The Hemlock Restoration Initiative last week announced four grants totaling $50,000 to help to restore North Carolina’s hemlock trees to long-term health.
Hemlocks across Western North Carolina are being decimated by the hemlock woolly adelgid, a tiny sap-sucking insect that depletes the tree’s starch reserves and eventually causes its death.
The goal of the restoration project is to ensure that Eastern and Carolina hemlocks can resist and recover from the deadly infestation and survive to maturity on North Carolina’s public and private lands by 2025.
An advisory committee recommended four projects for funding. All four advance an integrated and complementary approach to pest management and hemlock restoration: chemical treatment to stabilize hemlock trees until more lasting solutions are available, predator beetles to provide long-term adelgid control, and public education and outreach to a broad community base to ensure all of Western North Carolina understands the impacts of the adelgid and the opportunities to recover from its initial wave of destruction.