An annual report on the health of Vermont forests identifies some trouble spots but says overall, it was a good year for trees.
Because Vermont is 78 percent forested, the health of the state’s hardwood and softwood species is important.
“In general, hardwood health; that’s the maples, birches, oak trees have had a lack of insect problems in the past year, and they’ve had plenty of rainfall so they’ve had the opportunity to grow very well,” says Barbara Schultz, forest health program manager with the Department of Forests Parks and Recreation.
There are always threats from pests and blights with names like Maple Trumpet Skeletonizer, Locust Leaf Minder and the beech-munching Boogie Woogie Aphid (so named because it moves from side to side when disturbed).
But the greatest concerns are softwood pests.
Foremost among them are the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, which is attacking trees in Vermont’s two southernmost counties, and the Emerald Ash Borer.
Despite a high mortality rate due to cold temperatures last winter, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid has bounced back.
The report says that Emerald Ash Borer continues to move closer to Vermont, but no trace has yet been found in the hundreds of purple traps deployed to detect it.
There are restrictions in place prohibiting the transportation of firewood from out of state to slow the movement of ash borers.