Recent Forestry News

The Ant-Plant Connection

May 19, 2022 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator Readers of my Field Notes posts will know that I like to introduce nerdy words. Today I have two: elaiosome (pronounced eh-LIE-uh-sohm) and myrmecochory (pronounced mer-me-ko-CORE-e). Together they describe a fascinating connection between ants and plants. Myrmecochory is a seed dispersal strategy used by some familiar plants. It means their seeds are carried away by ants! Myrmecochorous seeds have attached structures called elaiosomes.... Read More

A Park, a Planting, a Partnership

April 18, 2022 - By Delaney Beattie, VDOF Riparian Buffer Specialist- James River Buffer Program At Greene County Community Park, partners recently came together for the simple act of planting a tree. Thirty trees and shrubs, to be exact – and there are more to come. Greene County Community Park covers 70 acres and is the only public park in Greene County. The land is mostly open fields, but Quarter Creek runs through the... Read More

Longleaf Grafting 101

April 18, 2022 - By Jim Schroering, VDOF Longleaf Pine Coordinator and Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator Forestry usually takes place on a landscape scale. But some forestry work requires meticulous attention to detail. Just ask the team of VDOF staff who recently undertook the painstaking process of grafting longleaf pines. Grafting requires splicing a scion – a growing stem with desired characteristics – onto an established rootstock of the same species. You... Read More

Thinning Out Southern Pine Beetle

April 7, 2022 - By Katlin Dewitt, VDOF Forest Health Specialist The southern pine beetle (SPB) is the most destructive native insect that threatens pine forests in the Southeast. These tiny insects, about the size of a grain of rice as adults, are especially harmful due to the complex system of pheromones (insect “scents” that are specific to a species) they utilize to find host trees and aggregate. Pheromones allow populations to build up... Read More

A Pollinator Primer

March 28, 2022 - By Scott Bachman, VDOF Senior Area Forester Recently, I attended the Virginia Association of Forest Health Professionals meeting held in Staunton, VA.  There were many great topics discussed over the day and a half long conference.  I will admit I was there for the pesticide recertification credits I could earn. You never know what you will get when you attend a pesticide recertification meeting, but this agenda was quite varied... Read More