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When Beetles attack

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xtremetrees

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Here's a re-write of an article I received on coastal Georgia's bay trees.
This article was originally written by Carole Hawkins of the Jacksonville, Florida Times Union.

Jekyll Island is losing its battle against an Asian beetle that is spreading a killer fungus into red bay trees. The island is near the midpoint of a large infestation that has wiped out red bays from South Carolina to Central Florida over the past six years.
"Eventually we'll see 100 percent of the red bay trees die off" Jekyll landscape super Cliff Gawron said. "There doesn't seem to be any evidence that trees can fight this genetically."
It will impact thousands of trees on Jekyll alone--especially at the parks south end, where red bays are the dominant species, populating the layer just beneath Jekyll's live oaks, he said.
One dying tree will be especially missed. A large red bay next to the Horton House --once identified as the fourth largest red bay in the nation-- was found to be infected two weeks ago and will have to be removed.
Larger red bay trees growing in South Carolina already have died, meaning the one at the historic Horton House may have been the largest albeit briefly, Gowran said."
"Its going to dramatically agffect the look and feel of that building," he said. "It's also considered to bo one of the finest large species oin the coutry," he said, because it's a balanced, well-proportioned tree".
The Asian beetle, Xyleborous glabratus, was first detected in Savannah's Port Went-worth area in 2002. Smaller that ticks, the beetles have spread in all directions at the rate of about 20 miles per year. to date, 18 counties near the Georgia coast have been affected.
The trees are not directly killed by the beetle, but by a fungus the female leaves after laying her eggs. The fungus attacks the tree vascular systems, keeping the from absorbing nutrients.


"Research has been ongoing, but so far there is no clear treatment to stop this thing" said James Johnson, Forest Health Coordinator for the Georgia Forestry Commission. "We've asked people not to move infected wood for long distances."
The disease has spread to sassafras and avocado trees, both relatives of the red bay, and ecologist believe it could eventually threaten souther Florida's commercial avocado grove's.
"The red bay is in the coastal plains region," Johnson said. "But sassafras trees go all the way to the Mississippi River. Eventually this problem could affect a much bigger area.
The beetles were first found in red bays on the north end of Jekyll Island in the spring of 2006. They have spread to both the east and west ends of the island and will probably reach as far south as Jekyll's historic district by next year, Gawron said.
Landscraping crews have attempted to control the spread by cutting down and burning all infected trees and by spraying trees in the historic district with an expensive insecticide. But the beetles returned with a vengeance once warm weather hit, Gawron said.
Last December we removed and burned over 650 trees, "he said, "but there are 1500 more standing dead on the island right now," he said.
Jekyll's south end would look similar from its outer edge, where live oaks define the tree line, but its canopy will open up significantly underneath.
"We're hoping something native will come in and fill the gap, rather than an invasive species," Gawron said, "It's certainly going to affect the shade function there"
Jekyll landscapers are cutting the dead trees so they do not become a hazard to visitors. Jekyll's landscaping budget has been adjusted to pay for an outside contractor to help with the tree removal.
 
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xtremetrees

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Heres a photo of the tree that was the largest albeit briefly in the nation .
 

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treelooker

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First of all, was that really a newspaper article? Several spelling/grammar problems...

"Eventually we'll see 100 percent of the red bay trees die off" Jekyll landscape super Cliff Gawron said. "There doesn't seem to be any evidence that trees can fight this genetically."

"Research has been ongoing, but so far there is no clear treatment to stop this thing" said James Johnson, Forest Health Coordinator for the Georgia Forestry Commission.

Jekyll landscapers are cutting the dead trees so they do not become a hazard to visitors. Jekyll's landscaping budget has been adjusted to pay for an outside contractor to help with the tree removal.
Same story as with EAB, the state disses treatments because they do not have years of data to be proved 100% effective. So out come the chainsaws instead. A couple years later an excellent treatment comes out and they say "OK now you can use this."

Bureaucratic bungling. I'll be stopping at the island in a couple weeks and will have a looksee.

O and Robert I thought they said 4th-largest...and the tree at the corner of the building looks like a live oak--is the redbay to the left?
 
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xtremetrees

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Guy, froom what I understand the largest was in SC making this one the largest for only a few months. Take a photo of the house and we will know for sure but I believe it is the tree in the center, hard to tell in photo.
These island's trees and natural beauty draw millions of visitors each and every year, Cumberland, St Simons, Jekyll, and the illustrious Sea Island have only gotten a C.A. in the past 3 or 4 years. They held the G-8 summit here in 05.
 
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