SALT LAKE CITY — As many families bring fresh Christmas trees into their homes this time of year, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food has a reminder to watch for evidence of invasive species, particularly indicators of the gypsy moth and pine shoot beetle.
Though there are a number of fresh tree lots throughout Utah, the majority of those trees are brought in from out of state. Whenever trees, firewood or greenery are transported, there’s a risk for the transportation of pests.
Invasive species are known to cause between 50-80% of agriculture crop losses per year and the impact on urban forests can be devastating.
“Most people don’t think about pathways for invasive species,” said Kristopher Watson, UDAF Insect Program Manager and State Entomologist. “They see a beautiful Christmas tree or piece of wood furniture and don’t realize it could be a carrier for an unwelcome insect.”
UDAF emphasizes the importance of purchasing trees from reputable sources who work with its team of inspectors and comply with regulations and quarantines designed to stop the spread of invasive pests.
For those considering cutting and bringing home a wild tree, the U.S. Forest Service has permit information and a list of places where fresh trees can be cut.