Hemlock Invasion

 

Have you seen this plant? Chances are you have. Hemlock is spreading across every state in the U.S. and conservationists say that this is a problem for people, parks, and gardens.

Hemlock is native to Europe but was brought over to the U.S. and is now growing out of control. It grows in all soil conditions and can out-compete other plants around it. Experts say that if you see it, you should use gloves and eye protection to remove it because hemlock poisoning can be fatal and there is no antidote. Yikes!

Ecologists are also worried about insect invasions working their way up the northeast. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Invasive species like the southern pine beetle, emerald ash borer and kudzu already cost the U.S. economy $120 billion a year in damage and removal costs, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They choke crops, topple telephone poles, devalue timber and require extraordinary effort to beat back.”

Warmer winters have made it easier for these species to propagate and spread. Foresters tag and cut down trees that are invaded because the infestation will kill the tree anyway. They say that “eradication is impossible” but they hope to slow them down.

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