Virginia Cooperative Extension will be holding a Christmas Tree Primer on March 31.
Attendees will get an overview of Christmas tree production techniques; identification and control methods for common Christmas tree pests and diseases; financing and market analysis; labor and liability issues; and grower experiences in Christmas tree production. Demonstrations and presentations will be given by industry professionals and Extension faculty.
The meeting will be held at the Warrenton-Fauquier Visitor Center located at 33 Calhoun Street, Warrenton, Virginia, from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. The cost to attend is $15 and includes lunch and materials. Participants may register by contacting the Virginia Cooperative Extension Culpeper Office at 540- 727-3435 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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From soybean fields to hemlocks forests, experts from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Virginia Cooperative Extension are developing ways to deal with and control the hitchhikers, interlopers, and otherwise nasty pests known as invasive species.
Jacob Barney, assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, is just one of a team of faculty members studying invasive species and protecting Virginia producers from their destruction.
“The top 10 pests that we deal with now are non-native, and we spend lots of money to control them,” said Eric Day, an entomologist with Virginia Cooperative Extension and manager of the Insect Identification Lab in the Department of Entomology.
Meanwhile Assistant Professor Jacob Barney in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, collaboratively studies another invasive species — Johnsongrass — a weed that chokes out crops on farmland because of its fast-growing and extensive root structure.
Barney will study what makes Johnsongrass a globally successful weed and use the research to establish a model for studying other weeds and how to predict invasiveness.
Another most-wanted intruder, the brown marmorated stink bug, is an annoyance to homeowners, but the real problem is the millions of dollars in damage it causes to crops across the Mid-Atlantic region.
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Of the 10 million acres of family-owned forestland in Virginia, more than 4 million acres of it is owned by people 65 years or older. About 80 percent of these landowners envision their woodlands staying intact, in forest, and in the family; but only 3 percent have taken active steps to ensure this will happen. There are many challenges when passing that land forward to the next generation.
Extension Agent Adam Downing (center) with a family from Orange with whom he did legacy planning.
To make that transition smoother, Virginia Cooperative Extension, in close partnership with the Virginia Department of Forestry, is helping families in Virginia take the next step in preparing to pass their land to members in the family by holding a series of legacy planning workshops.
Those who have gone through the classes in said they were big help in learning the importance of planning ahead to minimize financial costs and emotional challenges that come along with securing the legacy of their land.
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Registration is now open for the Fall Forestry and Wildlife Field Tours. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the tours.
Combining education, networking, sightseeing, and good food, the Fall Forestry and WildlifeField Tours have provided the opportunity to learn about sustainable forestry management for 40 years and counting. This year’s tours, offered by Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment in collaboration with Virginia’s natural resource agencies, companies, and associations, will start on Oct. 7.
The tours offer landowners, natural resource professionals, and other interested individuals the opportunity to spend a day in the field visiting a variety of properties that are actively managed. Participants will visit private, industry, and public lands that center on multiple-use management opportunities and practices. At each tour stop, participants meet with landowners to hear their stories, learn from their experiences, and even share a meal.
Complementing the 40th anniversary of the tours, the Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program has recently created a series of videos highlighting the experiences of several participating landowners. In addition to the field tours, the award-winning program offers a number of training sessions and other resources throughout the year, including weekend retreats, short courses, online classes, and newsletters.
“We wanted to know if our programs were actually making a difference,” said Jennifer Gagnon, Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program coordinator.
This cucumber tree (Magnolia acuminata) may not be a state champion, but it has historical significance. Believed to have been planted in 1708, the tree stands on the grounds of the Violet Bank Museum in Colonial Heights, which served as General Robert E. Lee’s headquarters during the siege of Petersburg in the Civil War.
The state’s big trees might seem even a little “bigger” on the Virginia Big Tree Program’s newly redesigned website.
“The website lists information about the largest trees in Virginia,” said Eric Wiseman, associate professor of urban forestry and arboriculture and a Virginia Cooperative Extension specialist in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. He serves as coordinator of the Virginia Big Tree Program.
“We hope this redesign will encourage even more individuals to use the website,” Wiseman said. “We aimed for a simpler, intuitive layout that will be easier to use on mobile devices.” He added that updating the website in time for Arbor Day, celebrated this year on April 29, seemed appropriate.
Virginia’s big trees are those that are the largest of their species, measured by height, trunk circumference, and crown spread. The website lists the five largest trees of more than 300 different species and includes photographs of the honored trees as well as their location, the names of the individuals who nominated them, and in some cases, the name of landowner.
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