The emerald ash borer (EAB) has killed millions of ash trees in Ohio, the Midwest and eastern North America. But, there are ways to help a woodlot bounce back.
For starters, scouting for invasive plants on a regular basis is a good idea, according to Kathy Smith, forestry expert at Ohio State University. Her advice is to root out any invasive plants you come across.
With fewer trees in a woods and more gaps in the canopy, “the concern is that non-native invasive species can quickly get out of hand,” Smith says. She named buckthorns, honeysuckles, garlic-mustard and kudzu as a few of the many invaders to watch for.
Woods hit by ash borers also may need selective thinning, seedling planting and changes in the owner’s management goals, Smith says, all depending on how many ash trees died and what kinds of trees remain. Harvesting timber may need to be reduced in some cases.
On St. Patrick’s Day, the carin’ for the green
Smith will speak on the topic at the Ohio River Valley Woodland and Wildlife Workshop near Cincinnati on March 17. The event offers 15 sessions on subjects including birds, bats, trees, bees, ponds, and timber and wildlife management. It’s for landowners in the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana tri-state region. It’s also for anyone else interested in conservation.
Smith, who is forestry program director in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, and specifically in CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, is one of the workshop’s organizers. She says the session she’ll give, called “Woodland Management After EAB,” will share details on regaining a “healthy, functioning forest.”
Which plants are better for animals?
Marne Titchenell, wildlife program specialist with CFAES and SENR, says invasive plants affect animals, too. Titchenell will speak at the workshop like Smith, and is also one of its organizers.
“Forest wildlife depend on native plants for food and cover,” Titchenell says. But invasive plants often will outcompete natives and make good food and cover hard to come by.
Titchenell says invasive honeysuckle shrubs, for example, offer less-nutritious berries for birds and poorer cover for their nests. The birds’ fitness and breeding success go down.
She says invasive plants can also hurt people, noting that invasive Japanese barberry shrubs are linked to increases in ticks and tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease.
Such plants can be managed successfully, but only if landowners make it a priority. She says her workshop session, “How Invasive Plants Impact Forest Wildlife,” will give tips and reasons for doing so.
Four university programs in the region are hosting the workshop: CFAES, University of Kentucky Forestry Extension, Kentucky State University and Purdue Extension Forestry and Natural Resources.
Bees, trees and stranger things
A sampling of some of the other sessions includes:
• “Native Bees” by Denise Ellsworth, director of CFAES’s Honey Bee and Native Pollinator Education program, the health of bees and other pollinators being a global concern because of recent population declines.
• “Tree Identification” by Doug McLaren of University of Kentucky Extension, proper ID being helpful in determining which trees are native or invasive, produce food for wildlife or pollinators, or are saleable as timber.
• “Ways to Manage for Bats in Your Woodland” by Tim Divoll and Joy O’Keefe of Indiana State University, the health of bats, too, being a growing concern because of white-nose syndrome.
• “10 Ways to Manage Wildlife in Your Woods” by Brian MacGowan of Purdue University Extension.
• “Timber Management Practices for Your Woodland” by Richard Cristan of Kentucky State University.
• “Weird Things in the Woods: Some Common Pests and Diseases” by Joe Boggs, educator in the Hamilton County office of CFAES’s Ohio State University Extension outreach arm.
• “Your Land, Your Legacy” by Dave Apsley, OSU Extension natural resources specialist.
See the full schedule of sessions and speakers at go.osu.edu/agenda.
Register by March 9
The workshop is at the Oasis Golf Club and Conference Center, 902 Loveland-Miamiville Road in Loveland, about 30 miles northeast of Cincinnati.
Registration for the event is $55 and includes lunch. The final deadline to register is March 9.