Thousand Cankers Disease Found In N.C.'s Great Smoky Mountains

Wood products under quarantine in Haywood County to prevent spread of the disease.

Published on: Jan 15, 2013

Thousand cankers disease has been found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, prompting the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to place Haywood County wood products under quarantine.

"This marks the first time the disease has been detected in the state, and by placing restrictions on a variety of plant material and wood products, we hope to keep the disease from spreading into other counties," says N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "Something as simple as moving firewood from an infected area to an uninfected county could increase the risk of spreading this disease."

NCDA&CS notes thousand cankers disease is a newly recognized disease that affects primarily black walnut trees. The walnut twig beetle spreads the fungus, Geosmithia morbida fungus, that causes the disease. Although this is the first time the disease has been seen in the Tarheel State, the disease has caused widespread death of black walnut trees in western states over the last ten years. Other species of walnut including Arizona walnut, English walnut and California walnut have also shown varying vulnerability to this fungus.

Thousand Cankers Disease Found In N.C.s Great Smoky Mountains
Thousand Cankers Disease Found In N.C.'s Great Smoky Mountains

Items falling under the quarantine restrictions include walnut plants and plant parts including firewood, lumber, logs, stumps, roots, branches and composted and uncomposted chips. Regulated items cannot be moved outside the county. Exceptions to the quarantine restrictions include nuts, nut meats, hulls, processed lumber with square edges that is 100% bark free and kiln-dried and finished wood products without bark, such as furniture, instruments and gun stocks.

NCDA&CS notes the department's Plant Industry Division and N.C. Forest Service personnel will continue to monitor counties across the state for the presence of the disease.

People with questions about the quarantine can contact Phil Wilson, NCDA&CS plant pest administrator, at 919-707-3730. They can also go to the website.

There are also a number of websites dedicated to the disease on the Internet. Colorado State University has a Thousand Cankers Disease/Walnut Twig Beetle page.