Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Glade Sun

January 15, 2014

Enjoying Nature: A tale of two trees

CROSSVILLE — While out hiking in the past month, I found two different trees with big stories to tell. The trees' stories are sad, but hopeful.

Both times, when I discovered the two trees, I was bushwhacking. Bushwhacking is hiking off-trail ... just going through the forest, not on any defined path. You'll often find sights bushwhacking in the winter that would be obscured by leaves and protected by ticks in the summer.

The first tree story involved a giant Eastern hemlock tree, not too far from the end of Lake Dartmoor, near Rotherham Drive. This hemlock was big; one of the biggest that you'll see around here. The tree told me a lot, and it wasn't happy. It was covered with the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA). That is not good.

The HWA, if untreated, will kill the tree within 4-8 years. The insect is an introduced species that has been spreading this way since it was first discovered in the 1920's in New England. This is, I believe, the first reported case of HWA in Fairfield Glade. You can easily identify an infected tree by looking on the underside of the hemlock needles. On an infected tree you will see small, white, cotton-like clusters at the base of each needle. The white cotton material isn't the insect, it is just a protective cover that the insect produces. The woolly adelgid is a tiny, brownish insect under the cotton.

We knew the HWA was coming, but a survey, just a few months ago, found no evidence of it in Fairfield Glade yet. I reported my finding to the FFG committee that recently put together a comprehensive report on how to combat the insect pest in our area. The plan is ready; we just hoped that the HWA wasn't here yet. There will be a cost to save each hemlock tree, and every tree won't be able to be saved, but at least we are ready. I just wasn't quite ready, so soon, for the story that tree told.

The second tree I found was very unexpected, but very exciting. While hiking with some friends, we stopped to look at some squirrel tracks along a fallen log, when I spotted an American chestnut bur on the ground next to the log. You may be saying, "Wait a minute, all the American chestnut trees died by the 1940's from a blight," and you would be correct ... almost. At the turn of the 20th century, American chestnut trees comprised almost 25 percent of Appalachian forests. It is hard to believe that they were completely wiped out in less than 40 years. Pure American chestnut trees still continue to sprout from 80-year-old roots; however, they all eventually catch the blight, and most die before growing large enough to produce nuts. Although extremely rare, every once in a while, a tree will get big enough to bloom and produce chestnuts. I found some a few years ago in Pennsylvania and last week we found one of those rare trees in Fairfield Glade.

The tree here has a 32 inch circumference, and is about 50 feet tall. I found over 40 chestnut burs on the ground. Each 2.5 inch diameter bur usually contains three nuts. I have sent samples of the leaves, twigs and burs to the American Chestnut Foundation in Asheville, NC for confirmation. They may want to cross pollinate this tree with another surviving chestnut tree.

Since the nuts inside the burs are small and look dehydrated, it means, I believe, that they are not fertile. Chestnut trees cannot pollinate themselves and need another nearby tree for the nuts to fully develop. There is no nearby chestnut tree.

The chestnut tree looks very healthy, except for one small problem. Near the base of this tree, there are signs of the blight beginning to attack the tree. The tree will eventually die.

There may not be hope for this specific chestnut tree, but the story doesn't end here; there is hope for the species. The American Chestnut Foundation has developed trees that are 15/16th American chestnut, and 1/16th Chinese chestnut, with all of the great characteristics of the American chestnut, (sweeter nuts, fast growing, tall, straight, rot-resistant wood), and the blight resistance of its Chinese cousin. These trees are still being tested, but hopefully, our grandchildren will someday be able to experience the great, 100-foot tall, American chestnut trees, once again gracing our Eastern forests. And that is no tall tale.

Comments, questions or suggestions for future nature articles are welcome at don.hazel@gmail.com

1
Text Only
Glade Sun
  • Pats big day - Jensen photo.jpg FFG Resident Services presents painting to the Pat Summitt Foundation

    A dramatic portrait of Pat Summitt, painted by Chuck Jensen, was presented to the Pat Summitt Foundation by Fairfield Glade Resident Services at its Community Information Event on memory care.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • FFG Rotary district gov1.jpg Rotary District Governor visits Glade Rotary Club

    The Fairfield Glade Rotary Club welcomed Rotary District Governor Jerry Wear from Pigeon Forge.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 'Anything Goes' to benefit Resident Services

    In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, but now heaven knows, Anything Goes.

    July 23, 2014

  • Simms work on display beginning Aug. 3

    From Aug. 3 to Aug. 29, the Cumberland Art Society (CAS) will exhibit original creations by award-winning artist John Simms, who is internationally recognized as a Master Portrait Painter. The Creating Tomorrow’s Heirlooms exhibit will feature fine art in oil, acrylics, watercolors and charcoal. Please plan to meet Simms from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 3, at the CAS Backdoor Gallery, 186 S. Walnut St. in Cookeville.

    July 23, 2014

  • Read the latest edition of "The Bulletin"

    The Crossville Chronicle-Glade Sun also publishes a newsletter called "The Bulletin" in which you'll find a schedule of Glade activities and events, a restaurant and dining guide, golf information, and even tour schedules. Click here for the latest PDF edition of "The Bulletin."

    April 21, 2010 1 Link

  • Rafael 4.jpeg.jpg 'Wild Man' debuts at Palace Aug. 23

    "He's cool!" "He's famous!" "He's awesome!" "He's an icon!" "Ladies love him!" And, "He's Wild!"
    Crossville's own Wild Man Billy Ralph, Rafael R. Soriano, known for his signature song "The Dark Stranger," is making his debut appearance at the Palace Theatre Aug. 23.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • FFG Garden scholarships1.jpg FFG Garden Club presents five students with scholarships

    The Fairfield Glade Garden Club, in conjunction with members of the 1st National Bank of Tennessee, honored three returning students and two new students with scholarships as they continue their agricultural and horticultural education in their selected fields.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Normandie 2010 014.jpg Faith Bible Fellowship welcomes missionary musicians July 27

    Longtime French radio program producers and musicians, Daniel and Francoise Dossmann have lived through many transitions throughout their lives. Thirty years ago, they traveled from France to Ecuador to serve as missionaries with HCJB Global, (now Reach Beyond). After 17 years in Quito, Ecuador, they began a new phase of ministry in the West African country of Cote d’Ivoire. At the end of 2004, a civil war erupted and a mandatory evacuation ensued.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Abacus Column: Fairfield Glade golf courses — a product of talent, desire and commitment

    On a recent Friday morning, a friend and I were playing the back nine of Dorchester Golf course. At the tee box on the unique par three 13th Hole, we met a young gentleman named Rob Krumple. Rob is a course maintenance employee reporting to Dorchester Superintendent Mike Wilson. My friend and I often comment about the excellent condition of our courses and since we had opportunity to pass a compliment on to Rob, we did.

    July 23, 2014

  • rotary0039.jpg Rotary Club presents scholarships

     

    July 23, 2014 4 Photos

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014