We can’t save every big tree

Rapid City (S.D.) Journal: Custer State Park officials have said they are going to save the Big Tree — a 159-foot tall giant Ponderosa pine that’s the state’s tallest tree. It doesn’t look too healthy, with few green branches for a tree of its size, but officials say as long as it shows signs of life, they’ll try to save it.

There was some question earlier this summer whether state officials had sprayed the Big Tree for mountain pine beetles or not. Park officials say miscommunication led to the tree not being sprayed last year, but this year the tree was sprayed, even though it took some effort to get a spray truck that can reach the top of the monster tree up a two-mile track.

Recently, a private forester asked what was being done about the other big trees in the Black Hills. For at least the past decade, the Black Hills forest has been under attack by pine beetles that have left large areas of dead and dying Ponderosa pines. There are several large pines that also could be saved if they are sprayed.


We agree that saving the state’s tallest tree is probably worth the effort, for purely symbolic reasons. But, unfortunately, we can’t afford to spray everywhere and save every tree, no matter how big they are.

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