No, I am not referring to your in-laws or family 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 agricultural and natural resources contributing to the local economy.
What does a trip over the river and through the woods to grandmother's 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. Quarantines exist now as close as Brown County.
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 a couple years ago 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/index.htm while 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 Ext. 14 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. It is always best to 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. 18 Purdue Extension-Owen County Annual Meeting, Fairgrounds, 6:30
Nov. 20 Horticulture Sustainability Tour, West Lafayette
Nov. 27-28 Thanksgiving Holiday-Extension Offices Closed
Dec. 2 Bi-state Crops Program w/ PARP & CCH credits, Beef House, 8:30 a.m.
Dec. 5-6 Indiana Farm Bureau State Convention, Evansville
Dec. 10-11 Midwest Invasive Plant Network Annual Meeting, Indianapolis
Dec. 11 Farm Income Tax Program, Brazil, 7 p.m.
Dec. 16-17 Certified Crop Advisor Conference, Indianapolis
Dec. 17 Rural Energy Workshop, Indianapolis, 1 p.m.
Jan. 13 Forestry Class-8 week evenings, Martinsville
Jan. 19-21 Hort Congress, Indianapolis
Jan. 21-22 Midwest Organic Conference, Indianapolis
Jan. 26 Clay Extension Advisory Council Annual Meeting, 6:30 p.m.