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Governor proclaims thousand cankers disease a threat to Illinois' walnut trees

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[February 13, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Pat Quinn has proclaimed thousand cankers disease, or TCD, to be a viable threat to Illinois' native black walnut tree population. As a preventive measure to protect the economic and environmental well-being of Illinois' walnut tree industry, Quinn approved regulatory measures this month to restrict the movement of potentially infested products into Illinois.

"Illinois has 2.3 million acres of forests that may contain black walnut and be susceptible to this disease," said H.W. Devlin, acting director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. "Though TCD currently is not known to be here, these measures were warranted to protect our state's walnut resources."

Thousand cankers disease is a highly contagious, invasive fungus primarily affecting North America's black walnut tree population. It is spread by the walnut twig beetle, or WTB, which introduces fungal spores into the tree when forming galleries in the phloem. The fungus colonizes the area around the galleries, forming cankers that cause a disruption of the flow of nutrients throughout the tree, resulting in dieback, decline and eventually, death of the tree.

Because there are no current management strategies for TCD, the regulation of product movement is necessary to protect Illinois' walnut trees and walnut tree industry.

Individuals and businesses wishing to move regulated materials into or through Illinois that originate in an area infested with thousand cankers disease now must enter into a compliance agreement with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The materials must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate from the originating state, verifying they comply with the conditions of the compliance agreement. All regulated materials originating in areas not known to be infested with thousand cankers disease now must be accompanied by proof of the harvest location of the wood by county and state.

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"Regulated articles" are defined as the following:

  1. All plants, plant parts and products of the genus Juglans; articles of Juglans, including but not limited to logs, green lumber, firewood, nursery stock, bark, mulch, burls, stumps and packing materials.

  2. Any of the above said materials passing through a known infested state, regardless of origin.

  3. All life stages of the walnut twig beetle (Pityophthorus juglandis).

  4. All life stages of the Geosmithia fungus (Geosmithia morbida).

  5. Any article, product or means of conveyance when it is determined by the Illinois Department of Agriculture to present a risk of spread of the walnut twig beetle or the Geosmithia fungus. Exceptions are nuts, nutmeat and hulls, processed lumber (100 percent bark-free and kiln-dried, with squared edges), and finished wood products without bark, including but not limited to walnut furniture, musical instruments and gunstocks.

For more information regarding TCD, visit the Illinois Department of Agriculture's website at and click on the "Thousand Cankers" link (PDF) on the right on the home page.

[Text from Illinois Department of Agriculture file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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