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Kentucky Color: Remains of a Grey Ghost
By Billy Joe Fudge
President, Homeplace on Green River, Inc.
There was a time when one in every five trees in the Eastern Hardwood Forest which stretches from Maine to Georgia, was American Chestnut. Then the infamous blight from the Orient made its way into New York Harbor around 1904. The American Chestnut had little to no resistance to this fungal disease and quickly began to succumb to its ravages.
Year after year the largest trees East of the Mississippi were turned into Grey Ghosts, glowing in the moonlight like giant skeletons stripped of their bark and foliage and life itself. Year after year the blight spread its scourge North, West and South from New York. Slowly but surely it made its way to the Great Wooded South and by the 30s, it's death march carried it's infection across Harrod's Fork Creek and Independence Ridge to this 60 inch diameter American Chestnut standing sentry on top of a Greenbriar Ridge bluff, looking down on Casey Fork Creek.
This Grey Ghost stump has survived around 90 years and I feel very honored and thankful to have walked upon it in January 2020. This old stump still remains because of the amazing qualities of resistance to rot, and ironically, resistance to insect damage. This is indeed a rare find
It is a sad story which even today is playing out around the world on a daily basis as diseases, pathogens of death and destruction, are finding their way to far away locations carrying heartbreak to plants, ecosystems ill prepared to cope and yes, including both man and beast!
This story was posted on 2020-01-10 04:58:31
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