Join Us for a Winter Nature Walk!

Thursday, December 28, 2-4 p.m. – Winter Walk and Tree Identification, Ducktrap River Preserve, Lincolnville:  District Forester Morten Moesswilde will lead a walk focusing on winter ecology, land use history, and how to identify trees and woody shrubs in winter. Meet at the Ducktrap Preserve Trailhead (in Google Maps) on Route 52, 0.7 miles south of North Cobbtown Road/Van Cycle Road . Thanks to Coastal Mountains Land Trust for hosting this event on their preserve! Parking is extremely limited – please carpool if you can.

The event is next in our series Working with Your Woods, a collaboration of Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Maine Forest Service. These short tours and workshops are open to landowners, foresters, loggers, and others interested in the stewardship of small woodlands. The tours will offer a brief, two-hour introduction to different properties, landowners, and topics related to the forest. As always, everyone is welcome to join us, get to know some of the interesting woodlands of Waldo County, and ask questions. Note that during the winter most events will start at 2 p.m. to give us enough daylight!

Save the dates for more Working with Your Woods tours:

Thursday, January 25, 2-4 p.m. – Winter Timber Harvesting

Late February (Date TBA)  – Maple Sugaring for the Small Woodlot Owner

See our website calendar for updates on these events.

 

Moths in Snow, Let the Maine Forest Service Know!

Male winter moth. Photo: Bo Zamba

Invasive Species Spotlight: The Winter Moth

The invasive winter moth defoliation was first recorded in Maine in 2012 and now the moths have been detected from Kittery to Mount Desert Island. The larvae (caterpillars) of winter moth feed on the leaves deciduous trees and shrubs such as oaks, maples, apples and blueberries, in early spring. Heavy defoliation for several consecutive years leads to branch dieback and tree mortality. Winter moth defoliation has contributed to tens of thousands of acres of oak mortality in Massachusetts and now there is oak mortality in Cape Elizabeth.

Entomologists at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Maine Forest Service (MFS) are gearing up for winter moth with two initiatives. On Wednesday, November 29th they will be setting out parasitic flies (Cyzenis albicans) in South Portland as part of a biocontrol project to control the invasive winter moth (Operophtera brumata). The MFS is also encouraging the public to report winter moth sightings through an online surveyhttp://www.maine.gov/dacf/wintermothsurvey.      – MFS

For more information: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/documents/winter_moth.pdf

http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/invasive_threats/index.htm#wm

Teacher Resources added to our website!

We have added many useful links to resources teachers can use in the classroom when teaching about agriculture, nature and other land-based topics. The page also has information on new programs for teachers available in Waldo County. Check out the new section here.

Invasive Species Spotlight: Japanese Barberry

You can often find Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) right in your own yard or nearby, as it has been a popular landscape plant for many decades. It is now banned from being sold in Maine, however, as it is highly invasive in our forests and can form dense stands that prevent trees and other native plants from growing. As deer and other herbivores prefer other plants, it gets a competitive boost from our large deer population. Fall is a good time of year to see the bush, as it is sporting many tiny, oblong red fruits hanging along its thorny branches. It also has very small, teardrop-shaped leaves (see photo). Barberry has also been implicated in increased incidence of tick-borne Lyme disease–see this video for more information: https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Expert-Suggestions-for-Removing-Japanese-Barberry–448183243.html.

If you own forest or fields, taking time to survey your land for this noxious bush and removing it is worth the effort before it becomes a big job to get rid of it. The plant can be pulled by a tractor with a brush chain, or dug out by hand, which is best done after cutting it just above ground level with a brush cutter or loppers to avoid handling the thorny branches. It is also easily killed by a foliar application of herbicide (Follow directions on the label and applicable laws when using herbicide).

Related plants such as reddish cultivars of barberry and common barberry (Berberis vulgaris) are also considered invasive and are banned from being sold in Maine.

If you want to replace barberry in your landscaped area, many attractive native bushes offer color and interest similar to barberry, including American cranberry, also called highbush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) and Virginia rose (Rosa virginiana).

For more information, visit the Maine DACF website, which includes a Japanese barberry identification guide as well as tips and videos on how to get rid of it:  http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mnap/features/invasive_plants/berberis.htm. 

Japanese barberry can dominate a forest understory.

Planting Chestnuts in Waldo County

WCSW has joined the effort to support the work of the American Chestnut Foundation to develop a hybrid chestnut tree resistant to chestnut blight. This summer, our interns and a volunteer planted four trees which will be carefully monitored for health and resistance in the coming years. To learn more about the project, check out the American Chestnut Foundation in Maine.