Redheaded Pine Sawfly Neodiprion Lecontei
The redheaded pine sawfly is a common and natural forest pest of red pine forests in Ontario. It can cause serious havoc in young red pine plantations, many of which are located on private land and have received a significant amount of investment on behalf of landowners. Red pine is selected for planting since it is easy to establish in an open field environment and can be effectively managed through a series of plantation thinnings for forest products, such as decking lumber and hydro poles.
Dog-strangling vine in Ontario: Caterpillars to the rescue!
By Naomi Cappuccino, Carleton University
Dog-strangling vine (DSV), also known as pale swallow-wort, was introduced from Europe in the late 1800s. DSV has become a highly invasive weed in the Ottawa Valley, Toronto area and elsewhere in eastern North America. DSV is native to the grasslands of European Russia and Ukraine. Although it is a rare species in its homeland, in North America it forms extensive, dense mats of intertwined stems that choke out other vegetation. It thrives in a variety of habitats including hedgerows, fields and woodlots. Once it has invaded an area, it is extremely difficult to eradicate.
By Peter Hill, Haldimand Chapter
Our little heaven is in Haldimand County, Carolinian Canada country! It’s long and narrow and of the 80+ acres (I still haven’t converted to hectares), some 30 acres at the southern end is wooded. It’s a nice mix of hardwood species with some conifers thrown in. It has vernal pools, wetland and a slightly rolling nature. On the east side it is adjacent to our neighbour’s large 20-year-old white pine plantation, and the total interconnected forest through several properties must run to over 300 acres.
We don’t live on the property – it is some 35 km away from where we live – so it is not easy to regularly monitor what is going on. But our family enjoys spending time in the woods, listening to thesilence nature provides in the middle of a concession and having a BBQ/picnic.
Nine years ago, in 2005, our Haldimand chapter members organized a plant at our place, and on the last week of April we machine planted several thousand seedlings in the 10-acre meadow to the north of the existing forest. Unfortunately, in that year, it was the weekend on which a six-week drought started, and we lost all the trees with the exception of some 20 tenacious white pines.
One of the problems in our part of Haldimand is the notorious Haldimand clay soil. It is heavy, dense and like adobe brick when dry. I dare say that you could use a clod of it to hammer a nail into a board. Had the soil been more loamy, it might have continued to hold the much-needed moisture during this dry spell. But it isn’t loam and it didn’t.
The loss of all these trees which involved so much effort and cooperative spirit among our chapter’s members took a great mental toll; I was so dispirited that I didn’t even think of trying again until last year, when Paul Robertson of the Niagara chapter listened to my story and suggested a replant.
This brings me to the value of belonging to the OWA. I have been involved with the Haldimand chapter, officially called the Haldimand & Area Woodlot Owners’ Association, from its start in 1997. I have been active on its board of directors, and this involvement has given me a wealth of knowledge and a load of experiences that have enriched my life. I have met inspiring people, like Paul, and visited places I would never have been to and have enjoyed the company of others who have similar interests. None of this would have happened if I had merely paid my annual fee and gone my own way without involving myself.
Anyway, back to the planting. Paul, who is a professional forester and owner of Trees Unlimited, took a look at the meadow which we had planted before and reported that there was a very large common buckthorn infestation which had to be removed as soon as possible and prior to any planting ideas I had. We wrote up a contract, and he and his associates started work in the spring of 2014.
The buckthorn had grown quite high. I might have caught it much earlier if I had ventured farther into the meadow over the years, but our activities were largely confined to the woodlot itself.
You can see by the height of the people in the photo that some buckthorn had grown to over 10 feet. A chainsaw was used to cut the buckthorn down at ground level, and then a potent herbicide, Garlon, was sprayed on the cut. Very little was needed to achieve dieback.
The tops had to be removed, and they were piled high in the centre of the meadow in a large temporarily flooded swale. The plan was to burn this later in the season. This removal process took a full day to complete.
Dan Romanoski, a member of our chapter, did the work with a tractor that was equipped with a front end loader and a bush hog attached on the rear end. The bush hog was used to clear some of the lesser vegetation in preparation for the plant.
Later, in May, the tree-planting crew arrived with their load of 5,600 seedlings. By this time, the huge pile of tops from the buckthorn had diminished and the spring flooding had receded, leaving a clear area to plant. As well, the treated basal areas of the buckthorn had started to degrade. The dark rims around the edges can be seen in the photo.
Again, it took a full day to plant the meadow, and the progress can be seen in the photos of the activity. The meadow is clear, and several lines of flags were paced out to guide the tractor operator to follow straight lines.
The seedlings were sorted by species and selected for planting as the terrain dictated: some species in the lower areas and others in the higher areas.
Of course, it is important to follow up on plantings to check on progress and problems. One of the problems we had had was that of ATV riders crossing the meadow. So we wrote a letter to all our neighbours indicating that we had just planted the field and that we’d appreciate their cooperation in not travelling over it. I am glad to say that we no longer have that problem, and we are thankful to our neighbours for their cooperation. Now all we need is similar help from the deer and voles not feeding on the seedlings this coming winter!
