Norway spruce hatred--a reason for it

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Norway spruce hatred--a reason for it

Post by gnmcmartin » Sat May 21, 2016 7:37 am

NTS folks and Norway spruce lovers:

I talked to two people recently about Norway spruce, and the both said almost the same thing in the same words, so my question is, what could be the source for this?

First, not too long ago I talked to the director of the Virginia Arboretum, and offered to donate, and take care of until established, a collection of Norway spruce cultivars. The response I got was immediate, and very negative. I was told that exotic species, including Norway spruce, harbor diseases that threaten our native plants. That they would not agree to plant any Norway spruce. But there are a lot of Norway spruce already growing there, and they are not being removed.

The next time I heard this about Norway spruce was during my search for information about the status of the HWA biological control effort. I happened to mention to one person the kinds of trees I had on my timberland, including the Norway spruce plantations. He said, "why are you holding onto that Norway spruce." I said because I loved it. He then explained that I should remove it because it harbors diseases dangerous to the health of out native trees. I said that I would be willing to remove my Norway spruce if he could cite some evidence, some scientific article, that explained this risk to our native trees. He could not. I got out of this discussion as nicely as I could because he was helping me with the HWA issue, and did not have any, in his mind, bad intentions.

So, I wonder, if it is just general a bias "out there" against exotic species regardless of which specific plant or any specific issue of disease or invasive potential, or if there is some article out there that these people are reading that needs to be discredited. Does anyone know?

Joe, have you talked to anyone in MA about the systematic removal; of NS, and the reasons for it?

I wonder if I should talk to someone in a position of authority about the wonderful NS plantation near Keyser's Ridge I described here recently. None of it has been removed, but I am a bit scared if there is some erroneous idea being promulgated somewhere, that could lead to some terrible decision about these wonderful groves.

Recently, I believe in Scientific American, a piece was published that said, essentially, "whoa, not all exotic species, even many that have been classified as invasive, are bad, and that we should start embracing them."

If there is any exotic tree that should be embraced, I think we all agree, it should be Norway spruce.

Last edited by gnmcmartin on Sat May 21, 2016 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Re: Norway spruce hatred--a reason for it

Post by Joe » Sat May 21, 2016 2:04 pm

Gaines, here in Mass., the state decided to eradicate much of the Norway Spruce plantations on state land. They said it was because the trees were of low quality- which was true in some places but not all- mostly due to never having thinned them. But I know some were not so bad because I had hiked in many of these stands. I've never heard anything about the species harboring diseases. I think that's crazy. I don't even know how it's possible. I think the real reason the state people decided to do this is because the stumpage price of all spruce species shot into orbit early in the last decade during the last building boom- and, the state people wanted to get their "production" up as easily as possible. They didn't have to mark the trees- just flag out the entire plantation. And, about the same time- the big pitch was that clearcuts were awesome for wildlife.

Such dimwitted attitudes have made me very anti forestry establishment. I never believe a word they say.

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