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September 1, 2014

Emerald Ash Borer newly detected in four counties

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced the detection of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in additional counties in the Commonwealth; the newly infested counties include Alleghany, Bath, Fauquier and Page.

EAB has now been detected in 21 Virginia counties and seven cities since its initial appearance in Fairfax County in 2003. EAB is a highly destructive, invasive beetle that has killed millions of ash trees in the US and Canada. Ash trees comprise approximately 1.7% of Virginia’s forests by volume, which amounts to roughly 187 million ash trees, all susceptible to EAB.

Dr. Chris Asaro, forest health specialist with the VDOF, said, “Options for protecting individual ash trees from EAB are available.  People with very large, valuable ash trees would be advised to contact a certified arborist who can treat these individual trees with an effective insecticide every two to three years.  Treating these valuable trees is far less expensive than removing a very large, dead tree.  Unfortunately, there are no practical management options for EAB in a forested setting.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture website shows a map of quarantined states and areas, and more information on EAB and other invasive pests is available at http://www.hungrypests.com/.

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

Virginians can help preserve tree species by collecting acorns and seeds from 12 species and delivering them to the nearest office of the Virginia Department of Forestry (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; 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: use paper bags (no plastic bags) to hold the acorns or seed; identify the tree species on the bag, and to not combine acorn or seed from different tree species in the same paper bag.

Urban forestry fellowships

The Garden Club of America is offering multiple fellowships in the amount of $5,000 each to be awarded to graduate or advanced undergraduate students studying urban forestry, environmental studies, horticulture, forestry or a closely related field at any four-year college or university degree program in the United States. Applicants must be U.S. students who will be enrolled as juniors, seniors or graduate students during the fellowship period.

To apply, visit the Garden Club of America Fellowship in Urban Forestry website. [https://www.gcamerica.org/index.cfm/scholarships/details/id/22] The application deadline is Jan. 31, 2015.

OpenTreeMap

Trees play a critical role in creating a healthy urban environment by improving air quality, reducing energy costs for homeowners, and even enhancing property values. A new app called OpenTreeMap helps cities track information about urban street trees by enabling both city staff and the general public to get involved.

OpenTreeMap gives a city the ability to crowdsource tree information. iTree protocols developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service are applied to the collected tree data. Users can assess the ecosystem services value of a single tree or all of the trees in a neighborhood or city.

OpenTreeMap is free and available both as web application and as an Android or IOS application. The app is the result of a grant from the USDA’s Small Business Innovation Research Grant Program. Visit their website at https://www.opentreemap.org/

Farm bill means new charge for Christmas tree growers

After years of political wrangling, Christmas tree growers finally have their own federally sanctioned promotion agency. The farm bill signed by President Barack Obama authorized the Christmas Tree Research and Promotion Board to impose a 15-cent fee on every tree the growers sell.

The Christmas tree fee is similar to money collected for other agricultural commodities, including the “Got milk?” and “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner” ads. The Chesterfield-based National Christmas Tree Association, which supported the fee, stated that it “is designed to benefit the industry, especially small family farms.”

The Christmas tree association says the fee “is not expected to have any impact on consumer prices.”

Finding forest products

The “Forest Products Locator” website provided by the Southern Group of State Foresters assists buyers in locating primary wood product manufacturing companies. These companies produce “renewable” products by converting recently harvested trees from managed forests to lumber, wood panels, paper, and many other forms of primary products.

See it online at http://forestproductslocator.org/

American Chestnut

Future generations of Americans could enjoy forests made up of American Chestnut trees engineered to resist the fungus that wiped them out initially.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/chestnut-forest-a-new-generation-of-american-chestnut-trees-may-redefine-americas-forests/

DOF personnel news

Kim Biasiolli is our new forest conservation specialist for the Central Region. She previously developed conservation easements for the Yolo Land Trust in California.

Jon Perry is our new technician in the Shenandoah Work Area, serving the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah and Warren.

Jim Bowling retired after 22 years of service. He was a technician specialist in the Five Forks Work Area, serving the counties of Amelia, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Nottoway and Powhatan.

Landon Foley, forest technician in the Piedmont Work Area, and Justin Hancock, forester in the Blackwater Work Area, will be leaving VDOF.

Bonnie Ragland, program support technician at Headquarters, retired. She joined VDOF in 1994 and had 41 years of service with the Commonwealth.