On May 19th, Pam Phillips (GRCC graduate) and Amy Kroll (DNR pathologist) gave a presentation to the South Puget Sound Society of American Foresters in the Green River Community College 'school forest' on Phellinus sulphurascens, a destructive and often fatal root rot disease that affects the root systems of Douglas-fir trees.
For the past nine years, GRCC Natural Resources Department in conjunction with Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WSDNR) has been working on a long term research project studying how the addition of potassium in known P. sulphurascens sites affects the mortality of Douglas-fir. In all, there are 31 research plots, 21 plots that are 9 years old and 10 plots that are 5 years old. In addition to pathology information supplied by WSDNR, the GRCC Silvicultural Analysis class measures and records heights, diameters and tree health data each year. Next year the class will be doing the final measurements for the 10 year study.
The week of May 16th, Paula Kaiser Forest Manager at GRCC and co-chair of the SPS SAF chapter, along with Pam Phillips conducted plot thinnings assisted by GRCC student SAF members John Dreyer, Ronnie Kipling, Nate Jainga, Heather Anseth, Daniel Hostetler, and Jake Tableso. For the P. sulphurascens study, the process of thinning had to include pulling the trees with the roots intact - easier said than done as the older plots are around 7-8 meters tall. Each thinned tree was inspected for P. sulphurascens by Dan Omdal and Amy Kroll, WSDNR forest pathologists.
A big Thank You to the GRCC Natural Resources department and Dick Hopkins for transporting meeting attendees in the crummy (GRCC Natural Resources bus) to and from the research area in the 'school forest.'