Many of the beautiful evergreens that grow on and near the banks of Georgia’s rivers are Eastern and Carolina Hemlocks.  For several years they have all, without known exception, been infected by the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.  The adelgid kills the Hemlocks by eating the new needles each spring.  They tend to start with the lower branches.  Thus, it can take several years before the tree is dead or sick beyond recovery.

Though a lot of science is being done to find a more natural way to fight this infection, the only currently known way to save these trees is to poison the Adelgid.   If the Adelgid is not poisoned, the tree will die and fall in the river – 100% guaranteed.

Fortunately, a proven, very safe and environmentally friendly program has been developed to save the Hemlocks.  The challenge is that each tree must be treated one tree at a time and retreated periodically (3 – 5 years.)  The treatment is to apply the poison to the Hemlock’s roots, preferably in the spring.  The chemical is then transported to the twigs and needles where the Adelgids are feeding by the tree’s circulation system.  This kills the Adelgids before they can kill the Hemlock.

The leadership in treating Georgia’s Hemlocks has been provided and is still being provided by an organization known as “Save Georgia’s Hemlocks.”  (Google them for further information on who they are and what the do.)  GCA has been asked by Save Georgia’s Hemlocks to partner with them to treat trees on river banks which are difficult to treat by land.  We (paddlers, the Hemlocks and the environment) need as many paddlers as possible to join is this effort.

The program is that there will be a Sunday afternoon of instruction in late January or early February for those who are willing to step up and be group leaders.  In March, we will have one or more Saturday paddles on the Cartecay below Blackberry where we will treat preselected trees.  The basic method of treatment will be to dig a small hole in the ground near the tree’s roots and insert a “pill.”  You will learn the details of how to do this most effectively at the Winter instruction.  The trained group leaders will then be responsible for training and supervising their groups with assistance from Save Georgia’s Hemlocks.  We will then head down the river and apply what we have learned to save the Hemlocks.

If you will volunteer to be a group leader, please advise Dan MacIntyre (GCA River Protection Chair) directly by email at Include your name, email address and cell phone number.  Do not contact by Facebook or any method other than direct email contact.  Please put “Save the Hemlocks project” in the subject/reference line.