Disease in Beetles Could Cost Missouri Millions

2 years 7 months 1 week ago October 16, 2013 Oct 16, 2013 Wednesday, October 16 2013 Wednesday, October 16, 2013 6:06:00 PM CDT in Coverage From Callaway
By: Ashley Arp, KOMU 8 Reporter

CALLAWAY COUNTY - When Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) reaches Missouri, it could cost the state more than 850 million dollars and more than 700 jobs, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation. But that could take at least two decades.

People have identified TCD in walnut trees in nine Western states and it recently spread to Tennessee, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio.

Harlan Palm grew up on a farm in Minnesota and purchased land in Callaway County about forty years ago. He said he bought land specifically to raise walnut trees because the United States Forest Service saw potential in the walnut industry.

He said the Forest Service believed the number of young walnut trees was not enough to meet expected global demand for valuable walnut logs. He said if all the trees on his land reach maturity and are not affected by TCD, the next generation in his family could expect about half a million dollars. "And I'm a small land owner," he said.

Palm said nearly all Missouri farms grow black walnut timber. Palm said it's inevitable for TCD to eventually come to Missouri, if it's not already here. That's unfortunate, said Palm, because Missouri has twice the number of black walnut trees than any other state, at 42 million. Missouri also leads the world in production of nutmeats from the Black Walnuts.

So the potential devastating effect of TCD on black walnut trees could be similar to the chaos that Mad Cow Disease or Hoof and Mouth Disease brought to the cattle industry.

Palm said walnut nut producers, nut harvesters, and loggers and millers are just some of those who will be affected because the beetle only feeds on black walnut trees. He said about every city and urban residential community in Missouri have black walnut trees growing along streets and backyards.

The trees will eventually die from TCD, similar to American Chestnut trees that died from blight a generation ago.

Simeon Wright, a Missouri Department of Conservation Forest Pathologist, said TCD is a disease Walnut Twig Beetles carry. He said the disease could kill a tree within seven years after its initial infection.

He said when the beetle bites into thin bark in small branch, it introduces spores that grow into the fungal organism that causes cankers. Cankers constrict nutrients to twigs and leaves. The leaflets turn brown and die when they are too deprived of sap flow or nutrients. The disease appears first in the upper crown of a tree.

The disease is hard to recognize because many Missouri trees are now suffering similar looking damage from drought. He said if several trees in one area show similar symptoms, people should contact a forester to sample the branches. Infected trees could have discolored wood, wilted, brown leaves, and tiny insect tunnels. Another indication of problems is when sprouts begin growing from the trunk.

The beetle, about one-sixteenth of an inch long, spreads a disease-causing fungus, Geosmithia. Fungal infections kill the branches and trunk tissue as beetles carry the fungus into new bark tissue.

Officials have not found a cure for the disease, but Wright said identifying and removing infected trees can help manage it. He advised people not to move walnut wood from states with infected trees because transporting materials around the country significantly speeds the spread of the disease.

He also suggested home and landowners be on the lookout for potentially infected trees. Tree removal services charge about 50 to 100 percent more after trees die because workers face more dangers climbing and cutting down dead trees, according to Palm.

He said he and other Forest Pathologists conduct surveys each year to see if it has reached Missouri, but it's hard to know for sure.

It could take about seven years to identify the disease because most trees don't show enough damage early on.

Palm expects St. Louis and Kansas City walnut trees to become infected first because densely populated areas have the most wood workers per square mile. He said they purchase walnut slabs with "natural edge" with fresh bark attached which could be infected if it was growing in a diseased area.

Palm spoke to the Missouri House Representatives of Agriculture Policies Committee in April. He said the committee had not heard of the disease. He told the committee more funding is needed to help prevent the disease from spreading, but committee members said it's tough to set aside money because of current budget constraints.

Wright said the disease does not affect the walnut itself and it's still safe to eat and safe to process.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Dryer’s Shoe Store is one of Columbia's oldest downtown retailers, and it is currently running a shoe drive... More >>
6 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 10:13:00 PM CDT in News
GLASGOW- The Missouri River was more than six feet above flood stage levels in Glasgow Monday afternoon. The entire... More >>
9 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 7:37:00 PM CDT in News
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - The Missouri State Highway Patrol tested new extended Water Patrol shifts this Memorial Day weekend.... More >>
10 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 7:01:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis' police chief is calling the city's judges too lenient with defendants in alleged gun... More >>
11 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 5:25:00 PM CDT in News
ZALMA (AP) — A southe astern Missouri man is charged with assault after authorities say he tried to set his... More >>
12 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 4:29:29 PM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Authorities in southwester n Missouri's Gree ne County say a jailer is recovering after being seriously injured... More >>
12 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 4:24:53 PM CDT in News
LONE ELM - Some people barbecue or head down to the lake to celebrate Memorial Day, but one community celebrates... More >>
13 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 3:59:00 PM CDT in News
BOONE COUNTY - Mid-missourians honored their fallen service members at memorial services across Boone County on Monday afternoon. Boone... More >>
14 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 2:53:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A 21-gun salute and triple bell service honored veterans Monday at the Jefferson City National Cemetery. ... More >>
14 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 2:43:00 PM CDT in News
TIPTON - Members of the community in Tipton are mourning the loss of a 19-year-old Robert Ashbaugh who was shot... More >>
14 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 2:32:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The 28th annual Salute to Veterans Memorial Day Parade has some remembering what this day means to them.... More >>
14 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 2:15:00 PM CDT in News
TIPTON (AP) — Missouri state authorities say they are investigating a weekend shooting death involving a 19-year-old man in central... More >>
14 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 2:14:38 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - KOMU 8 News viewer Sheila Baker said her family was awed at the Salute to Veterans Celebration and... More >>
15 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 1:19:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Regulations aimed at helping companies such as Uber and Lyft expand in Missouri died in the... More >>
16 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 12:41:00 PM CDT in News
HAVANA - Cuba formally accepted a 20-ton shipment of rice processed in southeast Missouri Monday. Gov. Jay Nixon announced the... More >>
16 hours ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 12:21:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - As an event promoter for Off Track Events, Colin LaVaute has planned plenty of races in his work... More >>
1 day ago May 30, 2016 May 30, 2016 Monday, May 30 2016 Monday, May 30, 2016 3:01:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Over 600 people in south Columbia experienced power outages around 10 p.m. according to Columbia Water and Light.... More >>
1 day ago May 29, 2016 May 29, 2016 Sunday, May 29 2016 Sunday, May 29, 2016 11:44:00 PM CDT in News
BOONE COUNTY - Flooding along the banks of the Missouri River caused a change of plans for some Mid-Missouri residents... More >>
1 day ago May 29, 2016 May 29, 2016 Sunday, May 29 2016 Sunday, May 29, 2016 6:02:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 64°
5am 64°
6am 65°
7am 66°
8am 69°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

4:30a
KOMU 8 News Today
5:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
4:30a
Paid Program
5:00a
Paid Program
5:30a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
America's Got Talent
9:00p
Maya & Marty
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
Containment
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld