Woodland Stewardship Series: The Value of Old Growth and Mature Forest

Next in our Small Scale Woodland Stewardship series: Join us for a hike and talk in a old growth forest. Learn about what an old forest is like and how it offers many benefits from wildlife habitat to recreation and enjoyment of nature. Old forests are one of the most diverse and fascinating natural landscapes you can find in Maine, and also one of the rarest. Most forests here have experienced significant logging in the last 100 years or are recovering from other uses. Old forests often have a tremendous structural complexity, undisturbed microtopography and soil, and ancient trees in all stages of life and death. This allows for many species of birds, wildlife and plants to thrive here, including some that only live in these types of forests. Leaving some areas of forest unharvested for longer periods can create mature forest conditions that are an excellent way to support wildlife habitat and also enhance enjoyment of your woodland. Join us for a walk on the Hidden Knoll trail in the Sheepscot Headwaters Preserve to explore the beauty and habitat potential of undisturbed forest as well as unusual land features.

These events are free and open to the public. This event will be cancelled in the event of heavy rain or thunderstorms. Please check  here for cancellation Parking is often limited, so please consider carpooling if you can. For more information contact Aleta McKeage, Technical Director of Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District at 218-5311 or Morten Moesswilde, Midcoast District Forester with the Maine Forest Service, at 207.441.2895. This Maine Forest Service and WCSW event is in collaboration with Midcoast Conservancy.

When and Where: Saturday, August 25th at 2pm. Meet on the Halldale where the Hemlock Hollow Trail crosses about ½ mile south of the Penney Road, in Montville (in the Sheepscot Headwaters Preserve of the Midcoast Conservancy). Distance: 3 miles, moderate difficulty (We will not be walking fast).

 

The Emerald Ash Borer Now in Maine – Important Information

See the source image

The Emerald ash borer (EAB) was discovered in Maine for the first time in May of this year. The emerald ash borer is an invasive insect that has killed millions of ash trees across the Eastern US. In areas where it is established, nearly 100% of ash trees are killed. Ash trees are an important component of Maine forests, providing lumber and other wood products, wildlife food and habitat, and materials for First Nations basket makers. All species of ash are killed by the emerald ash borer.

Here are two good publications from the Maine Forest Service on what landowners, foresters and loggers should know about managing and planning for this serious pest:

Woods Wise Wire, June 5, 2018: Emerald Ash Borer Discovered in Maine

EAB Information for Maine Landowners

Other Information on Managing EAB Infestations

EAB Decision Guide for Landowners

Managing EAB infestations

A Checklist for Municipalities

Check out our new information page on invasive forest pests.

 

Join Us for an Invasive Plant Management Intensive

Please join us for a series of intensive workshops on terrestrial invasive plant management beginning with the May 23rd evening workshop described below. This series is geared toward conservation and land management professionals and those with a strong interest in managing invasive plants in Maine. Continuing education credits are available for pesticide applicators.

Control Methods for Terrestrial Invasive Plants

Wednesday, May 23, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Belfast Free Library, 106 High Street, Belfast, Maine

Invasive plants are a common threat to woodlands and other plant communities in the Midcoast. Identifying and controlling invasives as soon as possible after establishment is ideal, though not always possible. A variety of tools are used to control invasives. Mechanical methods may sometimes be successful, while herbicides are often also an important tool in the plant manager’s toolbox. This workshop will address how to identify common invasives, and where various control methods – mechanical or chemical – can be applied. Because herbicides can be very effective, but are sometimes misapplied, the workshop will put particular emphasis on knowing what herbicides to use, when to use them, and how to prepare and apply herbicides correctly. Health and ecological risks, ways to mitigate risk, as well as rules and regulations regarding the use of herbicides will be discussed.

Aleta McKeage is a conservation biologist with extensive practical experience, as well as Technical Director for the Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District. Amanda Devine is Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s Regional Stewardship Manager for southern and Midcoast Maine, where she has primary responsibility for managing vegetation on conserved lands. Megan Patterson is the Pesticide Program Manager for the Board of Pesticides Control. Together these presenters have years of expertise in managing invasive species and restoring plant communities throughout Maine and the northeast.

The program will be geared toward land managers, arborists, foresters, and interested landowners. It is presented through a cooperative effort of Waldo County Soil & Water Conservation District, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Maine Board of Pesticide Control, and Maine Forest Service.

