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U.S. Department of Agriculture Encourages Residents to Take Part in Tree Check Month

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is asking everyone to take 10 minutes in August to check out the trees in their own backyard or their favorite park. During Tree Check Month, the USDA wants people to make sure trees are healthy and strong.

Signs that they aren't healthy or strong include dead branches and leaves changing color too soon. Other signs include dime-sized exit holes, shallow scars in the bark, and sawdust-like material on the ground or on tree branches, officials said.

Another sign of an unhealthy tree is if trees are attacked by the Asian longhorned beetle, or ALB. The beetle has caused tens of thousands of trees to be destroyed in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Ohio so far but all states are at risk. Officials said the adult ALB, which has six legs, can be distinguished by its unique characteristics including a long antennae banded with black and white; a shiny, jet black body with distinctive white spots.

Officials said no matter what the cause, early detection is crucial in saving a tree and said that is the reason "why the public plays an important role in Tree Check Month."

For more information on Tree Check Month, visit www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.