Posts

Landowner Updates – Invasive Species

Matching Funds for Non-native Invasive Plant Management in Sandy Mush

Many conservation easement and other private landowners in the Sandy Mush Community have been involved with the Sandy Mush Forest Restoration project (www.sandymushforestry.org), where partners EcoForesters and the Forest Stewards Guild are bringing resources to landowners that would like to learn more about how to manage their forestland.

Multiple agencies and businesses have given time and energy to helping Sandy Mush fight back on non-native invasive species among other resource management issues. Landowners have also taken advantage of planning and non-native invasive plant control, while others have secured EQIP funding through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

EcoForesters now has an exciting stewardship opportunity for Sandy Mush conservation easement holders. Thanks to a generous grant from Brad & Shelli Stanback, matching funds are now available for non-native invasive plant control.  We are aware of the challenges that abound for forestland owners and this is the perfect chance to double the impact on your land.

If you would like more information about this program, please contact Lang Hornthal at EcoForesters.  lang@ecoforesters.org

Invasive Species Alert – Spotted Lanterfly

Coming to a forest near you, the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an invasive insect, native to East Asia that was introduced to the United States in the early 2010’s. Spotted lanternflies attack trees and woody plants in swarms, piercing the bark and sucking the sap, leaving behind a sugary residue that encourages the growth of black sooty mold and increases susceptibility to infection. The pest poses a major threat to the outdoor recreation and agricultural industries, especially logging and fruit production. Spotted lanternfly infestations are known to exist in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia, with its range expanding rapidly with the movement of infested materials and equipment.

Identifying the spotted lanternfly

Spotted lanternfly in various life stages

Photo credit National Park Service

Adult spotted lanternflies are 1 inch long with spotted gray wings and red underwings. Juveniles are black or red with white spots, and egg masses are a light yellowish-gray. Lanternflies swarm smooth, hard surfaces like tree bark, Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) being its preferred host, walls, decks, or rocks. Visit https://spottedlanternfly.com/ for identification help.

What you can do

Infestations are best controlled by scraping and destroying egg masses before they hatch in the spring, banding trees to control recently hatched swarms, and using insecticides where appropriate. Eliminating Tree of Heaven, spotted lanternflies’ primary host, but leaving male “trap” trees is also a good practice to help prevent the establishment of the pest.

If you find a spotted lanternfly at any life stage, photograph it and report it to your State Plant Regulatory Official or County Extension Office:

NC Plant Regulatory Official

NC County Extension Offices

TN Plant Regulatory Official

TN County Extension Offices

Post-Storm Clean-up on your Conservation Easement

Recent storms have brought high winds, heavy rains, and a lot of fallen trees. Wondering what to do about all the storm debris on your conservation easement property? Many easements allow for the removal of hazardous, damaged or downed trees, but this varies on a case-by-case basis. Please be sure to consult your easement documents first, and contact stewardship staff at our office if you have any questions.

You’ll want to consider whether or not the trees/debris in question actually pose a hazard to you or your property. While not always the most visually appealing, non-hazardous dead or fallen trees can actually benefit the conservation values of your property because they recycle nutrients back to the soil and can become habitat for birds, mammals, and other critters. If a tree is damaged but not dangerous, leaving it alone may be the best course of action. You may also find that some damaged trees spring back to life, even 6 to 12 months after a storm.

For more information on identifying and removing hazardous trees, check out this article by the US Forest Service. If you are unsure about removing a tree, consult with a professional arborist or an insured tree removal service. Here’s a list of questions to consider before hiring a service.