July was rough for Tennessee. Emerald ash borer (EAB) was discovered near a truck stop off I-40, which was the first time EAB has been found in the state. And Thousand cankers disease (TCD), a particularly worrisome beetle/fungus combination tree affliction that kills walnut trees, was discovered in a large and well established infestation in East Tennessee. This is a death sentence for walnut trees all over the region, and a huge disappointment for everyone that thought that TCD still had not gotten East of Colorado.
This article provides a nice synopsis of the discoveries, and it has a good emphasis on not moving firewood:
"Thousand Cankers Disease Discovered in East Tennessee" from TN.gov's Newsroom.
We haven't talked much about walnuts and TCD on Don't Move Firewood, so here is a little information. Walnut trees are a very important tree for fine woodworkers, urban dwellers (they make nice shade trees), and for wildlife. They are one of the only remaining native trees (aside from oaks) that produce huge amount of nuts, and so walnut production is important to native wildlife populations- such as turkeys and bears. Sadly, populations of other large nut producing trees like beechnut and chestnut have already been reduced or destroyed by non-native tree diseases.
Up until now, Thousand cankers disease was thought by scientists to be only present on the Western half of the continent, with affected trees all along the Western coastal states, as well as some parts of Colorado. With this new discovery in Tennessee, we now know that walnuts on the Eastern half of North America are also at great risk.
To learn more about Tennessee's new discoveries, visit their EAB or TCD pages.