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Thread: Eastern Hemlocks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    9

    Default Eastern Hemlocks

    Hello everyone, I am new to the board, but I have been reading these posts and the fishing reports for many years. I live in Alpharetta, which is north of Atlanta, and have been fishing/camping in the GSMNP since I was a child. Over the last couple of years I have seen the park get slammed by the Hemlock Adelgid and it's concerning. I always try to gather information from park rangers and others about what is being done to protect the hemlocks, but never can get good information. Does anyone know the current status? What is being done? If what they are doing is working? What the short term and long term outlook is?

    I have noticed in the last couple of years that the Red Spruce and Fraser Firs seem to be coming back. I haven't read anything that states this (and I very well might be wrong), but my girlfriend and I climbed Clingman's Dome and the top was covered in them. They all seemed to be the same age at about ten feet tall. What did the park do to combat the Balsam Wooly Adelgid?

    Any information would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    79

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dead Drifter View Post
    Hello everyone, I am new to the board, but I have been reading these posts and the fishing reports for many years. I live in Alpharetta, which is north of Atlanta, and have been fishing/camping in the GSMNP since I was a child. Over the last couple of years I have seen the park get slammed by the Hemlock Adelgid and it's concerning. I always try to gather information from park rangers and others about what is being done to protect the hemlocks, but never can get good information. Does anyone know the current status? What is being done? If what they are doing is working? What the short term and long term outlook is?

    I have noticed in the last couple of years that the Red Spruce and Fraser Firs seem to be coming back. I haven't read anything that states this (and I very well might be wrong), but my girlfriend and I climbed Clingman's Dome and the top was covered in them. They all seemed to be the same age at about ten feet tall. What did the park do to combat the Balsam Wooly Adelgid?

    Any information would be appreciated.
    To answer in reverse, the park tried sprays and foam with th Balsm Wooly Adelgid but it was way too ineffective and way to expensive. So after short trials they just did nothing.

    The park continues to fog areas like Cades Cove and other significant areas which is working but far too impractical for widespread use. They have released natural predator insects but this is also just a mitigation not a solution. I believe before it's all said and done there will be many dead hemlocks.

    One good defense is that hemlocks grow near water so that aids in their ability to defend themselves. It's like the southern pine beetle from 2000-2004 east Tennessee lost ~75% of all yellow pine. Insects are a hard beast to fight.

    In the end trees are our greatest renewable resource. If they die the insects will leave and the trees will grow back.
    Neil

    ____________________________________________

    Remember......I'm and idiot

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Greeneville, TN
    Posts
    751

    Default

    One good defense is that hemlocks grow near water so that aids in their ability to defend themselves. It's like the southern pine beetle from 2000-2004 east Tennessee lost ~75% of all yellow pine. Insects are a hard beast to fight.


    One thing I would add is that the Hemlock adelgid is a non-native insect. I have read where the Park hopes to save approximately 30% of the hemlocks. I think they have a tough task ahead of them, I have been in lot of areas in the Smokies and driving along Newfound Gap Rd. tells the story. I would guess that less than 30% are still alive and if they are, they are barely hanging on. It takes a few years for the adelgids to kill a mature tree. Hopefully, they can save some in the drainage's, but I think the forest has been changed for a long time, just like after the chestnut blight in the early 20th Century.

    Neal

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    79

    Default

    Yes the Hemlock Adelgid is most definitely non-native invasive, just like the Balsm Wooly Adelgid that killed the Frazier Firs. The Southern pine beetle is native to east Tn.

    I hope it's not as devistating as the Chestnut Blight but could be, time will tell.
    Neil

    ____________________________________________

    Remember......I'm and idiot

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Thanks for the replies. They are pretty much in line with what I thought. The Chestnut Blight is exactly what comes to mind when I see all the Hemlocks and think of what the mostly likely outcome is. Both the Chestnut and Hemlock will eventually build-up resistance and return, but it won't be in my lifetime (and probably not my children's, either).

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