A check-up in mid-July saw the seedlings in good shape with a high survival rate – Paul’s estimate is 96 percent. I have made recent surveys (September and October), and everything seems to be in order.
All in all, this has been an interesting and valuable experience, with the weather cooperating by providing rain when needed over the summer. So the prognosis is good, but the story is not over, for I hope that the first winter is just as kind to the seedlings as the summer was.
One of the signs that spring has finally arrived is the melting of snow and the emerging green growth that begins to poke through the forest floor. The ostrich fern Matteuccia struthiopteris is one of spring’s early risers. Named after the Ancient Greek struthio meaning ostrich and pterion meaning wing, the common and scientific names refer to the large, feather-like shape of the fern. The curled crosiers that emerge in the spring are fittingly called fiddleheads.
Prior to massive European-style agricultural development, the most productive lands in east-central Ontario were rich deciduous forests. Oaks, butternuts, beech, hickories, black walnuts, chestnuts and hazels were common and were often substantial food resources for many forest dwellers. However, modern Ontarians praise their forests mostly for white pine and sugar maple and have forgotten or do not know all the rest of the remarkable species rarely seen on woodlots and in provincial parks. They almost disappeared from our landscapes and may become extinct if we do not boost the propagation potential of remaining populations or even individual majestic nut-bearing trees.
Wetlands are lands that are saturated with water long enough to cause the soil to become waterlogged, and the growth of water-loving or water-tolerant plants to occur. Wetlands are transitional habitats, often forming the connection between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. They can occur where the water table is at or close to the surface, in low-lying locations, or along the edges of lakes and rivers. Many wetlands are permanently flooded, while others flood only periodically in the spring or fall. You can often walk through such areas in the summer without ever getting your feet wet!
by Lynn J. Landriault
Historically, southern Ontario was covered by forests interspersed with lakes, wetlands, grasslands, and other open areas. The natural landscape has changed dramatically as a result of agricultural practices and urban development. In many areas, private woodlots are the only remaining forests, and are critical for maintaining tree diversity and providing habitat for wildlife that require forest cover. Thoughtful, well-informed management approaches can result in woodlots that provide habitat for a wide range of forest-dependent wildlife species, while providing owners with a host of other benefits, including economic benefits in the form of wood products.
By Paula Vopni and Bruno Pretto
Woodlot owners are familiar with the many colourful and delectable mushrooms that emerge from the forest floor after spring and autumn rains. These mushrooms are much sought after, and wild mushroom gathering and cooking are delightful and rewarding activities. While these “earth” mushrooms, such as chanterelles, morels, and truffles, are ephemeral and difficult to cultivate, there is a whole category of more reliable “wood” mushrooms that grow on trees and fallen logs in natural woodlands. These wood mushrooms can be purposefully cultivated in a controlled manner. This article is intended to give you a basic understanding of how you can cultivate nutritionally valuable, gourmet mushrooms such as shiitake and oyster mushrooms on hardwood logs outdoors under the forest canopy. You will find some valuable references at the end of the article for further learning and for ordering mushroom growing supplies.
By Dick Lalande
Few woodlot owners take advantage of operating a commercial woodlot as a farm, and each owner and their own situation is unique This article will focus on a theoretical woodlot, Harry’s Commercial Woodlot, which is a forested, 400-acre mixed forest, some planted trees, swamp and field mix, situated in eastern Ontario.
This spring I had the pleasure of visiting Kelly’s Blueberry Farm near Bancroft. The blueberries were in bloom, and the bushes were alive with hundreds of bumble bees and other native solitary bees. Notably, the blueberry growing area on the Kelly’s farm is surrounded by forest on all sides. Few insecticides, if any, are used and all manner of wild flowering plants are allowed to flourish on hillsides and natural lands. On a tour of the woods I saw numerous native flowering plants on the forest floor and the forest edges boasted staghorn sumac, virgin’s bower, wild apples, choke cherries, pussy willows, meadow sweet, and many more flowering shrubs, all of which are nectar and pollen sources for bees. The trees themselves, although mostly wind pollinated, are visited by bees in early spring when other pollen sources are scarce and tree pollen is plentiful. My guess is that many of Ontario’s wooded areas are much the same--expanses of good foraging habitat for Ontario’s bees.
A series of case studies were developed to profile examples of responsible long term forest management in southern Ontario. Eight landowners were interviewed to gather their financial and forest information and to summarize the history of activities on their properties. Annual revenue and costs for various products (timber, fuelwood, and maple syrup) were obtained from the landowner. A representative crop model was developed for a typical crop rotation in Ontario using corn, soybeans & wheat. The model was based on crop enterprise budgets developed by OMAF, which reflect agriculture industry average costs and returns. A Present Value calculation was used to estimate the equivalent 2010 value for revenue and costs from the woodlots and agriculture crops. This paper summarizes the results of the eight cases. The results show that, during the time periods covered in this study, sound management of woodlots has provided returns that are complimentary and favourable in comparison with agricultural returns. The overall purpose for this study was to promote and document responsible management of privately owned forests.
To access the full report, click here.