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State Hoping To Keep Evergreen Invasive Out Of Wisconsin

Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

  The state Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection hopes you pay attention to commercially-purchased decorator plants. One of them could carry a disease that's deadly for evergreen trees here.

DATCP's  Brian Kuhn says be on the lookout for a pest called the elongate hemlock scale, or EHS.The invasive has not yet been found in Wisconsin but is found on the east coast.

Kuhn says they want to stop it before it gets into our environment...

"...We've been struggling with trees coming out of the mid-Atlantic, North Carolina, Virginia, being imported to Wisconsin for sale..."

The pest can be found by flipping over the greenery and looking for a brownish area on the underside of the branches. There's a waxy covering over the insect.

Kuhn says it can cause severe damage...

"While its called the Hemlock Scale, it's not solely hemlock that would be impacted. Certainly we have a fairly large hemlock resource in the state. There's a lot of other threats to these resources from other invasive pests. This is just one more that we don't have yet and we're trying to keep out..."

Kuhn says the infested stock was comprised of fir trees, wreaths, and décor from suppliers in North Carolina with some material labeled as “fresh from the Blue Ridge Mountains.” All Wisconsin retailers that sold these products cooperated with DATCP, removed the items from their shelves and destroyed them. However, many items had already been sold, and Kuhn says it is possible other uninspected retailers also received and sold infested items.

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