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Md. Treats Virgin Hemlocks Against Invasive Pest

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(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

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OAKLAND, Md. (AP) — Scientists with the Maryland Department of Agriculture are working to protect a treasured grove of ancient trees from a sap-sucking insect.

They’re set to begin treating the virgin hemlocks at Swallow Falls State Park on Wednesday against the hemlock woolly adelgiday.

Officials say some of the trees are more than 360 years old and 120 feet tall. They cover 48 acres of the park in far western Maryland.

Forest pest manager Robert Tatman says the trees will be injected with an insecticide. He’s also hopeful that a predatory beetle will become established in the area.

Similar measures have been used since in the mid-1990s at other hemlock sites across northern Maryland.

The Asian pest has been reported in more than 20 states east of the Mississippi since 1951.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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