Bristlecone Pine

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Forum topic by Fossil22 posted 10-29-2020 11:38 AM 380 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 241 days

10-29-2020 11:38 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’ve got a question about bristlecone pine trees. My son bought some land to build a cabin in Colorado. Its at 9900 feet elevation. On the property is a dead bristlecone pine tree. Its been dead since he bought land 4-5 years ago. If we do something with the tree, we want to do it sooner than later due to rot starting. Do we have to worry about any legal issues if we cut it down since it is limited in numbers? Also is there a market for any of the lumber that we may get from it such as live edge slabs, turning blanks or any other decorative things made from it?

-- Fossil

5 replies so far

View Foghorn's profile


665 posts in 299 days

#1 posted 10-29-2020 02:01 PM

If it were me, I’d leave it as they will last for hundreds of years dead as well. I don’t know your situation though.

-- Darrel

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5931 posts in 2300 days

#2 posted 10-29-2020 02:49 PM

If it is truly dead, it has probably been dead for many years, maybe even hundreds of years, so there is no urgency. It is considered a threatened species but I cannot find anything that says you cannot harvest a dead tree. Most of the protections I found were related to them being located in a protected area where you could not harvest the trees, though don’t take my word for it. I would probably call your nearest Forest Service office and ask them.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View drsurfrat's profile


207 posts in 99 days

#3 posted 10-31-2020 12:25 AM

If you researched to be sure that it is a Bristlecone, then you probably found that it can look ‘only mostly dead’.

“In very old specimens, often only a narrow strip of living tissue connects the roots to a handful of live branches.” -Wikipedia, Pinus longaeva

And there’s no hurry:

“Among the White Mountain specimens, the oldest trees are found on north-facing slopes, with an average of 2,000 years, as compared to the 1,000 year average on the southern slopes.[14] The climate and the durability of their wood can preserve them long after death, with dead trees as old as 7,000 years persisting next to live ones.[14]” – ibid

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

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John Smith

2776 posts in 1075 days

#4 posted 10-31-2020 05:31 PM

there must be several authoritative offices you could check to get the
most accurate information for that particular tree in that particular area.
local arborists, county agricultural agent, land agent, building commissioner, etc.
and as nathan says, U.S. Forest Service.


-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View therealSteveN's profile


6628 posts in 1487 days

#5 posted 10-31-2020 09:19 PM

I would definitely check with the locals about taking down dead trees left standing. I don’t know about your half of the country but back East in many areas the The Eastern hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis) and Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana) are under attack from an exotic insect, Hemlock woolly adelgid. Another of a long list of pests from Asia.

Around Gatlinburg, and the Smoky Mountains they stand everywhere, sometimes it looks more dead than alive. BUT, big BUT it isn’t legal anywhere I have seen them and asked about them to cut the dead down, even on your property. I hear of heavy fines, and evidently the locals are split on leave em be, or get them cleaned up. I’ve heard of almost range wars of the leave em be’s squealing on the clean em ups, when they do just that, and evidently heavy fines follow. After being fined/squealed on, some of the clean em ups have resorted to unsavory behavior upon the leave em be’s.

My Wife and I have been in a few discussions about this when back home, and it’s been suggested it was all on Government land. I know we stayed at a Friends place outside of Hill Top NC and he had several on his land, which is private, and he wanted to get them down, but could not by local ordinance.

-- Think safe, be safe

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