State quarantines movement of walnut trees, related products from Henrico

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) today placed a temporary quarantine on the movement of walnut trees and plants, as well as plant parts of walnut (including logs, stumps, firewood, roots, branches, mulch and chips) out of Henrico County, Chesterfield County and the City of Richmond following the detection of Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) in Henrico and Chesterfield.
(Richmond was because of its proximity to the two counties.)

VDACS Commissioner Matthew J. Lohr announced the temporary quarantine in an effort to prevent the artificial spread of TCD, a disease complex that attacks walnut trees. The fungus Geosmithia morbida is vectored by the walnut twig beetle, causing small cankers under the bark of the tree. The beetle introduces the fungus while it tunnels beneath the bark. As more beetles attack the tree, the number of cankers increases until they coalesce to girdle twigs and branches, restricting movement of nutrients and eventually killing the tree. Neither the beetle nor the fungus is native to the eastern U.S. Thinning or dead branches initially will occur at the top of the tree, which will die from the top down. Trees may be infested for many years before showing symptoms. There is currently no preventive or curative treatment for the disease.

TCD has been present in the western U.S. for years; this is the first detection in Virginia and the first time it has been found east of Knoxville, Tenn., where it was detected in August 2010. Once established, TCD has the potential to spread to uninfested areas, either through natural means or through the artificial movement of infested articles. VDACS employees in the Office of Plant Industry Services are surveying the affected areas in an effort to determine the extent of this infestation and the source of TCD in Henrico and Chesterfield counties. The actual source may be difficult to determine, officials said, since the infestation likely occurred several years ago.

The disease poses no harm to humans or animals.

For details about the disease in the Eastern United States, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/foresthealth/fhm/sp/tcd/tcd.shtml.
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