Page 42 - Great Lakes Logging - August 2018
P. 42

Saving Michigan’s hemlock trees
Michigan DNR photo
Eastern hemlock trees growing at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon County are shown. The old-growth hemlocks here are part of the reason the forest was preserved as a park.
By Joanne Foreman
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
The hemlock wooly adelgid is an invasive species in Michigan from Japan that damages eastern hemlock trees.
If you travel past Michigan's cities, past the farms, there's a point where the billboards give way to forest land as far as the eye can see.
This is the home of eastern hemlock - spanning from West Michigan's dunes, across the northern Lower Peninsula, into all but two counties in the
Upper Peninsula.
Though not a standout, hemlock is an impor-
tant part of the mesic northern forest, providing shelter for deer and nesting birds, and keeping forest streams cool and clean.
Now, the state's hemlock resource, estimated at 170 million trees, is threatened by a tiny invasive insect - the hemlock woolly adelgid.
Nearly invisible to the naked eye, the black,
aphid-like bug pierces branches and feeds on sap, slowly sucking the life from the tree.
To protect its eggs, the adelgid spins a cotton- like, waxy white ball. These "ovisacs," resem- bling the tips of cotton swabs, are visible on the underside of hemlock branches, near the base of the needles. It is the woolly appearance of these ovisacs that help give the hemlock woolly adel- gid its name.
A native of Asia, the adelgid probably arrived in the U.S. on a shipment of hemlock from Japan. It was first identified in Richmond, Virginia in 1951 and by the 1980s had spread to large tracts of forest in the Appalachian Mountains.
M.V.A. Enterprises, Inc.
• Forest Management • Food Plots • Road & Dirt Work
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