Native Fungus vs. Non-native Invasive Tree: Study Begins at Wayne National Forest

Here is a link to the original article:

Photo of Ailanthus TreeNELSONVILLE, Ohio – Research beginning this week on the Wayne National Forest will explore whether a native fungus can help land managers rein in an aggressive, non-native invasive tree that has been steadily encroaching on Ohio forests, particularly in the southern half of the State.

Trial sites include the Wayne National Forest, Athens Ranger District-Marietta Unit; Tar Hollow, Perry, and Blue Rock State Forests; and the Wilds a private, nonprofit wildlife conservation center in Muskingum County. Joanne Rebbeck, a USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station scientist will inoculate Ailanthus trees with Verticillium nonalfalfae (V. nonalfalfae) to evaluate how effective it might be in controlling Ailanthus. Forty trees will be inoculated with the fungus at each of the five sites.

On the particularly hard-hit Marietta Unit, almost 3,000 seed-bearing Ailanthus located through aerial surveys across 124,000 acres, which is one reason to focus the study in this area because herbicide treatments on this large a scale would becost-prohibitive.

“Throughout Ohio, Ailanthus has the potential to replace oak and other native tree species and dramatically affect native food sources for wildlife,” said Tony Scardina, Wayne National Forest supervisor. “Research at the Wayne National Forest this summer will help assess the potential value of V. nonalfalfae as a non-chemical, sustainable means of controlling Ailanthus, which could be a first step in restoring healthy native forests.”

Photo of Joanne RebbeckThe effect of V. nonalfalfae, often called “Ailanthus wilt,” was first documented in Pennsylvania in 2002 by Penn State researchers. Rebbeck, shown here, has studied the fungus in the lab and greenhouse and has contributed to studies showing that V. nonalfalfae does not affect over 70 species of trees and shrubs, including Ohio tree species such as ash, beech, elm, hickory, and oak.

“In addition to studying the effectiveness of V. nonalfalfae as a biological control for Ailanthus, this research will also explore how native forests respond when Ailanthus is absent,” Rebbeck said. “Do native trees regenerate, or will another invasive species replace the Ailanthus?”

Ailanthus, also known as “tree of heaven,” is a native of Taiwan and central China that was introduced to the U.S. by a gardener in Pennsylvania in 1784. The tree is a master of regeneration, growing 3 to 4 feet in its first year, producing 300,000 seeds per female tree, and spreading through root systems. Ailanthus is often found in open spaces, but is increasingly found within disturbed forest sites.

“The aggressive growth habits of Ailanthus are a threat to the biodiversity of Ohio’s forests,” said Robert Boyles, Ohio Department of Natural Resources deputy director and state forester. “The results of this research could have a significant, positive, and lasting effect on forest health throughout the state.”

Overgrazing by deer is changing the face of US forests

“Scientists in the U.S. Northeast published two studies examining the impact of deer overpopulation on natural ecosystems in early March 2014. Scientists at Cornell University investigated disruptions by large numbers of deer to natural growth in developing forests. University of Pittsburgh researchers showed how large deer populations are causing an increase in garlic mustard, an exotic invasive plant, in forest understory fauna. In both instances, the root problem is overgrazing of native plants by deer that open up more growing space for invasive exotic plants that deer find unpalatable.”

Monarchs and swallowworts

This article discusses the impact of swallowworts on monarch butterflies.

Invasive Plants – Issues, Challengers, and Discoveries

The USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station is pleased to announce a new webinar series, Invasive Plants – Issues, Challenges, and Discoveries.  It is sponsored by our station’s Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems Science program.  This free interactive series, which includes seven webinars, will provide attendees with cutting-edge information about invasive plants and their management.  We encourage land managers, professionals, scientists, and other interested people to attend.  The first webinar will take place on Thursday, January 23, 2014 from 12:00pm- 1:00pm Mountain Time.




