Beware of box store Christmas trees

Elongate hemlock scale

An unwelcome present arrived under some Oregonian Christmas trees.

The Oregon Department of Forestry discovered that Christmas trees shipped to big box stores such as Walmart were infected by the elongate hemlock scale. This pest feeds on the underside of needles and leaves behind a waxy residue that diminishes the tree's health. If the scale spreads into the natural forest, it could have a devastating impact on fir, spruce, and iconic Douglas fir trees. 

"The fear is that when Christmas trees are left for weeks or months in a yard or dumped in a park or the woods, eggs laid on them will hatch and the pest may escape into nearby trees," says the Department. Citizens are encouraged to inspect their Christmas trees before disposing of them and email the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Forest Health Unit at [email protected] to report any suspected elongate hemlock scale. 

Next Christmas, it may pay to buy your Christmas tree locally. Support the local economy and keep unwanted pests out of your forests.

For more information on this topic and other forest health news, visit the Oregon Department of Forestry's website: