Friday, May 30, 2014

Sawfly Spells Trouble for Pine Trees in Northwest Alabama

Loblolly pine sawflies.  photo by Karl Byrd, AFC.
Alabama Forestry Commission News Release dated May 28, 2014:
During the last few weeks, there have been numerous reports from Northwest Alabama about dying pine trees.
Most of the visible damage is occurring on reasonably healthy, mature loblolly pines, growing in well-managed stands. According to officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), the apparent culprits are larvae of the loblolly pine sawfly, feeding on and defoliating pine needles. With infestations reported in Colbert, Marion, Franklin, Lamar, and Fayette counties, the AFC is in the process of conducting aerial surveys of the affected counties. Infestation notices are being prepared for landowners where problems are detected, along with stand management recommendations. Although approximately 20 species of pine sawflies exist in the Southeast, the loblolly pine sawfly (Neodiprion taedae linearis) is the current aggressor. This particular species produces only one generation per year. Larvae attack in the spring, mainly from April to May, and host trees can be loblolly or shortleaf pines. A mature larva is approximately 1.25 inches long with a chocolate-brown colored head. The body is dull green with heavy black stripes along each side and lighter stripes below them. During an outbreak, most pines will not succumb to the infestation. The best recommendation is to wait and see if the infested pines rebound from the attack. Most will recover from this partial defoliation and start to grow lush green needles again by the summer. Because the loblolly pine sawfly is a native pest, population outbreaks are generally sporadic, localized, and widespread, significantly influenced by favorable climatic conditions and the presence of control biological agents. Natural predators such as birds, small mammals, and other parasitic organisms will prey on it, eventually reducing the population. Pathogens, viruses, and even starvation will also reduce the population. The use of insecticides is another option for controlling this defoliating pest, although cost prohibitive for large acreage. Insecticides are generally only used on infested pines in residential or commercial areas where aesthetics are an issue. If you suspect that your pine stand is under attack by the loblolly pine sawfly, please contact your local AFC office for further information or visit The mission of the Alabama Forestry Commission is to protect and sustain Alabama’s forest resources using professionally applied stewardship principals and education, ensuring that the state’s forests contribute to abundant timber and wildlife, clean air and water, and a healthy economy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Youth Fishing Derby

The annual Youth Fishing Derby will be held on Bankhead National Forest on Saturday, June 7.  Information on this year's Derby may be found at the following link, Fishing Derby Flyer.  The Winston County Natural Resources Council is one of the many sponsors of this community event.  Come celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week at the Bankhead Youth Fishing Derby!  Please call 205-489-5111 for more information.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Winston County Agriculture and 4-H Highlighted by NBC13

WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL
Bettina Boateng with Channel 13 recently visited Winston County to do a segment in the station's "Whats Working" series. As part of the story, they visited two farms in Addison. They visited Wade Andrew's broiler farm and Charles Brannon's beef and vegetable farm. They also interviewed Will Gunnin, an Addison 4-H'er.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Minutes May Meeting of WCNRC

The Winston County Natural Resource Council met at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs on May 15, 2014.  Present were Mike Henshaw, James Burnett, and Andy Baril.

The following items were discussed:
Junior Ranger Program at Payne Creek
  • Recent meetings about feral hogs: Bankhead Liaison Panel feral hog committee, and feral hog working group meeting.  Andy reported on trapping efforts in Gardendale, where the Parks and Rec department traps hogs to prevent damage to local residential landscapes and the golf course.
  • Hamner Park in Arley-there have been many recent improvements to the park by the city of Arley and Arley Women's Committee.  Andy and Mike have been involved in efforts to improve the park.
  • James reported on storm damage in Winston County.  Damage was light compared to other counties in the state.  There were some trees down and some scattered power outages in the county.
  • The Council helped sponsor the Junior Ranger Program that was held at the Payne Creek Demonstration Area.  Some photos of the event are at this link.
  • James also reported on the recent reorganization of the Department of Homeland Security into the State of Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.
Mike Henshaw, Secretary