Ohio Sugarbush Highlighted by NRCS – New VIDEO

As you brush the dirt off your knees and shake the cobwebs from your head (what a crazy syrup season!), here is a new video featuring one of our state’s own maple producers – Bill & Dee Belew of Messenger Century Farm in Chagrin Falls, OH.  You’ll remember that we have highlighted the EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) and other NRCS programs (such as the Conservation Stewardship Partners program) as excellent opportunities for maple producers to improve their woods AND their operations.  This video is a marvelous example of just that.

A special thanks to Brooke DeCubellis who produced the video.  Brooke DeCubellis serves as the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) public affairs specialist in Ohio.  In this capacity, she creates and leverages communication strategies and products supporting NRCS objectives throughout the state.  She maintains effective working relationships with regional partners, highlights local producer conservation efforts and shares technical and financial resources to further natural resource stewardship within the state.  Brooke is a skilled communications professional, with more than ten years of experience in federal and state government work, specializing in media relations, public engagement, photography and videography.  Thanks Brooke for shining a light on a fine example of what Ohio sugaring is all about!

Ohio Maple Days – Spotted Lanternfly, Part II

Part I last week focused on the basics of spotted lanternfly.  What they look like, where they are, where they might be going, what to do if you see some, and more.  This week, I want to share a few initial findings (albeit preliminary results) of how spotted lanternfly impact maples.  A big thanks to Scott Weikert of Penn State Extension for relaying these great bits of information.

First let’s start with the good news.  One bright spot of optimism for most maple producers is that while monitoring efforts are seeing spotted lanternfly in the forest, the pest does not tend to have super high population densities there.  Rather, the heaviest infestations tend to be more on the edges.  That is perhaps reason to be encouraged for most maple producers, but certainly not all.  In my own mind, I would imagine a sugarbush surrounded by intact forest on all sides is at lower risk whereas a backyard sugarmaker tapping a few open-grown trees may face more of a threat.

Heavily infested silver maple trees are showing abnormal bud swelling during the fall and producing no seeds the following year.  It remains unknown what the implications are for sap quality, but anytime an insect pest interferes with a tree’s reproductive cycle there is cause for legitimate concern.

It is certainly worth noting that initial data suggest that spotted lanternfly favor silver maple more than red maple.  As sugar maple does not constitute much of the forest composition where spotted lanternfly infestations are heaviest in Pennsylvania, it would be conjecture to rank sugar maple’s preference to other maples just yet.  As the pest moves into more localities, more will be learned.

Finally, some researchers observed that feeding on red maples tends to be extremely intense and concentrated to just a few weeks in the fall.  While no actual mortality has been observed in maples at this time, discoloration of the xylem in branches is a suspected result of heavy feeding.  It is uncertain what that damage means for future sap flow, but it stands to reason that discolored wood may inhibit sap flow if the response is similar to when a tree compartmentalizes the wound of a taphole or other injury.

While this post leaves far more open gaps in our understanding of how spotted lanternflies may impact the maple resource in the future, it is a start.  As the pest continues to infest new locations and studies gather more data, we will be better equipped to anticipate and combat impacts from this novel forest pest.

For more information, see Part I from last week or check out Penn State’s resources for spotted lanternfly to learn more.

If you see spotted lanternfly or other invasive species, please report your findings!  That is the single best way to improve the efficiency of any efforts to fight back.  Click here for more information on reporting through the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN).

Ohio Maple Days – Spotted Lanternfly, Part I

Despite significant changes to the timing and schedule of Ohio Maple Days not to mention the ever-evolving challenges presented by COVID, we had a great turnout in Ashland back on December 11th.  A subset of maple producers, about 20 in number, also enjoyed an excellent syrup grading workshop on Friday night the 10th.

During the morning session, Amy Stone (an Extension educator from Lucas County) presented on spotted lanternfly and was kind enough to share her graphic-heavy slide deck with us.  You might consider this a Part I post and I’ll follow-up with a Part II next week.

This half is all about spotted lanternfly.  What do they look like, where did they come from, where are they now, where might they be going, why you should care about them, and most importantly – how to report spotted lanternfly if you do spot them.  Click here to access Amy’s whole slide deck from her presentation on 12/11/2021.

Spotted Lanternfly (Amy Stone) Slide Deck from Ohio Maple Days December 2021

An infestation of adult spotted lanternflies is pretty hard to miss or mistake for something else.

The adults are preceded by 4 instars of developing maturity.  Each stage has a diagnostic “look” and the season when they are active.  Familiarizing oneself with the life cycle and knowing how spotted lanternfly will manifest depending on the time of year is key for solid monitoring.

At first glance you may only notice the one egg mass but look up and you’ll see a second.  Egg masses immediately after a female lays is fairly easy to see, but with passing time, the shiny coat over the egg mass fades and the mass become far more cryptic and camouflaged.

Spotted lanternfly was first detected in Jefferson County, OH, but recently Cuyahoga County has been added to the list of known OH positives.

For a comprehensive dive into spotted lanternfly, dig through the slide deck.  It’s a great exploration of this novel invasive forest pest.

Part II next week will focus on some specific preliminary findings on how spotted lanternfly are believed to be impacting maples.  Because of where spotted lanternfly infestations are currently heaviest, most of the results are from Pennsylvania and most applicable to red and silver maples, but you’ll want to tune back in to hear what some researchers – including several from Penn State University – are starting to learn about the maple – spotted lanternfly interaction.

