Disease in Beetles Could Cost Missouri Millions

5 years 7 hours 14 minutes ago Wednesday, October 16 2013 Oct 16, 2013 Wednesday, October 16, 2013 6:06:00 PM CDT October 16, 2013 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 - The Columbia Police Department investigated a shots heard call on Tuesday evening. The incident happened at the... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 10:03:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Neighborhood Watch recently secured funding for next year. The Columbia City Council awarded them this money... More >>
10 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 8:17:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Burrell Behavioral Health introduced a medicine-first approach to its facilities in Missouri’s central region to help clients with... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 6:40:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia woman will be collecting items to transport down to Florida in order to help the recovery... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 6:40:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Despite a wide gap in their campaign finances, Sen. Claire McCaskill and Josh Hawley remain locked in a... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 6:20:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri vehicle owners will be getting new red, white and blue license plates to commemorate the... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 5:48:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A New York man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two counts of attempting to produce child pornography.... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 4:21:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Jerome Sally, a Hickman High School assistant principal, is suing Columbia Public Schools as a result of "systemic... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 3:23:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe made a stop in Columbia Tuesday to campaign for Proposition D, the gas tax... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 1:28:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Royal Inn manager said Tuesday the maintenance team was beginning renovations when the building's second-floor walkway came... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 1:25:00 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A federal judge sent the lawsuit over Kenneth Suttner's death back to circuit court on Friday after... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 1:01:17 PM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The problem of unsolicited robocalls has gotten so bad that... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 11:19:50 AM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Kansas woman connected to a deadly car crash in Boone County has been sentenced to five years... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 10:27:00 AM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Boonville man will spend the next decade in prison after pleading guilty to a deadly 2017 shooting.... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 10:13:00 AM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
CALIFORNIA - A former employee in the Russellville and California school districts pleaded guilty Friday to having sexual contact with... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 8:43:00 AM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Water levels on the Mississippi River are dropping north of St. Louis after high waters forced... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 8:38:00 AM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A man will spend the next nine years in prison after pleading guilty to a deadly November 2017... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 8:37:36 AM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri State Treasurer’s Office put out a warning monday about a tax scam attempt. According... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, October 16 2018 Oct 16, 2018 Tuesday, October 16, 2018 8:12:00 AM CDT October 16, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 42°
7am 37°
8am 39°
9am 44°
10am 47°