Category: Forest Health

Field Notes

The Early Caterpillar Gets the Leaf!

May 12, 2021 - By Katlin DeWitt, VDOF Forest Health Specialist Spring is a welcome season for many living things, signaling the end of cold weather and resurgence of color through plants blooming and leafing out. This period of awakening also means that insects emerge and utilize tender foliage for their own development. Forests support many insects throughout their life cycle, but some Lepidopteran species (butterflies and moths) are called early season defoliators, meaning... Read More

Field Notes

Fighting the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on State Forests

April 23, 2021 - By Lori Chamberlin, VDOF Forest Health Manager Hemlock trees have been under attack since the introduction of the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect that was first discovered in eastern North America in the 1950s. These small insects settle at the base of hemlock needles, feed on plant sap, and surround themselves in soft, white ovisacs that resemble cotton balls. They may look harmless, but the hemlock woolly adelgid has... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: EAB-Killed Ash – Use It or Lose It!

March 9, 2021 - By Joe Lehnen, VDOF Forest Utilization & Marketing Specialist, and Katlin DeWitt, VDOF Forest Health Specialist The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive beetle that has decimated native ash trees. It has been present in the U.S. since the late 1990s, feeding on and killing ash in Virginia since initial detection in 2008. This insect is native to Asia and most likely arrived on imported wood packaging material. While named... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: (Hopefully Not) Spotting the Spotted Lanternfly

February 19, 2021 -   By Katlin Dewitt, Forest Health Specialist The spotted lanternfly is an invasive, sapsucking insect that was first detected in Winchester, Virginia in January 2018. As a pest of many different plants, it poses a threat to many of our native tree species, such as black walnut, maples, cherries, and many more. Additionally, this pest feeds on numerous commercially important plants like grapes, hops, apricots, plums, and apples. As a... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: January’s Least Wanted – English Ivy

January 19, 2021 - By Ellen Powell, VDOF Conservation Education Coordinator A brand new year brings a brand new feature to Field Notes! Each month, one of our posts will introduce one of Virginia’s “least wanted” – an invasive species that’s easy to spot at that time of year. It might be a plant, an insect, or a disease that’s impacting our state’s natural communities. We hope you’ll keep an eye out for the... Read More

Stories

On the Wings of a Tiny Wasp

July 24, 2020 - The fate of Virginia’s stately ash trees might rest on the wings of a tiny wasp. For more than a decade, ash trees (Fraxinus genus) have been under threat from an invasive insect pest, the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) – EAB, for short. The larvae of this beetle feed on the phloem of ash trees, disrupting nutrient transfer. Native ash trees didn’t evolve with EAB, and its natural enemies aren’t here to... Read More

Stories

Saving Pumpkin Ash

June 9, 2020 - In late May, Lara Johnson and Meghan Mulroy-Goldman (VDOF urban & community forestry team), along with the Virginia Beach Urban Forestry Department, embarked on a scouting mission for the rare pumpkin ash in the bottomlands surrounding Stumpy Lake in Virginia Beach (based on information shared from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.) After traveling through the swampy coastal forest, Lara, Meghan and the Virginia Beach Urban Forestry Staff located... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: When Volunteers Go Bad

May 21, 2020 - by Sarah Parmelee, Area Forester Last fall, a little seedling popped up in my yard. It was too young to be readily identifiable, so I left it on the off chance that it was something cool. This spring when it leafed out, I realized that it was a butterfly bush. Now, I do not have any other butterfly bushes in my yard, but other folks in my neighborhood do, and... Read More

Field Notes

Field Notes: Good Green, Bad Green

April 7, 2020 - By Ellen Powell, Conservation Educator The calendar and the plants agree – spring has arrived in central Virginia! Patches of green among the leaf litter mean spring wildflowers are making their annual appearance. Often called “ephemerals,” for their short-lived bloom time, those in flower this week include pennywort (Obolaria virginica), star chickweed (Stellaria pubera) and wild geranium (Geranium maculatum). Unfortunately, the shrub layer of many hardwood forests reveals a “dark... Read More

Stories

AlterNATIVES

March 20, 2020 - In Virginia, you know spring is just around the corner when you begin to see blooms on cherry, magnolia, pear, redbud and dogwood trees. These same signs of spring can serve as a reminder that it’s a good time to assess the plants growing on your property and make a plan to get rid of the invasive species. Non-native invasive plants usually have rapid reproductive rates, lack natural control agents... Read More