Sunday, December 13, 2009

Eastern Hemlocks, Great Smoky Mountain National Park

This image I photographed during my summer trip to the Smokies because I wanted to show the devastation of the eastern hemlock trees throughout the Smokies mountain range due to the hemlock woolly adelgid, an aphid-like insect that covers itself with a white, waxy “wool” which acts as a protective coating for the insect.

The hemlock woolly adelgid feeds on the sap at the base of hemlock needles, disrupting nutrient flow and causing the needles to change from deep green to a grayish green, then fall off. Without needles the tree starves to death, usually within three to five years of the initial attack. Infestations often start in large, mature hemlocks, but the insect also attacks and kills younger trees as well.

The hemlock woolly adelgid has infested hemlocks on the Blue Ridge Parkway for about 10 years and in Shenandoah National Park since the late 1980s. In these areas as many as 80 percent of the hemlocks have died due to infestation.

Efforts to control the hemlock woolly adelgids in the Smoky Mountains, through folair or systemic treatments or with the use of predator beetles, are being funded through the Save the Hemlocks initiative of the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a nonprofit organization. For additional information, call (865) 932-4794. Donations are welcome. I would say enjoy this image, but do not feel it's appropriate here.

On a more positive note, I had a shout out from a fellow photographers' blog,, as he took note of my recent frozen waterfall post and apparently was inspired to seek out frozen landscapes. Thanks Jarred for the honorable mention.

1 comment :

  1. I haven't seen this problem in our area, let's hope we never do. Hemlock were one of the first trees that I learned when I was a kid.