With care, many hemlocks can survive

To the Editor:

With all due respect to Mr. Ellison — who wrote in his “Back Then” column a few issues back about the inevitable demise of the hemlock — I would have to enjoin him and other like minds not to give up hope.

A little over seven years ago, the 11 hemlocks on my property were all infected, as were those on adjoining properties.

Not about to pay tree servicers hundreds of dollars to “cure” each one, I went to Wal-Mart where I bought a bottle of concentrated systemic insecticide (pour around the roots, water in and it’s drawn into the tree via its roots) that was enough to treat about six trees, depending on size. Result: complete eradication of the hemlock wooly adelgid. Next year I did the same, although it might not have been necessary.

Five years later, with no additional treatments, they remain adelgid free, as does a neighbor’s 40-footer, which was in the final stage before dying prior to treatment.

Furthermore, another neighbor’s badly infected trees, which received no treatment, not only survived but flourished adelgid-free. I don’t know why. The trees were spaced about 30 feet from my bordering, treated tree, so soil penetration from tree to tree-to-tree is unlikely. Perhaps the insecticide spread through the insects themselves. Who knows?

In any event, these are tough trees. Sure, there will be a terrible cost to our woodlands and streams from those we lose, but some, just some, will survive and likely will flourish once again.

Ed Myers

Bryson City

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