The end of summer is a good time to make sure your trees are healthy, strong and pest free. Tennessee has its share of tree diseases and infestations that are threatening our forests. These include the pine beetle, emerald ash borer (all ash trees), wooly adelgid (hemlocks), Asian longhorn beetle (ALB), and the Sirex woodwasp. Our black walnut trees are succumbing to the “thousand cankers disease” (called TCD). TCD is a fungus spread by the walnut twig beetle.

There are two proactive things you can do: Inspect your own trees for diseases and do not move firewood.

Get more information at www.dontmove firdwood.org and also at U.S. Forest Service website at www.na.fs.fed.us. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has a website and phone number — www.protecttnforests.org and 800-628-2631.

One of the biggest tree threats in the Eastern United States is the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), an invasive pest that attacks more than a dozen types of trees. ALBs’ preferred host tree is maple, so check those first. Look for round exit holes, chew marks in bark, wood dust, dead branches and tunneling in cut wood or fallen branches. Also look for adult beetles. The beetle is about 1 inch to 1½ inches long, with six legs and a shiny, jet-black body with white spots and two long black-and-white antennae.

Early detection is the key. One person can make a big difference.

In 2010 in Boston, a groundskeeper noticed an exit hole in a maple tree. Fortunately, only six trees were infested with ALB. Thanks to that one person’s report, Boston is now ALB free.

If you see something suspicious, report your findings by calling 1-866-702-9938, or report online at www.Asian LonghornedBeetle.com or the above Tennessee website.

Waterfowlers, do not forget to get your 2018-19 federal Duck Stamp. Hunters 16 and older of ducks, geese and cranes are required to purchase the federal stamp in addition to their hunting license. It can be bought at many license agencies, most U.S. Post Offices, by phone at 800-STAMP-24, and online at www.duckstamp.com. Find all buying options at www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/buy-duck-stamp.php.

More than a million waterfowlers and conservationists traditionally purchase one or more of the colorful stamps to invest in waterfowl conservation and wetlands to support many other species of wildlife. One-third of America’s threatened species make their homes in wetlands.

Every year the program raises more than $38 million used to purchase wetlands in the National Wildlife Refuge system. Since its inception in 1934, the Duck Stamp, officially the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, has raised more than $1 billion to acquire and protect more than 6 million acres of habitat in the NWR.

Time is running out for new hunters to get a hunter education certificate, which applies to anyone born after 1968. You must go online to sign up for a hunter education class.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency lists the upcoming classes on its website, which you can see by going to www.tnwildlife.org and selecting Hunter Education Classes. Students must be at least 9 years old to earn a certificate; they should bring a pencil and their Social Security number (mandatory). Do not bring a gun.

There are three upcoming classes for this area: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, Oct. 8, 9, 11 and 12, for Knoxville’s John Sevier Hunter Education Center; Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Lanier Elementary School in Maryville; and Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Bass Pro Shops in Kodak.

Other classes could be added at any time, so check often. For those without computer access, visit a local library or call a TWRA regional office for further assistance.

Region IV’s phone number is 800-332-0900.

Are you having trouble scheduling the time for a hunter education class? For many years there has been an online alternative with an online written exam and a required field day for live shooting. But, now there is an exemption to the field day for those 21 years or older. The following steps are required:

Complete the online class (for age 21) at www.Hunter-Ed.com. This course costs $24.50 and it is interactive, narrated and offers daily (including weekend) live customer service via email or telephone. Complete the form provided for the exemption and mail, fax or email it with required documentation and payment to the address listed on the form. To request a form, contact the Hunter Education Coordinator at 615-781-6538. Your certificate will arrive in three to five business days after submission.

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Tom Wiest is a long time columnist on all matters outdoors. He welcomes news, questions and comments from readers.

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