boudreau wrote “We will continue all efforts needed to protect our beautiful forest lands.”