If you see spotted lanternfly or other invasive species, please report your findings!  That is the single best way to improve the efficiency of any efforts to fight back.  Click here for more information on reporting through the Great Lakes Early Detection Network (GLEDN).

Spotted Lanternfly on the Move

BAD BUG NEWS ALERT!!  This is not exactly the sort of update we are excited to relay.  Spotted lanternfly was detected last week in Cuyahoga County.  More details can be found at this link.

From a broader perspective, this is a great chance to remind producers that we will addressing the spotted lanternfly issue directly at the December 11th Ohio Maple Days event in Ashland.  And not just talking about spotted lanternfly either – rather, the focus will be to equip Ohio’s maple producers to be trained early detectors of this nasty forest invasive insect pest that poses a very real threat to maples and other native Ohio trees.

Past posts and webinars are also available on spotted lanternfly:

 

Maple Story Map – Students Are Key to Maple Success

Given that Ohio State is a university and has well over 60,000 students enrolled, making the statement – “students were involved” – seems like a needless statement of the obvious.  But in the case of the Mansfield Maple program and larger Ecolab initiative, the fact needs to be explicitly stated.  Students have been heavily involved.

The maple program itself is the fruition of a student report inventorying the Mansfield campus’ forest resources back in 2013.  A simple charge to “explore potential of the mature forest for a maple sugarbush” and subsequent student effort to do the project scoping have led to a whole host of tangible outcomes, not the least of which is a re-invigoration of the School of Environment and Natural Resources’ (SENR) commitment to non-timber forest products.

And student involvement has continued to this very day.  Ecolab student interns assisted in the Mansfield sugarbush installation and have participated annually in tapping and other system maintenance tasks.  Students have performed invasive species management in the maple stand and catalogued each individual tapped tree throughout the sugarbush.  A student research team helped establish the complimentary crop tree release demonstration area that targets sap-producing maples as one of the focal stand management objectives.  And last year, a Capstone group of SENR seniors explored new ways to assess and management for sugarbush tree health and vigor.  The deliverable outcome of their project was a well-crafted Story-Map linked here.  We encourage you to view the high-quality work of our Forestry and Wildlife seniors and learn about crop tree management, the threat of invasive plant species to our native biodiversity, and the potential effects of climate change on future sugarbush resilience.

Students have been an integral part of making OSU Maple a success.  By purchasing maple syrup and showing your support of the program, you can make sure student support remains a centerpiece of the initiative moving forward.  We are proud of our students and are thrilled to know that Ohio’s maples will be in safe hands for future generations.

Author: Gabe Karns

Spotted Lanternfly in Ohio

Even though it is 2020, there is still lots for which to be thankful.  That said, spotted lanternfly’s detection in the state isn’t on the list of items to be grateful.  As many have likely heard already, Jefferson County registered Ohio’s first confirmed detection of spotted lanternfly in late October.

Since then, agencies and officials have been scrambling to assess and monitor the location searching for additional evidence of the forest pest.  Beth Burger of the Columbus Dispatch wrote a nice article yesterday providing more details about the initial detection site and subsequent actions taken to lock down further spread.

Ohio State’s CFAES website just released an informative article too about Ohio’s most recent member of the state’s confirmed invasive species list.

We have already been urging vigilance among maple producers and woodland owners due to the species’ sweet tooth for the Acer genus.  Now your focused attention is even more important!  Should you discover evidence of spotted lanternfly, you MUST report sightings to Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website or the Great Lakes Early Detection Network for invasive and noxious species.

You can expect to see more about the spotted lanternfly in coming months as the second ACER grant award contains support to equip and empower Ohio’s maple producers to be active participants in spotted lanternfly surveillance.  In the meantime, be thankful for Ohio’s fleet of professional agencies and organizations who are actively working to combat spread of spotted lanternfly and other invasive species to protect our state’s great forests.

Author: Gabe Karns

Spot the Spot: Friday in the Woods Webinar

Amy Stone, OSU Extension educator for Lucas County, Ohio, will be presenting a webinar on November 13th from 10 AM-noon on the spotted lanternfly.  From state and national spotted lanternfly updates to the latest on host plant distributions and invasive pest insect research – you won’t want to miss this one.

Maple producers across the region should be informed on this invasive forest pest and be part of the solution to ensure early detection and rapid quarantine limits damage on Ohio’s forests.

The webinar is part of the Friday in the Woods series hosted by OSU’s Woodland Stewards ProgramYou can register here – FREE.  ISA and SAF credits are available.

Ohio Maple Producers Will Be KEY Watchdogs for Spotted Lanternfly

As the weather shifts from the dog days of summer to the cool feel of fall, maple producers begin ramping up their activity in the maple woods to prepare for the upcoming syrup season.  Unfortunately, there is a new forest pest with a sweet tooth for trees in the Acer genus – the spotted lanternfly – that producers should keep an eye out for this fall.  And if your woods has any tree-of-heaven nearby, you should be extra vigilant and watchful for the spotted lanternfly.  While a spotted lanternfly infestation has not been confirmed in Ohio yet, they are documented in Pennsylvania just across the state line.  The issue is urgent!!

Here are some great resources that relay the importance of spotted lanternfly surveillance and train you how to be an early detection participant in the fight against spotted lanternfly.  Our maple woods may depend on it!!

“Spot the Spot” Article in Buckeye Yard & Garden Online (Authors: Amy Stone, Thomas deHaas)

Spotted Lanternfly OSU Extension Fact Sheet (Authors: Jamie Dahl, Ashley Kulhanek)

Great Lakes Early Detection Network app for reporting invasive species