Invasive pest is especially bad for hemlocks this spring
People tell me all the time about how much they appreciate the unique way hemlock trees contribute to the beauty, privacy and value of our individual properties and our neighborhoods; cover our mountains with lush forests that support thousands of jobs related to tourism and recreation and produce millions of dollars in revenue; provide food and habitat for many birds and animals, shade for native plants and cool temperatures for trout streams; help maintain the biodiversity of the ecosystem and protect the air and water quality we depend on; and create special places that restore our bodies and refresh our spirits.
But there’s bad news — the hemlocks are in serious danger, especially this year. After the extremely mild winter we’ve just had, the invasive insect pest called hemlock woolly adelgid that’s attacking the trees has showed up earlier with fatter egg sacs than we’ve ever see before. And this robust population of pests is poised to do more and faster damage than ever before. A massive loss of hemlocks would be a disaster on the scale of the American chestnut, so it’s time for action to save one of our most majestic and iconic evergreen trees.
The good news — property owners can treat and save as many of their own trees as they choose. It’s safe, easy enough for most people to do themselves, highly effective and surprisingly economical, especially compared to the cost of losing the trees. And volunteers can help save the hemlocks in our national forests and state lands too.
Help save the hemlocks
If you want to learn how to help, plan to attend a special training event Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Southwind Feed and Supply in Ellijay, presented by Save Georgia’s Hemlocks.
Registration is required for the free event. For information or registration, call Kim at 706-455-2313 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.