Sunday, September 5, 2010

Woolly Menace

Driving in the summer on the Blue Ridge parkway around the Boone North Carolina area has always been a very pleasant and refreshing experience. The North Carolina mountains have a way of giving a persons spirits rebirth. This past summer a Sunday afternoon ride on that beautiful road was no exception. However I kept noticing all the dead big evergreen tress, our native Canadian Hemlock. All through the North Carolina and Appalachian mountains you see the new skeletal remains of our former evergreen giants, some newly dead, many near death thanks to an unwanted invasive exotic non native pest the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. Brought in to the Northwestern United States from Asia in the 1920's probably with exotic nursery stock, and found in the Northeastern Unites States in the 1950's the Woolly Adelgid has found its way to our beautiful state killing almost every hemlock that cannot readible be sprayed or maintained.

This really hit home with me as only a few days from our ride to the mountains I was working in one of our oldest customers yards and I discovered three old Canadian Hemlocks infested with the Woolly pest. These were the first documented case in Iredell County. This was verified by our county Horticultural extension agent Amanda Taylor. My father had sold and probably planted the three infected trees many years before to this long time customer. Like the American Chestnut our native Canadian and Carolina Hemlocks have fallen victims to something non native to which they have no built in defense. There are many reasons to landscape with native plants, they are big keys to our environment and us. Yes many non native exotic species of all biological types are no harm to any part of our native environment, but many are. Be careful when using non natives in your landscape you might not always know what you are getting. And when you can plant native.


  1. Wise words!
    Best Wishes

  2. Preaching to the converted here ;>) I see red when people say happily - oh but it is not a problem in MY Garden! And smuggling seeds, and plants, and fruit and veg - Not A Problem!!

  3. So true Kevin and thanks for caring so much. Love having your expertise and advice at the Clemmons Farmer's Market. You do make a difference with your voice.

  4. oh thats scary oh can I find native hazelnut here?