Volunteers wanted to treat hemlocks at Asitu'lɨsk

Join us in protecting the ancient Hemlock grove at Asitu'lɨsk (previously known as Windhorse Farm)

TREE MARKING WEEK : August 28 - September 1

  • Lunch provided
  • Accommodations available
  • Dress comfortably in woods clothes 

Sign up : https://www.asitulsk.ca/volunteer-signup-hwa-tree-marking-august-28-sept-1

TREATMENT WEEK : September 11-17

Choose your preferred role: 

  • Flaggers : Identify Hemlock trees, flag them, and measure for dosage.
  • Volunteer Team Members : Drill for treatment, place cartridges, and collect them.
  • Volunteer at Base (Lodge) : Help with logistics, water hauling, and lunch preparations.

Sign up : https://www.asitulsk.ca/volunteer-signup-hwa-treatment-sep-11-17

Wildfires -- tree lovers worst nightmare

Tantallon Area - June 2023 (c)shaunlowe

The last couple of weeks have been tough for tree lovers in Nova Scotia.  Images of the wildfires and all the related carnage have been very disturbing.  

This post tries to put it into some perspective with a few suggestions for the future.  

Perhaps you have some constructive ideas?  Please add to the COMMENTS to either Facebook or Instagram .

What's the big deal about wildfires this year?  

In a word ... SIZE.

From 2012 to 2021, the average amount of land burned by wildfires for all of Nova Scotia each year was about 4.5 square kilometers (ie: about the size of two Bayer's Lake Business Parks)

So far this year, wildfires have burned over 252 square kilometers, the equivalent of over 110 Bayer's Lake Business Parks.

The impact on humans and all living things has been enormous and will take a long time to tally.

Why were the wildfires so large this year?

There are at least three reasons:

1- MOISTURE : normally Nova Scotia is a pretty wet place.  Not this year.  There was very little snow pack and little rain in April and May.

2- TEMPERATURE/WIND : April and May were quite windy but on the cool side ... until the end of the May when temperatures shot up into the 30Cs accompanied by very strong winds for several days.

3- HUMANS : we Nova Scotians love our fires.  And just about all wildfires in Nova Scotia are started by humans

The wildfire trend is not our friend.

In 2022, Nova Scotia wildfires burned almost 8 times more than the previous 10 year average.

In 2023 (so far), wildfires have burned almost 8 times more than last year.


Are the last two years an anomaly, or is this the new "normal"?

So what can we do moving forward?  

We can't do anything to change the weather, but we can be more proactive about wildfire conditions.  A couple of things come to mind:

  • tighter limits on burning restrictions and woods travel during the peak wildfire season
  • promote 911 to report all wildfires and suspiciious activity
  • wildfire alerts thru the provincial emergency alert network
  • public flogging of anyone caught deliberating starting a wildfire (opps, just because you think it doesn't mean you should write it down)

Perhaps you have some constructive ideas?  Please add to the COMMENTS to either Facebook or Instagram .

* * * * *

Many, many thanks to everyone that helped deal with the wildfires.  And to everyone who was affected, my heartfelt sympathies.

Thanks to Shaun Lowe (@shaunlowe) for permission to repost his image and video.

More Info : 

Nova Scotia Wildfire Dashboard : https://www.arcgis.com/apps/dashboards/91c63783cbd74699a0b46fbd2965ca58

Nova Scotia's Natural Resources and Renewables Wildfire Resource : https://novascotia.ca/natr/forestprotection/wildfire/

Are your hemlocks naturally resistant to HWA?

Is this hemlock tree at Victoria Park in Truro naturally resistant to HWA?

 Are your hemlocks naturally resistant to HWA?

Hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is brutal on hemlocks.  Once infested, it's a death sentence happening in as quickly as three years.

But some hemlocks appear to be naturally resistant to HWA.  There are cases of healthy, green hemlocks standing in a sea of dead ones.

Have you seen any healthy hemlocks surrounded by dead or dying ones?  They may be HWA resistant and an important part of a post-HWA forest.  Please let us know:

  • get a pic with GPS coordinates and send it to hwa@nshemlock.ca 
  • upload your pic to iNaturalist and in the NOTES make a comment about perhaps being HWA resistant
  • use the App TreeSnap to tag trees you find in your community, on your property, or out in the wild. Scientists will use the data you collect to locate trees for research projects like studying the genetic diversity of tree species and building better tree breeding programs.

If you'd like more information with some links to additional information, check out :

In Defense of Plants PODCAST (April 23, 2023) : A fruitful avenue of research involves understanding the capacity for natural resistance in some hemlock trees. Guest Ecologist Ian Kinahan discusses the ins and outs of woolly adelgid resistance and how it may offer a glimmer of hope for North America's hemlock trees.  Thanks to Lucas Machias for the heads up.  Listen here:


Ian Kinahan is the ecologist interviewed in the above Podcast, some of his research.


iNaturalist site dedicated to HWA resistant trees


The Lingering Hemlock Working Group is in the early stages of developing a system for locating and monitoring HWA resistant hemlock


The United States Department of Agriculture have developed hemlock hybrids that are resistant to HWA suitable for horticulture :


HWA Webinar - Thu Apr.6.2023


Are you interested in learning more about the hemlock killing bug -- hemlock woolly adelgid -- or HWA?

Please join us for a free, open to all one hour webinar on Thursday April 6, 2023 starting at 7pm.

We’ll discuss how to identify HWA, what we can do to help prevent its spread, as well as the impact HWA has on our forests and how we can protect them.

This webinar will be hosted by the Nature Trust’s stewardship coordinator Jessica Ferguson, with special guests,

  • Donna Crossland, HWA Project Coordinator, Medway Community Forest Coop
  • Tom Rogers from Giants of Nova Scotia.

To sign-up, email jessica@nsnt.ca for the Zoom link.