Walnut Tree Quarantine In Morgan And Rhea Counties Due To Thousand Cankers Disease

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture today announced the discovery of a walnut tree killing disease, Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD), in Morgan and Rhea Counties. Walnut Twig Beetles, which transmit the disease causing fungus and the disease itself, have been found in both counties. The counties are now under quarantine. Citizens in these counties cannot move walnut tree products and hardwood firewood outside the quarantined counties.

Bledsoe, Cumberland, Fentress, Hamilton, and Meigs Counties are now considered buffer regulated counties because they are adjacent to a quarantined county. Polk and Sequatchie Counties are being placed in the buffer regulated category because of the finding of Walnut Twig Beetles in those counties. Bradley County is also being placed in the buffer regulated category because it is surrounded on the Tennessee side by other buffer regulated counties. Citizens in buffer counties can move walnut tree products and hardwood firewood within buffer counties, but not outside. Product can also be moved into a quarantine county, but not taken back out.

“We will continue to survey for the Walnut Twig Beetle and Thousand Cankers Disease to help slow the spread of the disease,” said TDA Plant Certification Administrator Gray Haun. “We are working with stakeholders to help educate citizens on the symptoms of TCD and how they can help.”

TCD is a progressive disease that may kill a tree within two to three years after initial symptoms are detected. The disease-causing fungus, Geosmithia morbida, is transmitted by the Walnut Twig Beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis. Branches and trunk tissue are killed by multiple infections of the fungus as the beetles carry the fungus from one area to the next.

TDA plant inspectors and foresters will continue to conduct a thorough survey of trees in these areas to assess the extent of the infestation and to see if more areas need to be quarantined. Counties already under quarantine for TCD include Anderson, Blount, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Sevier and Union. Adjacent counties to the quarantined areas are also restricted for movement of walnut products and hardwood firewood.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry estimates that 1.38 million black walnut trees in Tennessee’s urban areas are potentially at risk from TCD. The risk represents an estimated value loss of $1.37 billion. There are an estimated 26 million black walnut trees on Tennessee public and private timberland potentially valued as high as $1.47 billion. 

TDA officials urge area residents and visitors to help prevent the spread of TCD:

· Don’t transport firewood, even within Tennessee.  Don’t bring firewood along for camping trips. Buy the wood you need from a local source. Don’t bring wood home with you.

· Don’t buy or move firewood from outside the state.  If someone comes to your door selling firewood, ask them about the source, and don’t buy wood from outside the state. 

· Watch for signs of infestation in your black walnut trees.  If you suspect your black walnut tree could be infested with TCD, visit http://www.tn.gov/agriculture/regulatory/tcd.shtml for an online symptoms checklist and report form or call TDA’s Regulatory Services Division at 800 628-2631

More information about Thousand Cankers Disease and forest health threats in Tennessee can be found at www.ProtectTNForests.org. For more information about other programs and services of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture visit www.tn.gov/agriculture


Secretary Jewell Announces Decision To Protect 75,000 Acres Of Eastern Tennessee Mountains From Future Surface Mining

At the request of the State of Tennessee, the Department of the Interior has agreed to designate approximately 75,000 acres of mountain ridgelines as unsuitable for surface coal mining operations. Today’s action helps protect a spectacular area of eastern Tennessee that is critical to the region’s tourism and outdoor recreation economy, provides valuable fish and wildlife habitat ... (click for more)

Alexander Given Scenic Byway Trailblazer Award

Senator Lamar Alexander was one of two recipients on Tuesday, of the Scenic Byway Trailblazer Award from Scenic America, the National Scenic Byway Foundation and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership. Senator Alexander was recognized at an event celebrating the 25 th  anniversary of the National Scenic Byways Program. He said, “When I was governor of Tennessee ... (click for more)

County Schools Prepare To Set Priorities For Next Round Of School Building Funding

County school board members are gearing up to set priorities for the next round of new school construction in Hamilton County. Lee McDade, assistant superintendent, said officials may know by the spring how much money will be available to build new schools or add on to existing ones - or do a combination of both. Board member Rhonda Thurman said a proposal to build a new Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Walker County Will No Longer Have Full-Time County Attorney Under Whitfield Tenure; Will Add Full-Time Communications Director

Incoming Walker County Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield said under his administration there will no longer be a full-time county attorney. "We will outsource this service on a fee basis," he said. Mr. Whitfield said he has begun interviewing attorneys who might be able to help out the county from time to time. Don Oliver has long been the county attorney for Walker County ... (click for more)

Vehicle Emissions Testing Causes More Pollution Than It Prevents - And Response

While a noble cause to make sure vehicles are operating efficiently with the minimum amount of pollutants, a simple analysis makes it somewhat evident the VET program in Chattanooga causes more pollution that it prevents.  Though I don't know how many vehicles are tested on an annual basis, if you assume an average round trip of 10 miles to the nearest testing station (five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Senseless Divide

If I could change one thing about the schools in Chattanooga, my wish would be that everybody could become good friends. I’m talking about the private schools versus the public schools. The rancor is so bad we hardly every play in sports anymore and what the loathsome TSSAA has done in recent years to the out-numbered private schools is sinful. My dream would be that there would ... (click for more)