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Field Notes

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

Field Notes

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

Field Notes

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

Field Notes

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

Field Notes

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

Field Notes

Grand SLAM! (Slowing Ash Mortality)

August 23, 2021 - By Lori Chamberlin, VDOF Forest Health Manager, and Joe Lehnen, VDOF Forest Utilization and Marketing Specialist The emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive insect that attacks and kills ash trees in North America. It became established in Virginia in 2008 and has wreaked havoc, killing ash trees throughout the state. In 2019, VDOF was awarded a federal Landscape Scale Restoration grant titled Grand SLAM (Slowing Ash Mortality) in the... Read More

Notices

Beech Leaf Disease Confirmed in Virginia

August 18, 2021 - Beech leaf disease has now been confirmed in Prince William County – the first detection in Virginia. The disease affects American beech (Fagus grandifolia) )trees and is associated with a foliar nematode. Symptoms include dark stripes between leaf veins, thickening and curling of leaves, and canopy thinning. Contact VDOF’s forest health program if you see these symptoms. For more information, view this Beech Leaf Disease Pest Alert publication.

Field Notes

S.O.S. – Save Our Shorelines!

August 3, 2021 - By Kendall Topping, VDOF Community Forester As rapid development and population growth continue in Hampton Roads, stormwater runoff and sea level rise have become more prevalent concerns. One of the direct effects of these issues includes more drastic shoreline and streambank erosion. Such extreme cases of erosion lead to unstable ground, forcing landowners to lose valuable land while making certain land uses impossible. This causes not only environmental, but also... Read More

Field Notes

Forest Health – Scout It Out!

July 30, 2021 - By Lori Chamberlin, Forest Health Manager Dead and declining trees are a natural component of healthy forests. But determining what initiated tree decline can be useful — especially when making management and control considerations, such as removal or treatment. Scouting your woods regularly can help you discover forest health issues before they become big problems. Proper diagnosis of tree problems is a key factor in forest management. If you notice... Read More

Field Notes

Urban Forestry Comes Full Circle

July 29, 2021 - By Joe Lehnen, VDOF Forest Utilization and Marketing Specialist, and Molly O’Liddy, VDOF Community Forestry Partnership Coordinator Trees may have a lifespan, but wood is a renewable resource. Since trees are made of wood, is there truly an end to their useful lives? The answer, of course, can be “no,” if we consider the continuous carbon storage capability of durable wood products. Trees can also continue to be of service... Read More