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October 2013

Tree Seedling Sale Changes Underway

Officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) announced changes to the process for ordering seedlings. Online orders for seedlings cannot be accepted while VDOF develops a new online store and inventory management system.

VDOF’s Second Generation Orchard Mix, Third Cycle and Premium loblolly pine seedlings, in addition to other conifers and hardwoods seedlings, can be ordered by phone. Customers may call the Garland Gray Forestry Center, 804.834.2855, or the Augusta Forestry Center at 540.363.7000. Orders may be placed during regular business hours, which are Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Orders for the Elite, Control Pollinated and Virginia’s Best loblolly pine will not be accepted by telephone. Due to the limited quantities of these seedlings, customers can request these seedlings using an online Request Form.

Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 at 10 a.m., customers should visit VDOF’s website at and select the “Specialty Seedling Request” link. Requests will be filled on a “first-come, first-served basis.” These top three seedling varieties are expected to sell out very quickly, and requests will not be filled once the inventory is depleted. All customers will be notified if their order can be filled.

The top three loblolly pine varieties are best suited for landowners who utilize silvicultural treatments, such as site preparation and woody vegetation control, on their pine stands as part of their sawtimber rotation. The actual growth gains of each loblolly family depend on the planting site, soil type and these expected treatments.

All of VDOF’s loblolly pine seedlings provide growth gains over unimproved seedlings. All seedling varieties that are still in stock will be available for sale through the online store when it opens later in the year.

VDOF Tree Nurseries Seek Public’s Help With Acorn & Seed Collection

Virginians can help preserve native tree species by collecting acorns and seeds from 13 species and delivering them to the nearest office of the VDOF. Acorns and seeds must be received by October 10.

“Generally, the best time to collect acorns is the last week in September through the first week of October,” said Josh McLaughlin, nursery forester. “Every bag of acorns and seed collected by citizens will help us keep Virginia beautiful.”

The species most needed are: Alleghany Chinkapin; Chinese Chestnut; Hazelnut; Black Oak; Chestnut Oak; Northern Red Oak; Pin Oak; Sawtooth Oak; Swamp Chestnut Oak; Swamp White Oak; White Oak; Willow Oak, and Black Walnut.

“Lawns or paved areas are ideal collection sites,” McLaughlin said. “A single tree located in these areas makes identifying the acorns easier.” He added that you should not collect from trees in the forest, since it can be difficult to identify acorns when many different species are nearby.

McLaughlin reminds anyone who is interested in collecting acorns or seed to: not use plastic bags to hold the acorns or seed; identify the tree species on the non-plastic bag, and to not combine acorn or seed from different tree species in the same bag.

You can learn more about acorn collecting online at the VDOF website.

Stupendous Stick Structures

Patrick Dougherty is a sculptor who makes large public works out of saplings that are woven together into large architectural structures. He has been commissioned to make a large “stickwork” sculpture on the Arts Lawn adjacent to Culbreth Theater at the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville.

Red maple saplings were harvested from a 15-acre tract in near Woodridge in Albemarle County. Assisted by volunteers, Dougherty will weave and form the saplings into a design unique for the site. The process will be underway for two weeks.

You can view Dougherty‘s work on his website, The commission is made possible by the Fralin Art Museum and the Art Department of UVA. An opening reception for the completed work will be held Friday, Oct. 18, 2013.

Urban Forestry Strike Team Conducted Exercise in Area Cities

An Urban Forestry Strike Team conducted an exercise to both test and demonstrate its capabilities following a mock hurricane. Team members visited neighborhoods in Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Portsmouth over a three-day period.

The team conducted assessments of the street trees “damaged or destroyed” by the mock hurricane. In addition to handheld electronic equipment, some of the team members wore backpacks with GPS antennae to record exact locations of the trees they inspect.

The VDOF, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Portsmouth, along with personnel from Fairfax County and the state forestry agencies in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, participated in the exercise.

Smokey Helps Celebrate the “Great American Backyard Campout”

Smokey Bear joined in the fun with more than 140 participants and conservation partners at Sky Meadow’s State Park to celebrate the “Great American Backyard Campout.” The evening began with a discussion regarding fire safety, proper campfire location and a visit from Smokey. After singing the Smokey Bear song and some lively quiz questions about the lovable bear, campers were allowed to set the wood ablaze and enjoyed an excellent evening of songs, stories and fun.

For more information regarding the “Great American Backyard Campout,” visit

Forest Research Review Now Available

The latest edition of the Forest Research Review – VDOF’s annual publication from the Applied Forest Research Program – has just been published. There are 12 articles covering topics including:

  • An update on the 4th cycle of tree improvement breeding efforts from the director of the NC State Cooperative Tree Improvement Program.
  • New findings from the PineMap study ( a result of our collaboration with the Forest Productivity and Modeling Cooperatives) describing 1) the fate of nitrogen fertilizer and 2) carbon sequestration in loblolly pine stands.
  • From our work with the Forest Modeling Cooperative, a report on spacing impacts on lumber quality of loblolly pine.
  • A comparison of logging slash to other techniques for skid trail stabilization.
  • An update on our longleaf pine provenance study at age seven.
  • A study of low-density plantings of loblolly pine through age 20.
  • An update on our loblolly pine interplanting study at age six.
  • New data on the value of applied biosolids as a fertilizer amendment in loblolly pine.
  • A study of pine growth and value after chemical site preparation compared to age two chemical release.
  • Relative performance of eight hardwood species for biomass production in a plantation through age 14.
  • A comparison of different styles and brands of tree shelters for northern red oak.

You can download the review (PDF, 20 pp., 3MB) from our website.

Please note that this will be the last hard-copy issue of the Research Review. To continue receiving this publication and other updates and information from the Virginia Department of Forestry Applied Research Program you will need to subscribe using the link on our website at As always, our publications will continue to be archived on the Forest Research Publications page, where you can find all DOF research reports issued since 1955.

Honoring the Greatest Generation

Plans are underway to honor VDOF retirees and former employees who are World War II veterans at the Nov. 4, 2013 Forestry retiree luncheon. This program will honor the living WWII veterans and provide a remembrance of the deceased. Some of the WWII combat veterans will make presentations about their experiences.

The luncheon will be held at the American Legion Hall, 3025 Louisa Road, Keswick, Va. (approximately four miles east of Charlottesville at the intersection of Routes 250 and 22, behind the gas and convenience store) on Monday, Nov. 4th. The program will begin at 11:30 a.m., with lunch at 12:30 p.m.

Lunch will be catered, and the price per person is $20.00 – honorees and one guest excluded. Relatives and friends of the honorees are encouraged to attend. Reservations are due by Oct. 15, 2013 and can be made by writing a check (payable to Lawrence Cabell) and mailing it to Barbara Worrell, 105 Grover Court, Charlottesville, VA, 22901.

Many of our WWII veterans can no longer drive. Please consider offering a ride to one of them. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Larry Cabell via email at or by phone at 434.973.2988.

VDOF Personnel News

Clarence Bryant is our new Mechanic at the Headquarters Shop in Charlottesville. He has significant experience with heavy equipment and also has experience with small engines, ATVs, and farm equipment.

Landon Foley is our new Forest Technician in the Piedmont work area. He holds a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science from Ferrum College. Landon previously interned with DGIF and worked for DCR.

Jon Willoughby, Forest Technician in the Blue Ridge work area, has transferred to the Forest Technician position in the James River work area.

Harold Fisher, technician in the Shenandoah work area in the Central Region, left VDOF after 21 years of service to join the Arkansas Forestry Commission.