We have 15 acres in the Yamhill county coastal range and our trees are mostly firs less than 20 years old. Several, if not most, of the firs are turning brown. The green needles remaining are moist and soft like a healthy tree, yet there are mid sections on branches that have turned brown and have fallen off. In our four years on the property we have cleaned up the dead wood and keep much of the surrounding grass cut. My question is what can we do to help our trees and how can we protect ourselves from the surrounding forest?
Yes, that is a symptom we have seen scattered throughout western Oregon (and I had pictures sent from BC the other day with this too). And yes, we associate it with the heat event in late June. What to do about it is a key question that we do not have resolved. It appears that the current year foliage is alive and will keep the tree alive. So there will likely be a growth decline for a few years as the tree recovers leaf area. There is really nothing else you can do, it may help to mulch the trees if possible, but of course this is not easy to do to a lot of trees. We are a bit at the mercy of the weather, as the current drought may be hard on the trees. But unless the drought gets really severe, I think the trees will live. There should be no threat from the surrounding forest.