Parks & Gardens to remove dying pine trees at Hugh MacRae Park on October 7

On Monday, October 7, crews will begin removing 21 long leaf pine trees from Hugh MacRae Park.  While we do not like to remove mature trees, it is necessary as these trees are dying due to pine borer infestation.  Pine borers are bugs that infest weakened pine trees, resulting in a quick death to the host tree.  Once the host tree dies, the borers move on to neighboring trees.  To slow this progression, it is necessary to remove the dying trees before the borer population moves to the next tree.

In a natural environment, these borers actually serve a positive purpose by removing weakened trees.  This creates holes in the tree canopy allowing younger pines to grow healthy.  They are cyclic in that infestations tend to occur for a few years until predation or environmental conditions bring them into check.  In an urban forest it is not known whether natural processes can respond this way, so we must be proactive to make sure we lose as few trees as possible.

New Hanover County Parks & Gardens understands the value of the long leaf pine, and is committed to maintaining its population.  Over the past few years, we have planted over 200 long leaf pine trees in Hugh MacRae Park alone.  As part of our sustainability efforts, we will continue to plant trees to replace those lost.

*We do not expect the tree removal process to impact park use on October 7

Tree canopy with pines killed by pine borers
Image Credit: Erich G. Vallery, USDA Forest Service – SRS-4552,

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896 Airlie Road, Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7620 • Fax 910-798-7621