Alabama Forestry Field Day – November 2

Alabama Forestry Field Day – November 2

Join Alabama Cooperative Extension for the 2018 Forestry Field Day at Geneva State Forest Lake near Kinston, Alabama on Friday, November 2nd.  The following topics will be covered:

  • Logging Equipment Cleaning
  • Streamside Management Zones
  • Wild Hog Effects on Water Quality
  • Invasive Plant Management
  • Stream Crossings & Forest Roads
  • Alabama Timber Markets

Download the printer friendly flyer:  2018 AL Forestry Field Day flyer.  Lunch will be provided, but registration is required by calling (334) 684-2484. 

Directions to Geneva State Forest Lake (GPS Coordinates: 31.141655, -86.184714)

From Samson\Geneva\Dothan: Follow AL HWY 52 west from Samson (4.4 miles). Turn left onto AL HWY 54 and travel 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Forest Area Road and follow for 2.9 miles. Then turn right onto Forest Lake Road and go 1.6 miles to reach the lake.

From Andalusia\Opp: Follow the Kinston Highway\AL HWY 52 southeast from Opp (14 miles). Turn right onto AL HWY 54 and travel 1.4 miles.  Turn right onto Forest Area Road and follow for 2.9 miles. Then turn right onto Forest Lake Road and go 1.6 miles to reach the lake.

Mature Longleaf Pine habitat. Photo by Judy Biss

Weed of the Week: Arrowleaf Sida “Teaweed”

Weed of the Week: Arrowleaf Sida “Teaweed”

Arrowleaf Sida is commonly known as teaweed, ironweed, or southern sida. It is a spring emerging broadleaf commonly found in pastures, pinelands, hammocks, and disturbed areas. Arrowleaf Sida is a native plant found from South Carolina, throughout Florida, and as far west as Mississippi. It has drought resistance and adaptability to a wide variety of soil types. While teaweed is an issue for agricultural production, causing reduced yields, researchers have been exploring its benefits as a wildlife food source. Species benefiting include quail, turkey, and white-tail deer, with protein levels around 16%.

For help identifying weeds, or developing a control plan for your operation, please contact your county extension agent. 

For more information on this topic please see the following UF/IFAS Publication: Weed Management in Pastures 


Land Clearing Can Lure Ambrosia Beetles

Land Clearing Can Lure Ambrosia Beetles

Figure 1. Ambrosia Beetle Damage. Credit: Ray Bodrey, UF/IFAS Gulf County Extension.

Questions come into the Extension Office from time to time about why sawdust is accumulating around remaining trees on recently cleared or developed tracks of forested land. The sawdust is more than likely a sign that ambrosia beetles are on the offensive.

The ambrosia beetle, Platypus spp., is a member of a large family of species known as Platypodidae. Most species are found in the tropics, with very few species found in Florida. This beetle is a type of boring insect, which are attracted to recently killed trees with high moisture content. Adult males initiate the boring into the tree and develop galleries, which are tunnel like mazes just under the bark layer. Males are joined by a single female during this event. Pheromones are released at this point, signaling more ambrosia beetles to descend into the area, which in turn causes simultaneous attacks on trees. Mated pairs tunnel throughout the sapwood, but rarely into the heartwood. The tunnels are where larvae are produced. Adults eventually emerge from the original entry hole.

Due to the ambrosia beetle’s natural attraction to freshly cut dead wood, the beetle can be a pest to the lumber industry, causing economic damage. It is also an issue when thinning trees for housing developments. Equipment scrapes on tree trunks can lead to a slow demise and in turn attract ambrosia beetles, which accelerates the demise. This can lead to quick, unwanted tree death in real estate landscapes. The beetle is a common culprit of tree death, simply because of the number of beetles typically found in dead or dying trees. However, it is very rare for the ambrosia beetle to attack healthy trees. Even if ambrosia beetle damage on a healthy tree has been documented, it is quite likely that the tree was already under duress. Excess water is often the underlying natural issue.

Typically, there is no active management protocol, as the beetle attacks dying or dead trees. However, land clearing is a typical cause of why ambrosia beetles thrive in some areas. Trees can be accidentally damaged by equipment during this process. Equipment scrapes and trenching activities that damage the root systems are just some examples.

For more information please contact your local county extension office.

More information on this topic can be found in the following the UF/IFAS publications:

A Guide to Florida’s Common Bark and Ambrosia Beetles

Ambrosia Beetles Platypus spp.

