Virginia Expands Agriculture Quarantine in Richmond Area
Today the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced the expansion of the current Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) temporary quarantine, effective October 14, 2011.Â In addition to Chesterfield and Henrico counties and the City of Richmond, which were previously quarantined by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Matt Lohr, the quarantine area now also includes the counties of Goochland, Hanover and Powhatan and the City of Colonial Heights.
TCD is a disease complex that attacks walnut trees, Juglans spp. The fungus Geosmithia morbida is vectored by the walnut twig beetle, Pityophthorus juglandis, causing small cankers under the bark of the tree. The beetle introduces the fungus while it tunnels beneath the bark. As more beetles attack the tree, the number of cankers increases until they coalesce to girdle twigs and branches, restricting movement of nutrients and eventually killing the tree. Neither the beetle nor the fungus is native to the eastern U.S.Â Thinning or dead branches will initially occur at the top of the tree, which will die from the top down. Trees may be infested for many years before showing symptoms. There is currently no preventive or curative treatment for the disease.
Following the detection of TCD in the counties of Chesterfield and Henrico in July of this year, Commissioner Lohr established a temporary quarantine that included those two counties and the City of Richmond.Â The quarantine, which became effective on July 21, 2011, is intended to prevent the artificial spread of the disease. Under the terms of the quarantine, all walnut plants and plant parts of walnut, including green lumber, logs, stumps, firewood, roots, branches, mulch and chips, are prohibited from being moved out of the quarantine area. Once established, TCD has the potential to spread to uninfested areas, either through natural means or through the artificial movement of infested articles.
During subsequent surveys conducted by VDACS staff, additional sites infected with TCD were found in areas outside the initial quarantine.Â Consequently, Commissioner Lohr expanded the quarantine area to also include the counties of Goochland, Hanover and Powhatan, as well as the City of Colonial Heights.Â The expanded quarantine is also temporary and will last no more than 90 days.Â Following a public hearing during the upcoming meeting of the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Board) on December 8, 2011, in Richmond, Commissioner Lohr intends to ask that the Board adopt this as a permanent quarantine.
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