A quarantine from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has expanded to the City of Falls Church.
A strain of Thousand Cankers Disease has been detected in Northern Virginia and the department doesn’t want it to spread more. City residents are asked not to move all walnut plants and plant parts of walnut — including green lumber, logs, stumps, firewood, roots, branches, mulch and chips — outside city limits.
TCD has been detected in Fairfax and Prince William counties. Ben Thompson, city arborist, said the TCD strain has not been found in the city limits and the quarantine is more of a precautionary measure.
“Thousand Cankers Disease affects Black Walnut, Butternut, and English Walnut trees,” Thompson said. “If you do not have any of these trees on your property then there is no need to worry. Those with one or more of these trees on their property can expect the trees will contract the disease at some point. It is very difficult to tell if which trees, if any, in Falls Church have already contracted the disease or how long it will take the disease to spread throughout the city.”
Amy Betor, a spokeswoman with the city, said mulch given out by the city Aug. 18 can only be used within city limits. She said people must sign a waiver when picking up the mulch, which certifies understanding of quarantine limitations. Liability waivers and notice of quarantine are available at the city’s recycling center.
Thompson said TCD does not affect human life in any way. TCD is a disease strain that attacks walnut trees and the walnut twig beetle spreads the fungus. The beetle tunnels beneath the bark of a tree and causes small cankers or open wounds on the trunks and branches as a result. Thompson said the quarantine started July 24 but he doesn’t know when it will be lifted.
“No estimates on duration have been provided,” Thompson said. “The duration is assumed to be indefinite until VDACS lifts the quarantine, though it is uncertain at this point what the criteria are for doing so.”
For more information on TCD, click here.