Adelgid egg sacs on hemlock branch
While many of you are sheltering at home, I hope you’re going outside every now and then to refresh yourself with the sights, sounds and smells of nature. Maybe you’re checking on the plants and wildlife around your home to see how they’re faring this spring. And since we’ve just celebrated Earth Day, you may also be thinking about ways you can help protect and improve our environment. So let me ask you to consider one very important component–trees, and hemlock trees in particular.
Hemlocks, the native evergreen icon of the Appalachian region, play a vital role in preserving the natural beauty and ecological health of our forests and waterways as well as the economic vitality of our communities. But millions of hemlocks are dying because of an invasive insect, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, that sucks the starches and other nutrients from the needles, causing the trees to defoliate. Recognizable by the presence of tiny white egg sacs on the underside of the branches, the infestation is in all of north Georgia and the Atlanta area.
The good news is that hemlocks, even if already infested, can be treated and saved, and spring is the best time to do it. The process is safe, highly effective, economical (especially compared to the cost of losing these valuable evergreens), and easy enough for most property owners to do. There are also several properly qualified professionals who can help.
Save Georgia’s Hemlocks is a 100 percent volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization of concerned citizens dedicated to preserving, conserving and restoring endangered hemlocks through education and charitable service. Our volunteers can provide easy-to-follow instructions or a list of qualified professionals for property owners, training for volunteers who want to help on our public lands, and a wide range of opportunities for individuals and groups to put the spirit of Earth Day into action.
To learn more, visit www.savegeorgiashemlocks.org or call the Hemlock Help Line at (706) 429-8010.