Black walnut leafs and nuts, shown here.

Thousand cankers disease discovered in NC for first time

Press release from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, shared Jan. 3:

RALEIGH–The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has placed Haywood County wood products under quarantine due to a recent detection of thousand cankers disease in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“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,” said 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.”

Thousand cankers disease is a newly recognized disease primarily affecting black walnut trees. It is caused by the Geosmithia morbida fungus, which is spread by the walnut twig beetle. Thousand cankers disease has produced widespread death of black walnuts in many western states during the past decade. Other species of walnut, such as Arizona walnut, English walnut and California walnut, have also shown varying degrees of susceptibility to this fungus.

The following items fall under the quarantine restrictions: 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 percent bark free and kiln-dried, and finished wood products without bark, such as furniture, instruments and gun stocks.

NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division and N.C. Forest Service personnel will continue to monitor counties across North Carolina for the presence of this disease.

Anyone with questions about this quarantine should contact Phil Wilson, NCDA&CS plant pest administrator, at 919-707-3730, or go to the website

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Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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