Sweet Root Natural Area, PA   Ernie Ostuno
  Jul 28, 2004 03:35 PDT 

Sweet Root Natural Area is located in the Buchanan State Forest in
Bedford County, PA. I visited this site on June 16, 2003. This is one of
the most depressing old growth sites to visit in PA, given the fact that
90 percent of the old growth hemlocks here (about 40 acres) are dead and
the remaining few living trees show various levels of health due to the
wooly adelgid. Most of the big trees that died were growing in poor
soil, among boulders on the steep edges of a stream valley, and this
stressful setting may have contributed to their demise. The I noticed
that almost all the surviving hemlocks were growing close to the stream
and in an area where the stream valley widened and the terrain became
more level. Other old growth species I noted here are black birch, tulip
poplar, white and red oak, sugar maple, and a few beech and black

Here is the Pennsylvania DCNR page:


Photos by Ernie Ostuno

sweetroot3.jpg (55411 bytes) Old hemlock rooted in boulder field.
sweetroot8.jpg (54894 bytes) Old reddish-barked hemlock, this one was still clinging to life.
sweetroot82.jpg (54763 bytes) A few of the hemlocks have not been defoliated.
sweetroot85.jpg (53012 bytes) The victims, a stand of ancient hemlocks killed by the HWA.
RE: Hemlock Wooly Agelid   Ernie Ostuno
  Sep 09, 2004 18:00 PDT 

This is the same things I was wondering. Will the mortality be total
everywhere in the eastern U.S.? I don't know if anyone can answer that
with any certainty. It certainly seems that trees that are stressed by
drought or poor growing conditions may be more vulnerable. Last year I
visited the Sweet Root Natural Area in southern Pennsylvania. All the
hemlocks growing on the rocky slopes of a ravine were dead from HWA
infestation. However, some of the hemlocks in the flat stream valley,
where soil and moisture conditions appeared more favorable, were still
very much alive. The only questions is, were they destined to survive
the infestation, or just suffer a slower death?