Hemlock Conservation Expands in the Upstate

September 20, 2023

Carolyn Dawson
Area Extension Forestry Agent
Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, & Spartanburg Counties

Carolina Hemlocks volunteer treating infested hemlock trees.

Carolina Hemlocks volunteer treating infested hemlock trees.

Two years ago, a retired US Forest Service ranger named David Hedden entered my office and politely asked if anyone was doing anything to save the hemlock trees in the Upstate. In case you were not aware, there is a tiny insect named the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA) that is threatening the existence of the Eastern and Carolina Hemlocks trees. Prognosis for the trees is not good. Luckily for David, he stumbled into the right place, and the seed was planted to turn concern and passion into actions.

With the help of Clemson Extension, David and his wife Carla recently formed the non-profit organization called Carolina Hemlocks. The goal of Carolina Hemlocks is to bring together governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, private landowners, practitioners, and other stakeholders to maintain, re-establish, and enhance the Hemlock tree population in the South Carolina landscape through outreach, resource sharing, collaboration, and applied learning.

David Hedden with Carolina Hemlocks non-profit, teaching volunteers how to treat infested trees.

David Hedden with Carolina Hemlocks non-profit, teaching volunteers how to treat infested trees.

To date, this non-profit has treated close to 1,000 private home/landowner trees. Partnering with Clemson Extension, we continually hold educational programs, presentations, and outdoor workshops., We have treated approximately 1,000 Hemlocks in the Greenville Watershed. We have also been cleared by several agencies to treat all trees along the SC Foothills Trail.  We have partnered with Clemson Extension, South Carolina Forestry Commission, USFS, SC State Parks, Foothills Trail Conservancy, Duke Energy, and Greenville Watershed to locate, treat, record, and monitor existing hemlock populations. We have trained and utilized volunteers to help treat hemlock trees.

To keep updated on the latest scientific treatment methods, we attend workshops and presentations held by the Tennessee Dept. of Forestry, UGA, Georgia Forestry Commission, and often consult with Dr. Elizabeth McCarty, who is a current expert in the treatment of HWA.

If you have hemlocks trees, know of trees that need treating, or would like to volunteer to help treat, please contact Carolyn Dawson, Clemson Extension Forestry Agent at


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