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Hemlock trees quarantined in four Michigan counties due to invasive pest

Flickr User Kathie Hodge

A quarantine has been declared in four Michigan counties to protect the state's Hemlock trees from an invasive pest.



State officials say there are roughly 170 million hemlock trees in the state, and they are the only target of an invasive exotic insect called Hemlock WoollyAdelgid.

The pest ingests nutrients until the tree dies.

Jennifer Holton is the Communications Director for Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. She said the quarantine is specific to the four counties where infested trees have been found; Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon and Oceana.

“And what it does is it regulates the shipment of hemlock nursery stock within and out of those four counties. It also regulates the movement of hemlock forest products, things like hemlock logs, lumber, and firewood without any attached twigs or branches are exempt.”

Holton said twig-less logs are exempt because that is where the Adelgid lives.

She said Michigan trees have been infested before, but never to this extent.

“The previous infestations were limited to individual trees or small groups of trees and we were able to eradicate those through the use of pesticides. The most recent detections are more widespread and once you get beyond a single property it’s a little more difficult to control.”

More information on the quarantine can be found here. For more information regarding the exotic pest, click here.