Hemlock Help Program
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Hemlocks all over north Georgia are being attacked and killed by the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), and the beauty and value of your property are being threatened. As shown on the newest map provided by the Georgia Forestry Commission, infestations have been officially confirmed in 19 counties -- Rabun, Habersham, Stephens, Banks, Towns, White, Hall, Union, Lumpkin, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Dawson, Murray, Whitfield, Cherokee, Gordon, Walker, and Dade -- reaching as far west as Cloudland Canyon. HWA reports have also been received from other counties where hemlocks have been planted in landscapes. Click the map for a larger image.
If aggressive action is not taken soon to address this problem, the results could be devastating and perhaps irreversible.
loss of certain shade-loving native
loss of certain animal species that
loss of the cool stream temperatures
■ decline in the scenic enjoyment of our mountains
closure of trails and recreation areas
due to the
■ increase in soil erosion
■ degradation of water and air quality
decline in revenue from outdoor
■ increased exposure to drought and fire risk
■ decline in the beauty and value of your property
■ expense to remove dangerous dead trees
SAVE GEORGIA'S HEMLOCKS offers the Hemlock Help Program, a statewide initiative of education and charitable service to help north Georgians save as many hemlocks as possible. It was implemented first in Rabun County where the HWA infestation began and is now available in Habersham, White, Towns, Union, Lumpkin, Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens Murray, and Whitfield Counties as well.
The program is being deployed across the state on a county-by-county basis wherever the HWA is a serious threat. During 2013, we plan to add 7 more counties to our Hemlock Help Program: Stephens, Banks, and Hall in the east and Cherokee, Gordon, Walker, and Dade in the west.
Save Georgia's Hemlocks offers a wide range of educational and service programs such as those listed here, and we schedule programs and activities year-round.
SGH Hemlock Help Clinics and presentations are free and open to the public unless specifically noted in the schedule. A typical Hemlock Help Clinic lasts 1 to 1.5 hours (but can be adjusted) and includes:
■ Slide presentation on the HWA crisis, economical steps property owners can take to treat their own trees, information on qualified local professionals who do this work, and the free services available through our Hemlock Help Program
■ Hands-on demonstration of using a soil injector to treat hemlocks
■ Educational hand-out materials that you are welcome to reproduce and share freely
■ Optional add-ons for school groups: planting of hemlock seedlings in biodegradable cups for students to take home, planting of a hemlock sapling on campus, or an educational hemlock hike.
■ Plenty of time for questions and answers
We'll be glad to schedule special programs for property owner associations, conservation/recreation organizations, schools, churches, and other community groups. Please call the Hemlock Help Line 706-429-8010 to let us know of your interest and needs.
■ Education: Free public clinics, educational materials, and publicity materials to raise awareness of the HWA problem and solutions. Volunteer Facilitator training is provided for individuals who want to learn more about the hemlock problem and solutions and then be available to help others in their community. Please visit the Volunteer Facilitators page for the Volunteer Facilitator Job Description.
■ Advice: Hemlock Help Line 706-429-8010 to provide accurate, up-to-date answers to your questions about the hemlock woolly adelgid crisis, treatment materials and methods, instructions for do-it-yourself options, sources for treatment products and application equipment, references for professional service providers, and concerns about product safety and effectiveness. Also scheduling of on-site consultations with Volunteer Facilitators upon request.
■ DIY Support: Placement of soil injectors for borrowing (most of which are provided by the Georgia Forestry Commission), information on purchasing treatment products, and treatment instructions for property owners who want to do the work themselves. In most cases, soil injectors may be borrowed from the Forestry Commission Office or County Extension Service in each county.
■ Professionals: Contact information for qualified local companies that are properly licensed and insured and specialize in saving hemlocks for property owners who prefer to contract with a professional to treat their trees.
■ Hemlock Help Project Planning: Assistance to neighborhoods and community groups for developing customized project management plans to address the HWA problem efficiently, effectively, and economically. Please see Neighborhood Hemlock Help Planning Guide.
■ New Trees: Healthy hemlock saplings for landscape planting or reforestation, available through the Hemlock Help Line 706-429-8010.
■ Volunteer Hemlock Help Projects: Through special agreements with the U. S. Forest Service and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, SGH-trained volunteers are able to treat hemlocks on designated public lands. Also as time, funds, and volunteers are available, we will assist property owners on a charitable basis to treat their trees where there is a need. Requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and all information is kept confidential. Please call the Hemlock Help Line 706-429-8010 if you would like to request help or if you would like to offer help.
How the Program Works
1. Inspect your hemlocks and see if they're infested with woolly adelgids. The adelgids themselves are almost too tiny to see with the naked eye, but their egg sacs are easily visible, especially in the spring and late fall/winter. They look like little white cotton balls on the underside of the branches, as shown in this photo.
2. If you see ANY adelgids on even one of your trees or if adelgids are within 25 miles of your property, plan to treat ALL the hemlocks you want to save as soon as possible. Call the Hemlock Help Line 706-429-8010 to learn about the treatment options, services available, costs, and resources.
3. If you want to treat your own trees, the Hemlock Help Line can provide information on assessing the level of HWA infestation, determining the appropriate treatment product and method, measuring your trees, estimating the amount of chemical needed, and finding where to purchase it. Then download Introduction to Treating Hemlocks and the appropriate one-page application instruction from the Resources page.
a. Measure the trunk diameter at breast height for all the trees you want to treat and add up for a total.
b. Based on the chart in Introduction to Treating Hemlocks, you can estimate the amount of product needed. The Contacts page lists the names of some stores where you can purchase it. We suggest that you shop and compare prices.
c. When you have the treatment product in hand, you can either make arrangements to borrow an injector from one of the sources listed on the Contacts page or choose another application method.
NOTE: When you borrow an injector, you'll be asked to leave a deposit which will be refunded when you return the injector. You should also request some brief hands-on training from the lending entity or call the Hemlock Help Line for instruction.
d. Treat your hemlocks according to the application instructions.
e. If you borrow an injector, clean it thoroughly as indicated in Introduction to Treating Hemlocks and return it.
4. If you want to contract with a professional to treat your trees, the Hemlock Help Line can point you to a list of qualified local companies along with their contact information. We suggest that you shop and compare the services and rates offered by each company. (See Contacts page.)
5. You can also call the Hemlock Help Line 706-429-8010 to request an on-site visit from a Volunteer Facilitator to help you assess the infestation on your property, discuss appropriate treatment options, and assist you to get started taking care of your hemlocks.
The Hemlock Help Program is designed to operate as a no-cost or low-cost charitable community service. Here are the general cost guidelines for services included in the Hemlock Help Program.
For property owners who choose to treat their own trees or to contract with a professional to do the treatment, here is information that will help in estimating the cost.
More Information about the Hemlock Help Program
■ Call the Hemlock Help Line 706-429-8010.
■ Press Release (July 1, 2009) -- Announcement of the initial program launch in The Clayton Tribune and The Rabun Town Crier.
■ Program Description (updated 3/2/13) -- Planning document including problem statement, program goal and objectives, guiding principles, scope, program services, and financial management plan.
■ SAVE GEORGIA'S HEMLOCKS (updated 2/20/13) -- PowerPoint presentation that defines the problem with the hemlock woolly adelgid, explains options for property owners to save their hemlocks at the lowest possible cost, provides an overview of conservation efforts on public lands, and introduces the free services available through the Hemlock Help Program for all of north Georgia. Click here to see the Notes Pages.
■ Visit the Resources page for printed Save Georgia's Hemlocks materials, related articles and publications, and a list of helpful web sites.
© Save Georgia's Hemlocks
2009. Last updated