The invasive insect known as Elm zigzag sawfly (EZS) has been confirmed for the first time in Vermont. After receiving a report of potential EZS activity in northwestern Vermont, staff from both the Forest Health program of the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) and Plant Health program of the Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (AAFM), collected larval samples from affected elm foliage in May 2023. Samples were sent to the US Department of Agriculture Plant Protection and Quarantine program for identification, and EZS has now been officially confirmed within the state.
Public reports and staff observations recorded damages across the state from Highgate to Halifax, with cold pockets and river valleys seeing the most extensive damage. Most reports of freeze damage in forests stated damage to members of the Fagaceae family, including American beech (Fagus grandifolia) and red oak (Quercus rubra) regardless of geographic location.
Vermont Woodlands Association is partnering with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation to gather more information about the geographic extent of the damage as well as the species involved.
Vermont’s Noxious Weeds Quarantine rule was adopted in 2002, and most recently amended in 2012, and is implemented by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets under its statutory authority. The rule regulates the importation, movement, sale, possession, cultivation, and/or distribution of certain plants known to adversely impact the economy, environment, or human or animal health.
Since 2017, volunteers have been collecting information on invasive plant phenology through a project called the Statewide Invasive Plant Phenology Monitoring Project (SIPPMoP). During the second full week of each month of the growing season, volunteers take note of the life stage of whatever invasive plants they see.
Invasive spindle-tree evolved in Asia and Europe and was introduced to North America most likely because of industrial uses for this woody shrub. The hard wood has historically been used to create spindles for wool, charcoal for art, and oils for soap making. More recently, this plant has become an ornamental landscaping plant.
February 20-26 is National Invasive Species Awareness Week. Each year, organizations around the country use this week to raise awareness about invasive species, the threat they pose and how to prevent their spread.
Invasive Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana and all its cultivated varieties) has been in the news this year; states across the region have been listing this species as a noxious weed – a distinction that carries with it limitations and regulations on the sale and movement of these plants.
If you spend a lot of time out on freshwater lakes, ponds, and wetlands in the Northeastern United States, you may have noticed large jelly-like masses submerged under water. These slippery, slimy masses were most likely a community of microorganisms called a bryozoan, or Pectinatella magnifica.