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DATCP encourages people to buy local evergreens to prevent the spread of invasive species


With Thanksgiving behind us, many people are focused on the next big holiday.

From kissing balls to Christmas trees, there’s plenty of ways to decorate your house with evergreens.

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection hopes no matter what decoration you go with, you’ll chose to buy local.

Elongate hemlocks scale
Elongate hemlocks scale

DATCP Public Information Officer Leeann Duwe said its help prevent the spread of invasive species.

“Elongate Hemlocks Scale has never been detected on Wisconsin’s landscape. It’s not a pest that we currently have in the state, so we’re trying to prevent that EHS from coming into our state and infesting our forests,” said Duwe.

EHS is a threat to Wisconsin’s Christmas Trees, native hemlock, and balsam fir forests.

The insects will build up their populations slowly on trees causing the foliage to turn yellow and drop prematurely.

Trees will often die with 10 years of an infestation.

Since the pest hasn’t been found in Wisconsin, one of the best ways to prevent it from spreading here to buy your evergreen products locally.

“We are protecting our forestry industry. Wisconsin is a major Christmas tree producer. It’s a very important product not only in state, but also we export those materials out as well. It’s also important to our tourism industry. So just making sure that we’re preventing EHS from infesting our forests,” said Duwe.

You can help protect Wisconsin’s natural resources and Christmas tree industry by checking trees and wreaths for this pest.

To identify EHS, look for discolored needles and small brown, oblong scale insects on the underside of the needles.

If you suspect EHS on fir wreaths or Christmas trees, you can report it to DATCP’s pest hotline.

DATCP’s pest hotline is (866) 440-7523 and if possible, email a clear, close-up picture\ to datcppesthotline@wi.gov.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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