Website developed as resource for info on deadly tree disease
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University researchers have helped develop a website aimed at educating landowners and foresters about a fatal fungal disease that is threatening valuable black walnut tree in Eastern states.
The website is meant to raise awareness of thousand cankers disease and share developments, such as new sightings or research, with landowners and members of the forest industry. Foresters believe the disease could cause millions of dollars in economic damage if it reaches Indiana, which has about $1.7 billion worth of the hardwood species.
"Much of the information is aimed at addressing the concerns of landowners and providing them with resources to educate themselves on the symptoms of TCD and how to care for their trees," said Justin Arseneault, Purdue University forester in the Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center. "The website also has contact information to report TCD if landowners suspect they have found the disease in their area."
Thousand cankers disease, which cannot be treated, had been confirmed in nine western states during the last 10 years. But it has been spotted in Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Virginia since 2010. Foresters are concerned that it could spread to neighboring states.
"The cankers are typically very small and easy to miss, but if enough beetles attack a tree, the cankers can become so numerous that nutrient transport throughout the tree is completely inhibited, causing it to die," Arseneault said.
The disease is a result of the walnut twig beetle carrying a fungus called Geosmithia morbida. Adult beetles tunnel into the tree just beneath the outer bark and cause cankers -areas of dead plant tissue - that can block water and nutrient transport throughout the tree.
The website is a cooperative effort among the Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Walnut Council, a walnut industry group.
For more information about the disease, visit the new website at www.thousandcankers.com.
Writer: Jeanne Gibson, 765-494-8402, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Justin Arseneault, 765-413-1951, email@example.com