Monday, February 12, 2018

Announcing Workshop on Caring for Woods

Do you have woods in your backyard? Penn State research estimates that nearly half a million Pennsylvanians own a small patch of woodlands -- something less than ten acres in size. In fact, the average small ownership is about two acres. In sum, these small patches add up to about a million or so acres, or about 10 percent, of our state’s privately held woodlands.

Anyone interested in improving their land or acreage for the benefit of humans, flora and fauna will not want to miss the Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas around Your Home workshop being offered in Lewisburg on Saturday, April 7, 2018.

The workshop is sponsored by Penn State Extension, The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay: Forests for the Bay Program, DCNR Bureau of Forestry, and ClearWater Conservancy.

The workshop is designed specifically (but not exclusively) for smaller landscapes. These small lots are a big deal. The vast majority of Pennsylvania’s landowners have less than 10 acres. This land, wooded or not, can provide benefits. By enhancing wooded areas or creating natural areas on your property, you can enjoy recreation, aesthetics, wildlife, improved water quality and reduced energy costs. Owners of even the smallest landscapes can make a positive difference in their environment through planning and implementing simple stewardship practices.

The workshop introduces the manual “The Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas around Your Home.” All participants will receive the full-color, 108-page manual, a $23 value! This self-directed book will guide you through the process of developing and implementing projects to enhance your land’s natural resources.

The workshop will take place at the Union County Government Building in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. At the workshop, participants will remain together in the morning and then choose their afternoon sessions based on interest.

Topics will include: 
·         Habitats for wildlife 
·         Backyard pollinators 
·         Tree and shrub identification 
·         Tree planting 
·         Woods and water 
·         Forest ecology and soils 
·         Woodlot management techniques 
·         Invasive plant identification and control 
·         Creating wildflower meadows 
·         …….and more

Cost is $35 per individual to attend (includes manual, lunch and light morning refreshments). For more information and to register go to: or call 1-877-345-0691.

The Pennsylvania State University encourages qualified persons with disa-bilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Dave Jackson at 814-355-4897 in advance of your participation or visit.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Learn how to manage your woodland through online Extension course

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. --Individuals who want to learn about properly caring for their woodlands  now have the opportunity to take an online course from the comfort of their own homes offered by Penn State Extension.

"WoodlandStewardship: Management Practices for Landowners" is designed for woodland owners and those who are interested in understanding the complexity of the woodland ecosystem and improving their own practices in caring for that resource. The course offers participants a solid understanding of what it means to be a woodland steward.

Participants can learn ways to apply their new knowledge to their woodlot, such as practical, hands-on skills, as well as some "big picture" concepts related to woodland management. Although this course focuses on Pennsylvania woods and landowners, much of the information applies to land in other states as well, particularly those in the Northeast.
Upon course completion, participants will be able to understand the importance of forests and the need for woodland stewardship; use field characteristics to identify trees; use forest measurement tools to collect field data; describe a tree’s relationship to its surroundings and other life forms; and identify how they can use forest-management techniques to reach desirable goals and outcomes.

Participants will also learn how forest-management activities relate to wildlife habitat; describe the relationship between forests and water and ways to protect water quality; identify plans for the future of the woods beyond the current tenure; and take steps to engage heirs or other land-protection strategies to continue stewardship.

"The information and skills you learn will enhance your enjoyment of the woods in addition to helping you make better informed decisions about caring for your woods," said course instructor Allyson Muth, Forest Stewardship Program Associate and Associate Director of the Center for Private Forest at Penn State. "As you will learn, there are a variety of reasons why woodland stewardship is of critical concern today."

In teaching the course, Muth is joined by Jim Finley, Director of the Center for Private Forests, and other forest experts in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

You can view the introduction and register for the course at:

You can view all of Penn State Extension's forestry related online courses here

Monday, January 29, 2018

Justification for Controlling all our Tree of Heaven

First the bad news:
Lycorma delicatula, commonly known as the Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), is a new invasive insect that has spread throughout southeastern Pennsylvania since its discovery in Berks County in 2014. SLF presents a significant threat to Pennsylvania agriculture, including the grape, tree-fruit, hardwood and nursery industries, which collectively are worth nearly $18 billion to the state's economy.

Then the good news:
We should not be leaving the response to this problem to government alone. Landowners need to destroy the invasive exotic ailanthus tree, also known as the tree of heaven. Although SLF will feed on other trees and plants, all life stages strongly prefer tree of heaven, and adult SLF seem to require a meal from these trees prior to laying eggs, although this has not been proven yet through research. This provides an opportunity to concentrate the SLF population on a property by performing host tree reduction. This method involves removal or killing most tree of heaven on an infested property while leaving a few to serve as trap trees. Trap trees are treated with an insecticide which controls the insect once it feeds on the tree.

While waiting for federal, state, and local agency responses, this is an opportunity to mobilize citizen science to detect and help us contain the infestation. Take advantage of the relative ease of recognition of both the pest and Ailanthus at all stages. Engage school science teachers at all levels in teaching recognition and reporting. Engage garden clubs, friends of parks groups, churches, neighborhood associations, and civic organizations, as well as landscapers and nursery employees, in getting the word out. We need as many eyeballs as possible looking for this pest and keeping it contained. Treat it as a regional issue and coordinate among mid-Atlantic states, not just as Pennsylvania’s problem.

If we are not successful, not only will Pennsylvania face quarantines, the U.S. could face quarantines because Canada, South America, Mexico, and Europe are watching.

Recognizing the increasing threat invasive species pose to Pennsylvania’s economy and people, Gov. Tom Wolf announced an additional step to complement recent bipartisan legislation to help battle bad bugs and out-of-control plants.

Wolf signed an executive order expanding the Governor’s Invasive Species Council to bring additional expertise and resources to bear in the battle against new invasive species, such as the spotted lanternfly. The council will expand from 10 to 14 members to pave the way for adding representatives of county and municipal governments, conservation districts and the transportation sector. State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding will continue to serve as the council’s chairman.

Wolf’s new order follows his signing of the Controlled Plants and Noxious Weeds Act in October. The new law took effect on Dec. 29. Act 46 repeals the previous noxious weed law in favor of a more proactive approach to control existing and potentially noxious weeds while maximizing resources to control invasive species and protect state lands.

People in areas that haven't seen the pest in the past should report lanternfly sightings to state agriculture officials.