 

Invasive species are the focus of additional events this spring/early summer, to give people both field and indoor opportunities to learn about this critical vegetation management issue. Participants are encouraged to attend this session on 5/23, as well additional events:

  • Thursday, May 17th, 3 p.m. – Woodland Stewardship Field tour, Deerfoot Farm, Appleton (including multiple woodland management projects including invasive species control)
  • Wednesday, June 6th, 6:30 p.m. – Invasive Species presentation by Aleta McKeage, Belfast Adult Education, Belfast High School
  • Thursday, June 28th, 3 p.m. – Woodland Stewardship Field Tour on field identification of invasive plants, Belfast

For more information, contact Morten Moesswilde, District Forester for Maine Forest Service, morten.moesswilde@maine.gov or 441-2895. No registration is required for any of these free events. Credits toward pesticide applicator licensure will be available.

 

Watch for the Browntail Moth…a Health Hazard

This cute little guy is BAD NEWS.

Browntail moth is an invasive forest pest that continues to expand its range in Maine bringing with it human health impacts. Browntail moth is now present in Waldo County and other areas of the Midcoast. The larval stage (caterpillar) of this insect feeds on the foliage of hardwood trees and shrubs including:  oak, shadbush, apple, cherry, beach plum, and rugosa rose.  Larval feeding causes reduction of growth and occasional kills valued trees and shrubs.  While feeding damage may cause some concern,  the primary concern is the impact on humans from the  browntail moth is the result of contact with poisonous hairs found on the caterpillars.  Contact of these hairs with human skin causes a rash similar to poison ivy that can be severe on some individuals, and the hairs can cause breathing problems. 

Winter to early spring is an ideal time to control it by clipping and destroying its winter webs. Arborists can be employed to clip webs you cannot reach yourself. It can also be controlled through spraying or tree injection insecticides, at different times of the year. See the MFS website below for a list of certified pesticide applicators who can treat browntail moth infestations in your area.

Cocoons are small and are often found in groups at the ends of tree branches.
Skin rash from browntail moth

See the Maine Forest Service website for an overview of browntail moth, how to identify it, history in Maine and updates on current browntail range/ areas at risk. MFS also has information about management options and ways to mitigate human health impacts. If you think you have browntail moth infestation on your property in Waldo County, please inform the District or the Maine Forest Service.

This short video clip provides a brief overview:

http://www.wabi.tv/content/news/-Be-On-The-Lookout-For-Browntail-Moth-Caterpillars-475877453.html

More information:

http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/forest_health/invasive_threats/browntail_moth_info.htm

Woodland Stewardship Series Continues – March and April Tours

Working with Your Woods:  Waldo County Woodland Stewardship Field Tours

Once the most common equipment in the woods, a small cable skidder, with a careful, skilled operator, is still a good option for sustainable harvesting.

Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District and Maine Forest Service are continuing a series of short field tours to highlight forest stewardship and conservation in Waldo County. These events are open to landowners, foresters, loggers, and others interested in the stewardship of small woodlands, and offer a brief, two-hour opportunity for observation, questions, and discussion.

Wednesday, March 21th, 3:30-5:30 p.m. (note time change) – 133 N. Main St., Morrill. Our March event will be a post-harvest review of a fall 2017 logging operation – what was the plan, how did it work, what are the results? This operation with a chainsaw and small skidder contrasts with an earlier tour involving a cut-to-length harvest system. Planning is often critical to achieving the goals you have for your woodland and for the harvest itself – here we’ll look at things in retrospective. Forester and landowner will be present to provide context. Our hosts are the folks at Century Farm in Morrill, 133 N Main St (route 131, approximately 0.8 miles north of the village center/general store). Meet at the farm.

Save the date: Thursday, April 26th, 3-5pm. Tending the Forest – Which Trees Do I Cut? The heart of forestry is vegetation management or “silviculture” – deciding if, when, and which trees to remove, in a commercial or non-commercial harvest. But what if timber production is not a priority? We’ll start with understanding how different tree species live, how forests grow, what creatures live there – and consider options for actively managing the forest cover to promote non-timber and timber values of the forest. Then we’ll do a forest “marking” exercise, in a couple of locations. Foresters often mark trees to communicate which trees are to cut as part of harvest planning – here’s a chance to participate. Hint: it’s easier before the leaves come out! Location TBA. (This presentation will be a field follow-up to a 3/19 presentation at the Belfast Library: “What’s a Woodlot, and what do I do if I have one?”)

These events are free and open to the public. They will involve being outdoors/walking in the woods and will occur rain, snow, or shine, so please dress for field conditions. If driving is hazardous due to weather, please call to confirm. Parking is often limited, so please consider carpooling if you can. For more information contact Aleta McKeage, Technical Director of Waldo County Soil and Water Conservation District at 218-5311 or Morten Moesswilde, Midcoast District Forester with the Maine Forest Service, at 207.441.2895.