Monday, August 27, 2012

Fall Webworm Prevalent in Central PA

In driving around the region we see a severe infestation of fall webworm showing up......more than in most years.  This pest is easily recognized by the tent-like webs they make at the ends of branches while they skeletonize and consume the leaves.  The webs provide protection from predators.  The caterpillars feed on almost 90 species of deciduous trees, most commonly attacking hickory, walnut, birch, cherry, and crabapple.

Fall webworm is a native pest but entomology experts aren't sure why we are seeing so much of this insect this year.  They suspect it may be due to the very early spring and mild winter we had as this insect has to overwinter in the pupal stage.  Luckily fall or late summer defoliators are much less destructive and stressful on the tree than spring defoliators, like gypsy moth.  The tree has already set a bud for next years growth and as long as the bud is not disturbed the trees will generally refoliate just fine next spring.

The webs can be pruned out or manually removed.  There are also a large number of insecticides labeled for webworm control.  To be most successful treatments need to be made when webs are small in late June through July.

To read the full Penn State Extension Entomology Fact Sheet click here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Biomass Energy Gaining Ground

It appears as though woody biomass continues to gain ground.  Biomass energy produces heat and/or electricity from the direct combusion of plant material.  Penn State's own Tom Richards, Director of the Biomass Energy Center, is quoted in the article.  See news release below.

Area Business Energized by Green Initiatives, Biomass

Utica Observer-Dispatch (August 15) - Upstate New York is leading the way in the biomass industry, and local businesses are tapping in.

Old Forge Properties-including Enchanted Forest/Water Safari and Water's Edge Inn and Conference Center-recently announced a biomass-heating project and anticipates receiving a grant to cover 75 percent of the $2.2 million endeavor, President and CEO Tim Noonan said.

And earlier this month Griffiss Utility Services Corp. broke ground on an $18 million biofuel project to supply heat and electricity for tenants of Rome's Griffiss Business and Technology Park. 

Click here to read full story.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ash Borer Now in 28 Pennsylvania Counties

As I hear of updates I have been trying to get them out to my readers.  Below is the latest news on the Emerald Ash Borer.  This was reported in the Philly Daily News on August 4th.

If you want proof for how the emerald ash borer can leap across the landscape, check out the latest map from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The small insect, an Asian invasive that was first detected in Michigan in 2002, kills ash trees. As it moved through Detroit, the streets became lined with dead or dying trees, and municipalities were strapped for funds as they realized they had to cut the trees down to avoid a public safety problem.

To read the full story click here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

For Those Interested in Tree Identification

Don Leopold, Distinguished Teaching Professor and Chair Department of Environmental and Forest Biology at SUNY-ESF, and Christopher Baycura, ITS office at ESF, have a total of 135 short tree vignettes described on this You Tube site.  Each video is typically about 2 minute long, in HD video, and briefly summarizes how to identify each tree, its ecological characteristics, importance, and whatever else came to mind.

They've covered most of the trees that one would encounter in the woods or in landscapes in upstate NY and throughout the Northeast, that are cold hardy in Central New York.  They include both native and non-native species as well as many western US tree species. These vignettes are also all available for free on i-Tunes.