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Hemlocks under attack.

Q: We have very tall hemlocks in our backyard, maybe 25-30 feet. They are starting to bend at the top (they have many vines on them) and they have that white stuff on them. We have been getting them sprayed every year but it is getting expensive for us. Any suggestions on how to save them, or is their lifespan up?

Erica Alemaghides

Via e-mail

A: It sounds like you have two enemies: vines and probably the hemlock wooly adelgid. Step one is to get rid of the vines. They must start at the ground someplace, so just lop them off there. For the wooly adelgid, the white "stuff" is a mass of tiny insects sucking the life out of the trees (see p. 18). Their hard shell protects them from weather, predators, and pesticides. Pesticides can be used effectively, but timing is critical; the young lack a shell for two weeks after hatching. A knowledgeable pesticide applicator can help save specimen trees, but large-scale attacks on adelgid are economically impossible. Wooly adelgid are decimating hemlocks along the East Coast. Like chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease, it is changing our forest make-up. Learn more about this pest at:
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Title Annotation:TREE DOCTOR: HOWARD BURNETT; pest control
Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2008
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