Webinar Series Schedule (All webinars will begin at 12:00pm Mountain Time)


Date Webinar Topic


January 23, 2014 Determining identity and origin of invasive plant species John Gaskin


February 27, 2014 Rapid evolution of biocontrol insects in response to climate change Peter McEvoy


March 13, 2014 Merging chemical ecology and biocontrol to predict efficacy and climate effects Justin Runyon


March 27, 2014 Hybridization in weedy species Sarah Ward


April 10, 2014 Biogeography of plant invasions Dean Pearson


April 24, 2014 Pathogen-based biological control of grassy weeds Susan Meyer


May 8, 2014 Classical biological control of weeds Sharlene Sing


Please refer to the attached flyer for details and logistics for the webinar series.

Invasive Plants Webinar Series 2014

Burning Bush: Beauty IS the beast

Check out this video about burning bush.

New Children’s Book About NNIS

I just wanted to share information about a new children’s book written by the Potomac Highlands CWPMA, “The Pests that Girdle the Home of Tucker the Turtle.”   The star of the book is Tucker, an Eastern box turtle who was born and raised in WV.  Through the telling of his story, Tucker shares the changes that he has seen as non-native invasive species have spread across his home. Spring wildflowers are disappearing, trees like native hemlocks are dying, and many strange, new critters have taken up residence.  Tucker shares his experiences with fifteen different invasive species including insects, plants, and even a fish!

I am also attaching a few pages from the book for your information: Tucker_Snippet.  More information can be found on the CWPMA’s Website at


A burning problem: burning bush

bbush1Burning bush, Euonymus alatus is a deciduous shrub that grows to 6-20 feet tall and wide.  Despite its invasive nature, it is widely available in the nursery industry and wildly popular with homeowners.  Burning bush is fast growing and easy to spread.   Burning bush can be an attractive hedge or foundation shrub in the yard, but it will also invade a variety of natural sites including high quality woodlands, wetlands and even prairies.  Once established, it forms dense thickets that displace native species and hinder natural succession.  Burning bush is native to Asia and was first introduced into the US in the 1860’s for its red fall color.  It continues to be sold and planted as an ornamental, even though it is considered one of the top invasive exotic species in the Midwest to avoid by most experts.

It has been widely planted as an ornamental for its spectacular red autumn foliage, fruits and for its tolerance to salt.  It spreads from seed, is dispersed by birds and colonizes by root suckers.  It thrives in the shade where it displaces spring wildflowers and other natives.  It is a very adaptable plant and can thrive in a variety of sites, wreaking havoc on a variety of native ecosystems.

Seedlings and young plants can be hand-pulled when the soil is moist to insure removal of the roots system.  The shallow and fibrous root systems can be removed with a spading fork and pulled with a weed wrench.  On larger plants cutting alone results in thicker, more dense re-growth.  Cutting should only be followed by painting the stump with a herbicide.

It can be effectively controlled using any of several readily available herbicides such as glyphosate (RoundUp),  tryclopyr or imazapyr.  Foliar application has proven effective in controlling these species, but requires more herbicide and can have greater impacts to non-target species.    By cutting the shrubs and painting just the stumps, burning bush and many other invasive exotics can be controlled using less chemicals.  Always read and follow the product label and understand Federal and State requirements.

While burning bush is an attractive plant, there are many more, more attractive native shrubs.  When considering planting, select native plants.  Native plants are adapted to local conditions and will usually do better over time than non-native species.  They also provide additional ecological benefits in addition to adding color and character to the yard.  There are several native plants available in nurseries with vibrant red fall color.  These include Virginia sweetspire, some viburnums, some serviceberries, black gum, Virginia creeper, hazelnut and currants.

Article by Ann Bonner


Identification and Management of Invasive Knotweeds

Techline  Invasive Plant News 09.07.2013 – Learn distinctive identification features for four invasive knotweeds and treatment recommendations based on current research.

swallow-wort – first release of a biological agent

Sep. 27, 2013 — University of Rhode Island entomologists reached a milestone in their efforts to control the invasive weed swallow-wort this month with the first release of a biological agent to fight the pest.

Jackson: Tree of Heaven not heavenly

Article from Jackson, Ohio about Tree of Heaven from the Telegram