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Elm Spanworm, A Pest of Hardwood Forests in the Southern Appalachians

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The elm spanworm (Ennomos subsignatius [Hbn.]) epidemic in the southern Appalachians has continued for nearly a decade, and large portions of North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee are still infested. Weather, parasitism, predation, and disease have exerted pressure in localized areas but have not prevented the spread of the spanworm into new localities. Spanworm larvae in the southern Appalachians begin hatching from clusters of overwintering eggs toward the end of April. The intensity of larval feeding keeps pace with developing shoots until late June when pupation starts. Shortly thereafter, the moths emerge and the eggs are usually all deposited before the end of July, thus completing the life cycle. Yearly larval defoliation of upland hardwoods during the early summer has resulted in tree mortality and stand deterioration. Hickories and the white and red oak groups have been most heavily attacked, although practically all hardwood trees, except yellow-poplar, are susceptible to some damage. Besides timber losses, the spanworm has adversely affected forest recreation, hunting, fishing, and the summer tourist business.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Southeastern Forest Expt. Sta., Forest Service, U. S. Dept. Agric., Asheville, N. C.

Publication date: 1964-02-01

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

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