The Hemlock Restoration Initiative treated hemlock trees in Grandfather State Park Nov. 2 and 3 to prevent spread of a sap-sucking pest, a small insect called the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.
Using a common, light insecticide, volunteers distributed the chemical right at the base of hemlock trees in order to avoid treating other plants unintentionally. Moving up the Profile Trail, there are still many hemlocks lining the trial and deep into the woods.
Pushing through thick rhododendron and moving off-trail, volunteers also treated hemlocks deep into the woods which have not been treated in a few years. According to Thom Green, HRI's outreach and landowner support manager, HWA is so widespread that every tree can be assumed to have some level of infestation. Trees treated every couple of years keep the infestation managed and are able to continue surviving and reproducing.
Green said that hemlocks are important in many ways for forest ecosystems including providing shade, managing flooding next to streams, and they are important for many bird and fish species, such as trout.
Nov. 15-19 HRI will treat hemlock trees in Pisgah National Forest in the Old Fort/Marion area. To learn more about volunteering with HRI and treating hemlock trees, visit savehemlocksnc.org/volunteer/.