Elm Entanglements-Tree Disease

The American elm was once dominant on the landscape, an iconic symbol of the nation’s landscape, but has unfortunately succumbed to a fungal disease introduced from Europe in the 1900s. The graceful, large elm trees widely planted in the suburban landscape for its shade, tolerance of poor soil conditions and fast growth. However, in the…

Wasp Worries

The Asian wasp, Trissolcus japonicus, has been identified in the wild at a study site in Beltsville, MD. This wasp originates from the same region as the brown marmorated stinkbug (BMSB) and preys on the eggs of those insects along with other stinkbugs. While this wasp isn’t known to sting or hurt humans in any way,…

“Soils Clean and Capture Water”

2015 has been named the “International Year of Soil” (IYS) and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) has developed activities to support educational outreach, assigning a theme for each month of the year. April’s theme is “Soils Clean and Capture Water”. Rainwater usually falls with little to no impurities, once it reaches the planet’s…

Urban Canopy Casualty

Louisville, KY recently conducted a study of its urban canopy and the results, which were just made public, are distressing to say the least. The city has been losing approximately 54,000 trees per year for the past several years, that amounts to the mortality of about 150 trees per day! Katy Schneider, co-chair of the Louisville Metro…

Ancient Palm Procreates!

Named “Methuselah” for its extreme inveterate growth, the 2,000 year old Judean date palm has produced viable offspring! Agricultural expert Elaine Solowey from the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel shared the good news with National Geographic; “He is over three meters [ten feet] tall, he’s got a few offshoots, he has…

Current Conditions

Many of us are still dealing with snow on the ground while other areas have already accumulated 1 growing degree day; growing degree days are a heuristic (an efficient problem solving approach employed to find faster, imperfect, yet sufficient solutions) tool for assessing phenology (the study of plant life cycle events and how they are…

Shrinking Spring

While it may be nicer to go without knowing this, especially as this bitter winter drags on, apparently spring is getting shorter, by 30 seconds to a minute, each year. According to scientists at the National Weather Service (NWS) and Gavin Schmidt, Director with the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, when the Earth’s axis reaches…

Puzzling Ponderosa Pines

Officials with the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) are puzzled over a seemingly new disease affecting ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa) in the region. They are discouraging culling trees with discolored needles until they can determine the underlying cause of the disease; this may mean waiting until June when the ponderosa pines produce new needles. According…

Habitat Hindrance

A recent study published in the journal Scientific Advances, investigates the effects on ecosystems of habitat fragmentation occurring around the world. This research, led by scientists at North Carolina State University and made up of more than 12 collaborating research teams globally, has found that 70% of existing forested lands are within a half mile…

Grappling with Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, is an invasive species affecting forested lands and their ecotones throughout the northeast. Agencies of Western New York state, including The Buffalo Audubon Society, Western New York Land Conservancy, Friends of Reinstein Woods and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have joined forces to improve habitats of three natural areas…