News release from state Department of Agriculture:
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has announced the discovery of a walnut tree killing disease, Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD), in Jefferson County. The county is now under quarantine. Hamblen County is now considered a buffer regulated county because it is adjacent to a quarantined county. Rhea County is also being placed in the buffer regulated category because Walnut Twig Beetles have been caught in the county but no TCD fungus has been found.
“We will continue to survey our forests and work to help slow the spread of the disease.” said TDA Plant Certification Administrator Gray Haun. “We are working with stakeholders to help educate citizens on the symptoms of TCD and how they can help.”
TCD is a progressive disease that may kill a tree within two to three years after initial symptoms are detected. The disease-causing fungus, Geosmithia morbida, is transmitted by the Walnut Twig Beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis. Branches and trunk tissue are killed by multiple infections of the fungus as the beetles carry the fungus from one area to the next.
TDA plant inspectors and foresters will continue to conduct a thorough survey of trees in these areas to assess the extent of the infestation and to see if more areas need to be quarantined. Counties already under quarantine for TCD include Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon, Sevier and Union. Adjacent counties to the quarantined areas are also restricted for movement of walnut products and hardwood firewood.
News release from Division of Forestry, state Department of Agriculture:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Predatory beetles that feed on hemlock woolly adelgids (HWA), an invasive pest killing swaths of hemlock trees from eastern Tennessee to the Cumberland Mountains, were released Tuesday at Martha Sundquist State Forest in Cocke County. The release was an effort by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry (TDF) to protect young eastern hemlock seedlings from the invasive exotic pest, which is responsible for killing many, if not most, of the mature hemlocks in the state forest.
“Martha Sundquist State Forest is a good site for these beetles to be released because there is a healthy population of HWA to sustain them,” said Douglas Godbee, TDF Forest Health Forester. “We will monitor these beetles over the next couple of years in hopes that they will reproduce, become an established population, and continue to prey on HWA in order to eventually control the HWA population.”
Native to Asia, the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) is a small, aphid-like insect that threatens the health and sustainability of eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana) in the Eastern United States. It feeds at the base of the needles and can quickly populate all needles of a tree, sucking the sap and ultimately causing mortality within 3 to 10 years of infestation. The potential ecological impacts of this exotic pest are comparable to that of Dutch elm disease and chestnut blight. HWA was first reported in the U.S. in 1951 near Richmond, Va., and has since spread to 17 states, from Maine to Georgia.
TVA is tightening its tree-cutting policies along power line rights-of-way, reports the News Sentinel. New requirements with stiff fines created to prevent blackouts are forcing the federal utility to remove most any tree capable of growing more than 15 feet high, according to TVA spokesman Travis Brickey.
TVA has been working to clear the rights-of-way under the 2,594 miles of transmission line of 230 kilovolts or greater that stretch across its seven-state territory.
So far, 1,500 miles have been cleared to the full width of the right of way, 500 miles have been partially cleared and there are 500 miles of completely uncleared right of way, according to Regg.
“We still have a long way to go, but we have made an impact,” he said.
TVA has a 15,900 miles of transmission line across its seven-state coverage area and anticipates that lower voltage lines will be included in the guidelines at some point, so the right of way area of the whole system will need to be dealt with eventually, Regg said.
Driving the effort is a set of federal regulations backed by hefty penalties, which came out of a major power failure that struck the Northeast U.S. in 2003.
News release from Department of Agriculture:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The eight local Christmas trees Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and First Lady Crissy Haslam will display at the State Capitol and the Tennessee Residence will be adorned with slightly more than ornaments this year.
Donated from tree farms across the state, the six trees at the Tennessee Residence and two at the Capitol will have a mobile phone “quick response,” or “QR,” bar code displayed with the trees, linking many smartphone users directly to the Pick Tennessee Products Christmas tree directory.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture created the bar codes so Tennesseans only have to point their phone’s camera at the bar code to launch an application giving instant information about local tree farms.
“Choosing locally grown products is one way everyone can join the effort to strengthen our rural economies,” Haslam said. “It’s a great way for us to help each other, and that’s something we all think about during this time of year.”
Pick Tennessee Products is the state’s promotional campaign to connect consumers with local farm products. Through the website, visitors can access directories, seasonal recipes and find local artisan products from wines and cheeses to aged hams and local honey. The site’s Taste of Tennessee Online Store provides links to numerous Tennessee produced or processed products popular during the holidays.
Christmas tree farms grow a completely renewable and recyclable resource which is 100 percent biodegradable. While growing, natural Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases and emit fresh oxygen. Christmas trees are often grown on soil that doesn’t support other crops, and their root systems serve to stabilize soil, protect water quality and provide refuge for wildlife. Grown on farms just like any other crop, one to three new seedlings are planted for every tree harvested to ensure a constant supply.
After the holidays, cut trees can be turned into mulch for area trails, and live trees can be replanted. Buying a live tree from a nearby farm guarantees that variety grows well in the area, and farmers are happy to share tips on planting and care for a transplanted tree. Always call ahead and confirm hours of operation and activities.
For more information about locally grown and processed products, visit www.picktnproducts.org or follow on Twitter or Facebook @PickTnProducts
News release from the state Department of Agriculture:
Purple three-sided traps that resemble a box kite can be seen in ash trees in Knox, Loudon and surrounding counties in the next few months as part of a surveillance program by state and federal agencies.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA, APHIS) and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) are partnering to survey for Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), a non-native, wood-boring beetle that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in the eastern United States and Canada. University of Tennessee Extension is also involved in the survey and detection program. EAB was first discovered in the state last summer at a truck stop along I-40 in Knox County.