No I am not referring to your in-laws or those in the car who keep asking, "Are we there yet?" Thanksgiving and Christmas are big time travel holidays.
We have much to be thankful for including freedom to travel and very valuable economic agricultural and environmental commodities here locally. What does a trip to grandmother's in northern Indiana or Michigan from Owen or Clay County have to do with unwanted travelers and local agriculture and natural resources?
For one the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Thousands of acres of woods in northern Indiana and Michigan have been cleared of ash trees during the recent year along with quarantine.
Since the EAB works the outer layers of the tree, some of the interior wood has been salvaged with certain restrictions.
Otherwise the trees have been chipped and burned. During these times of the year when many travel, it would be very easy for one to help grandma get a limb cut up that had fallen in the yard. There is no problem cutting up the limb, however when one helps grandma out by throwing wood into the back of the pickup and innocently bringing it back here locally to burn and it happens to have EAB, then we have problems.
The advancement of EAB to is believed to have occurred via firewood to the major campgrounds or for winter heating in most cases. There are now more than ten counties quarantined in Indiana.
Another problem example involves Christmas trees and a pest called the pine shoot beetle. Many Indiana counties have quarantines in place. Owen County was quarantined in 2002 and Vigo was added in 2004.
Clay County is not under quarantine despite its neighbors to the west, north, and east being quarantined. Therefore pine trees used for Christmas trees should not be transported from quarantined to non-quarantined counties.
We virtually sit on the current division line as this pest moves from north to south.
I consider one of the biggest economic threats to our area currently to be sudden oak death syndrome. Rhododendron and azalea bushes are among the numerous hosts for this fungal disease. The disease turned up last year in shipped nursery stock in northwest Indiana but was contained.
Again, it would be easy for someone to dig or move plant material from that area and innocently bring a serious plant pest back to our area.
The best thing to consider when traveling for the holidays is to leave all plant material where it originated and avoid the temptation to bring plant items back home with you or take plant items to your destination.
If you find you have accidentally or unknowingly received such materials, it would be best to burn them.
To read about plant and insect pests that are of consequence to our area, check out the Purdue Plant Diagnostic Center website at
www.ppdl.purdue.edu/ppdl/current_interes... for more information. Also the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Entomology and Plant Pathology has a good resource site at www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/pestinfo/pinebtl.... National Pest Alert information sheets are available regarding some of these issues in the Extension Office.
You can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 829-5020 x14 in Owen County or 448-9041 in Clay County for more information or publication copies regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. Please call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While most publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time.
Nov. 20 Addressing Forage Shortages, Spencer or Brazil, 7 p.m.
Nov. 22-23 Extension Offices Closed Thanksgiving Holiday
Nov. 29 Vegetable Variety Trial Showcase, Spencer, 6:45 p.m.
Dec. 6 Private Applicator Recertification Program, Brazil
Dec. 6-8 Indiana Farm Bureau State Convention, Indy
Dec. 11 Private Applicator Recertification Program, Stinesville
Jan. 28-30 Indiana Hort Congress, Indianapolis
Feb. 13-16 National Farm Machinery Show, Louisville, Ky.