Listen: A Christmas Tree Thrives On Farms, Struggles In The Wild
"In North Carolina Christmas trees are a nearly ninety million dollar industry. Most of the trees are Fraser. Firs they have soft needles which don't shed as much as other evergreens and they have limbs that are strong enough for ornaments but it turns out that Fraser firs are having a harder time in the wild Irena genre of takes us to the North Carolina high country on Joey. CLAWSON's Christmas tree farm outside Boone. North Carolina four workers first chainsaws and hands pick their way through meet. Rosa Frazier firs. Takes just a few seconds to saw down a tree. Clawson says workers have spent nearly nearly a decade fertilizing each tree by hand shaping them one by one with giant machetes. An looking for pests. It's four five months that I'm Out here weekly with a magnifying glass. Checking launches a trees in every field if clawson spots outbreak. He'll sprayed with insecticide all in the name of a perfect Christmas tree. Because it's all about creating family memories about four million Frazier fers from North Carolina. Will Grace People's homes. Was this Christmas. But in the wild a bug called the Balsam Willia- Daljit has been killing trees growers close and can control the pests on their farms terms but the bug has been spreading for decades in the forest biologist. Howard Newfield says the bug arrived during reforestation efforts of logged areas in the the early nineteen hundreds the imported trees from Europe and one of them was silver for the silver for had this Adele Jit on it and no one saw it slowly the tiny hiney adults? It began to attack need of furs. It injects a toxin into the trees that triggers abnormal growth and makes the trees unable to take water water which eventually kills them by the seventies and eighties. die-offs spread rapidly. It's had a devastating effect here. In some forests. The dull geons killed killed more than ninety percent of the trees on Roan Mountain in Tennessee. Scott Corey PhD student. Studying Frazier firs walks up. A road littered with Coyote scat then climbs into the forest points to trees killed by the Belgian their Barclays and Sun bleached. Actually bears won a dead one. There is there's a dead one but on this mountain section. It's just a patch. All around us. Healthy I still stand. Classic Spruce Fir Forest Dense dense number of stems in here super dark and the under story story. Everything's Mosse. Is there a difference between these trees that were looking at and the trees on the farms so genetically genetically that the same but as far as what they do you know their ecosystem. Totally different frazier. I hear clean. The air and water store store carbon from that misfire and provide habitat for animals. Some flora and fauna like a tiny endangered tarantula called a spruce fir moss spider. Live only here during the last glaciation about ten thousand years ago. Corey says this area was a lot colder and the firs lived all up and down on the mountains but that's it warmed up. The trees had to move further and further to the top of the mountain. Today the first live on just seven mountain peaks in the southern Appalachians and Roan Mountain is one of them. Corey has been studying. What makes the trees survive or not due to environmental conditions he points to some saplings under under the dead trees possible signs of recovery? He hopes people will be able to see frazier. I on the mountain. Not just in their homes for years to come"