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Two Trees Forestry
167 Main St.
P.O. Box 356
Winthrop, ME 04364
V: (207) 377-7196
F: (207) 377-7198 harold@twotreesforestry.com

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Friday, February 21 2014

Invasive insects are near February 2014

Just because you don't see them, doesn't mean hemlock woolly adelgids aren't here. I learned that on two recent forays into the woods hundreds of miles apart.

One morning as I drove east of Amherst, Mass. I scanned the roadside hemlocks for signs of decline, potential evidence of the hemlock woolly adelgid. Though most trees were needled, it was obvious that sparse crowns were common. I saw no outright mortality, but when I investigated the branches up close, I quickly found the tell-tale little cotton balls on their undersides. Unfortunately, later when I was walking a coastal ridge in Wiscasset, where the Maine Forest Service had confirmed the adelgid's presence, I couldn't find any. There the trees showed no evidence, to me, of thinning crowns. The MFS not only knew that they were there but had begun a predatory beetle release program, because its staffers felt that the adelgid population was sufficiently large to support the beetles. While vigilance, by all, appears to be one of the best defenses, I implore you to keep looking. Just as I missed it, you may have as well. Report what you find to the Forest Service. Fortunately, current adelgid populations are limited to within a town or two of the coast, as winter cold seems to be a natural deterrent.

Buy it where you burn it!
Unfortunately, the emerald ash borer seems to be undeterred by the cold and has made a steady march eastward from Michigan since 2000. Ash trees quickly succumb to the pests, and Michigan foresters report nearly universal mortality in some regions. Recently the bugs have been found in Andover, Mass., north of Boston, and near Concord, NH. Though the borers can fly, their rapid rate of spread suggests that they are aided by people and our tendency to move infected wood to areas previously uninfected. To learn more please visit YouTube, to view a 15-minute video that Kyle Hockmeyer and I wrote and produced for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry.