Recent Forestry News

A Walk at Whitney

October 13, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, Conservation Education Coordinator Last week I took a hike at Whitney State Forest, located in Fauquier County, just south of Warrenton. I was a little early for brilliant fall colors, but right on time for another kind of “fall.” There were loads of nuts on the ground, one of the hallmarks of autumn in a Piedmont oak-hickory forest. Known in wildlife circles as hard mast, nuts provide... Read More

The Vine That Ate Charlottesville

September 29, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator I know what you’re thinking. But no, the vine that ate Charlottesville isn’t kudzu. It’s porcelain-berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata). You might know this species as an ornamental vine, often seen spilling over pergolas in fancy gardens. It’s great for covering a bare patch of ground or an unsightly old shed. The fruits are quite beautiful, with pale green, lavender, magenta, and blue berries often... Read More

Old-Timey Apples

September 21, 2021 - By Zach Olinger, VDOF Forest Management and Education Specialist The property that is now the Matthews State Forest was donated to the Commonwealth by the late Judge Jack Matthews and his wife, Clare. Judge Matthews had varying interests that helped lead him to the decision to donate his land to the Department of Forestry. Among these were the American chestnut, all types of native wildlife, educating youngsters about conservation, and... Read More

Laurel Wilt Confirmed in Virginia

September 14, 2021 - By Katlin Dewitt, VDOF Forest Health Specialist There is officially a new threat to Virginia’s forests. The USDA Diagnostic Lab confirmed laurel wilt disease (LWD) on September 9 from a sample collected on an impacted sassafras tree in Scott County. This was the first detection of this disease in Virginia, although it has been confirmed throughout much of the South and in our neighboring states of North Carolina, Tennessee, and... Read More

Autumn = Asteraceae!

September 10, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator Virginia’s forests in fall are showstoppers, dazzling us with their vibrant colors. But my eyes are often drawn to the weedy roadside ditches and field edges, where fall wildflowers paint the landscape in an Impressionist haze. Fall-blooming flowers aren’t just for looks. They provide an important late-season food source for bees, wasps, butterflies, and other pollinators. Keeping these insects fed and happy is... Read More