Drought, Pests and Disease Pose Threats to Del. Forests - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Drought, Pests and Disease Pose Threats to Del. Forests

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SMYRNA, Del. (WBOC) - Drought, pests and disease all pose serious threats to Delaware's forests, according to a recent report from the state's Forest Service.

The state says forests cover a third of Delaware.

Ashley Peebles, with the Delaware Forest Service, says some of what they monitor for has been found in states around Delaware but not yet in Delaware itself.

"That makes us very happy. But we also want to make sure we stay diligent on the monitoring of some of these really bad pests."

She says those include emerald ash borer, the sirex woodwasp and disease like bacterial leaf scorch.

The Forest Service also keeps a close eye on Delaware's drought situation, which hasn't been great for trees recently.

"It might not have been one year of drought that hurt the trees, but six or seven years of continuous drought definitely puts a strain on the trees," Peebles said. "I know this is a very different spring. We've had a lot of rainfall. However, it is the stacked up years of drought that we will probably start to see effects of. Just like one year of drought didn't cause the problem, one year of substantial rainfall won't be enough to combat some of the things we might see."

The strain allows to diseases and bugs to have a more pronounced impact on the trees.

Peebles says staff also monitors the state's white-tail deer population. Their feeding habits can have a huge impact on a forest's ability to regenerate.

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