An ambrosia beetle Xyleborus affinis Eichhoff, 1868


Weed of the Week: Cogongrass

Weed of the Week: Cogongrass

Cogongrass will take over native or cultivated vegetation, as can be seen in this hay field. Photo credit: Doug Mayo

Cogongrass was accidentally introduced into Alabama in the 1900’s, but intentionally brought to Florida in the 1930’s as a potential forage and soil stabilizer. Currently it can be found in 73 countries and on every continent. Since being introduced Cogongrass has spread to nearly every county in Florida, and today is considered a major pest issue. This warm-season perennial grass species, has an extensive root system, with 60% of the plant’s total biomass underground, which makes control very difficult.

For assistance with weed identification or for developing a control plan for your operation, please contact your local  county extension agent

For more information on this topic please see the following UF/IFAS Publication:

Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) Biology, Ecology, and Management in Florida Grazing Lands


Laurel Wilt Fungus (Raffaelea lauricola) Reflects the Spread of Redbay Ambrosia Beetles

Laurel Wilt Fungus (Raffaelea lauricola) Reflects the Spread of Redbay Ambrosia Beetles

This tiny thread of sawdust is an indication of an ambrosia beetle infestation. Photo by Les Harrison

Ambrosia beetles are known for attacking various woody plants, causing some limb and stem dieback and sometimes plant death. There are at least 30 species of ambrosia beetles in Florida, several of which are non-native.

Typically ambrosia beetles have a symbiotic relationship with a fungus which the beetles carry in their bodies. When the beetles bore into the sapwood of the host tree, the galleries formed from the beetle boring are inoculated with the fungal spores.

As these beetles continue their damage the spores germinate and infect the host tissue. The fungus flourishes in the galleries and adjacent sapwood, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients in the tree.

As the fungus grows the beetles and their larvae feed on it and spread the new spores. It is a perfect example of a self-sustaining species which grows its own food.

Most ambrosia beetles attack trees and shrubs which are already stressed, dying, or dead. Plant stress may have been initiated by drought, flooding, freezing temperature damage, wind damage, or poor cultural practices. It is nature’s way of renewing itself with the strong and productive.

Unfortunately, some ambrosia beetles, such as the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle attack healthy trees. Of additional importance, the fungus which causes laurel wilt accompanies this beetle species and often causes tree death.

The Redbay Ambrosia Beetle (Xyleborus glabratus) is very small, about 2 millimeters in length, or 15 could fit head to toe in an inch. They are dark brown to black, cylinder-shaped beetles, similar to other ambrosia beetle species native to Florida.

The adult female Redbay Ambrosia Beetle has a special pouch in its mouth which transports the spores of the fungus responsible for laurel wilt disease (Raffaelea lauricola). When these beetles bore into the wood, forming galleries, the spores transported in its mouth and on its body infect the tree.

As this pathogen germinates, it colonizes the sapwood of the host plant by using the tree’s circulatory system to spread the disease. Unfortunately, the tree is usually doomed at this point.

The Redbay Ambrosia Beetle is native to east Asia, but the origin of the destructive fungus accompanying the beetle is not known. The beetle is believed to have been inadvertently released into Georgia in 2002 through infested packing materials, possibly wooden crates and pallets.

Several species of bay trees, sassafras, and avocado trees are all potential hosts for this imported pest. At present there are no registered fungicides for avocado which will control laurel wilt.

The best control measures are to not bring in wooden pallets and other similar products which may carry the tiny beetles, their larvae and the fungus. Firewood from distant sources is another potential carrier of this problem species.

The publication Redbay Ambrosia Beetle-Laurel Wilt Pathogen: A Potential Major Problem for the Florida Avocado Industry provides more information on this developing situation.


Friday Feature: Portable Chainsaw Sawmill

Friday Feature: Portable Chainsaw Sawmill

This week’s feature video highlights a handy innovation for farmers and ranchers.  A tool that allows you to uses your ladder and chainsaw as a portable sawmill.  Norwood Sawmills makes the PortaMill that landowners can use to convert logs into valuable lumber for less than $1,000.  With the PortaMill, you use your chainsaw as the sawhead and your household extension ladder as the track.  The PortaMill can convert up to 14” logs into square beams and lumber up to 8” wide.  Check out the video below, or go to their website for more details: PortaMill PM14 Chainsaw Sawmill



If you enjoyed this video, you might want to check out the featured videos from previous weeks:  Friday Features

If you come across a humorous video or interesting story related to agriculture, please send in a link, so we can share it with our readers. Send video links to:  Doug Mayo