Threat to Lookout Mountain's Hemlocks at Critical Level
You may have seen the signs to “Save Our Hemlocks.” If that’s going to happen the time to act is now, warn officials.
“Because of the mild winter, the wooly adelgid infestation has exploded like we’ve never seen it before,” says Jimmy Stewart, a landscape professional of 45 years and volunteer for Save Georgia’s Hemlocks. “We can’t ignore it now.”
Because of the mild winter, the wooly adelgid infestation has exploded like we’ve never seen it before. We can’t ignore it now.
The hemlock wooly adelgid (HWA) is an invasive insect from Asia that has been sweeping across the Southeast, largely unchecked due to no natural predators. It first entered the United States about 30 years ago, but didn’t reach Lookout Mountain until two years ago when it was first noticed on East Brow Road. Since then it has spread fairly quickly across the mountain.
We have to treat this spring and we have to be aggressive or our hemlocks will be dead within two years,” says Stewart. “People don’t realize what a large role these trees play in our landscapes, both for practical and aesthetic reasons.
Hemlocks are a keystone species for our area, providing food and habitat for about 120 species of vertebrates and more than 90 species of birds, according to Save Georgia’s Hemlocks. They also provide shade for native plants as well as people.
“Losing our hemlocks would change everything,” says Stewart. “All of a sudden a pretty, shaded area on your property becomes baking sun.”
The bad news is that the threat is at a critical level. The good news is that we have the right products and techniques to protect trees from the infestation. If you have hemlocks on your property, you can either hire a licensed contractor to implement a treatment plan or do it yourself.
Treatments last 2 to 5 years and are very economical, according to Stewart. If you’d like to learn more he is hosting two FREE classes in April:
Saturday, April 15, 9:00 a.m., Temple Park (222 West Brow Road)
Saturday, April 29, 9:00 a.m., Fairyland Club (1201 Fleetwood Drive)
For more information or to sign up, call Stewart at 423-413-6420.
If you prefer to hire a contractor, the following are certified in our area:
Lawn Doctor of Chattanooga (Allen): 423-708-7900
ABC Tree Company (Milo): 423-344-8732
Green Tree Specialists (Jim): 423-508-5883
W.D. Scott Company (Bill): 423-622-0320
Reedy Landscaping (Galen) 423-877-5810