Tuesday, October 7, 2014

New Forestland Conservation Review

We recently published online an update on current forest conservation topics in the Commonwealth. Our October edition includes: what’s ahead for forestland conservation; what are conservation values; family forest landowners hold the key to sustaining Virginia’s woodlands; new tools to finance forestland conservation; addressing today’s forestry issues through utilization and marketing; no place like “homeplace,” and introducing Kim Biasiolli, forest conservation specialist.

 To read this issue, download it  from our website under the heading "Forest Conservation."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tree seedling sales for the this season

We expect high demand for the limited quantities of our loblolly pine seedlings this year. If you're interested in purchasing our specialty seedlings you should visit www.buyvirginiatrees.com and setup an account prior to the opening date for the online store, October 14 at 10 a.m.

We have limited nursery staff, so we don't recommend you call the nursery to place these orders. Tax-exempt customers should call the nursery prior to October 14 and setup their account with their tax-exempt credentials. Sales tax cannot be refunded. Customers can call the Garland Gray Forestry Center at 804.834.2855. To reach the Augusta Forestry Center, call 540.363.7000 or 540.363.5732.

All of VDOF’s loblolly pine seedlings provide growth gains over unimproved seedlings. 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 seedling varieties will be available for sale through the online store when it opens October 14.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Grant funds tree biomass crop research

Grant recipients at Virginia Tech received $1.4 million to investigate the genetic regulatory networks that will allow an important bioenergy crop to be bred so it will grow in less than ideal soils and

Populus, a genus of fast-growing trees, produces a significant amount of biomass in two years. Woody biomass can be converted to liquid fuels, such as ethanol.

“There has not been a market for it in the southeastern U.S., but there could be,” said Amy Brunner, associate professor of molecular genetics in the College of Natural Resources and Environment and an affiliate of the Fralin Life Science Institute. “It could also be a resource for power, pulp and paper.”

Read more about this project at http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2014/08/081914-cnre-brunnergrant.html

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gov. McAuliffe: No fracking in George Washington National Forest

Citing assurances from federal officials, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said fracking for natural gas will not be allowed in the George Washington National Forest.

"I won't allow it as long as I'm governor," McAuliffe told the inaugural meeting of a climate change panel he created this summer. "We made it clear to everyone we will not allow fracking in our national forest. I'm not going to allow it."

The Forest Service initially proposed a ban on fracking in the forest, but it was met with opposition by the energy industry. Opponents fear the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will bow to the industry pressure. The decision rests with the USDA, which oversees the Forest Service.

Environmental and conservation groups have rallied against any fracking in the forest, which lies primarily in Virginia but also includes a sliver of West Virginia. They fear polluting the headwaters of a primary water source for the region and the industrial footprint drilling would bring.

The science on the impact of fracking has not been conclusive.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tree Nurseries Seek Acorns and Seeds

The Virginia Department of Forestry needs your help to continue producing quality seedlings for Virginia landowners. Virginia-grown seed generally produces trees that will grow well in our state. Every year, we ask for your help in locating and collecting acorns and other seed from all over the state. Your donations help us produce the next season’s crop. Seed collection is a great activity for children and adults! It also allows individuals to learn more about Virginia trees.

See what we're looking for this year (pretty much the same as last year) http://www.dof.virginia.gov/trees/acorn-collect.htm

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Emerald Ash Borer found in more Virginia counties

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has been detected in four additional Virginia counties. 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. The entire Commonwealth of Virginia is under a federal EAB quarantine. The federal quarantine prohibits the interstate movement of regulated articles such as ash logs, ash nursery stock and firewood since these articles have the potential to move the Emerald Ash Borer to areas that are not infested.

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. The EAB larva chews into the soft layer of wood beneath the bark, cutting off the flow of water and nutrients. Trees infected with EAB eventually die. EAB in the larval stage are difficult to detect as they feed under the tree bark enabling them to hitch a ride undetected to uninfested areas when people transport firewood or other infested wood products.

Dr. Chris Asaro, forest health specialist with the Virginia Department of Forestry 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/.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Oak Galls on White Oak Trees in Northern Virginia Counties

Homeowners in six Northern Virginia counties have expressed concern about defoliated white oak trees.  Forestry officials have conducted aerial and ground surveys and determined that, while this occurrence is fairly widespread, it is concentrated in and around the hills of western Fauquier County and adjacent Loudoun County.  Portions of Prince William, Culpeper, Orange and Rappahannock counties are also affected.

The culprit appears to be a very tiny insect known as a gall wasp. There are many species of gall wasps, particularly those that affect oak trees. This type of insect injects eggs into plant tissue, which forms a swelling or ‘gall’ around the injection site. Inside a hollow space within the gall, the developing egg hatches into a larva, and ultimately emerges from the gall as an adult wasp, repeating the cycle one or more times each year depending on the species. Each species of gall wasp specializes on a particular host and plant part, and each species produces a unique gall. Thus, there are a wide variety of plant galls that differ in shape, size, color, texture and the part of the plant affected (leaves, twigs, buds, flowers, etc).  

While gall wasps are a normal component of every forest ecosystem, they are generally kept under control by other insects and are not typically abundant enough to cause serious damage to trees and shrubs. However, in rare instances they can become so abundant that their galls can cause noticeable damage.

Read more about this occurrence on our website at http://dof.virginia.gov/press/releases/2014/08-11-white-oak-galls.htm