Updated: November 8, 2023

In our Spring 2023 issue...

Thanks to those who took our reader and subscriber short survey; based on the results, we have some changes in store for the newsletter. Read about John Hooven, our new Forest Stewardship Educator. There's also news about beech leaf disease; it's not been reported in Maryland yet, but it may be just a matter of time before it is. One of our regular features, the "Woodland Wildlife Spotlight," looks at the timber rattlesnake, and "Invasives in Your Woodlands" looks at Asian wisterias. And don't forget the events calendar and the Brain Tickler challenge. 

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Changes and More Changes

 Andrew A. Kling, Branching Out editor

 There have been a few changes in the Woodland Stewardship Education program since the last issue of Branching Out.

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Beech Leaf Disease

John Hooven, Forest Stewardship Educator & MD-DE Master Logger Program Coordinator

Beech leaf disease (BLD) is a foliar disease affecting leaves of beech trees. It was first documented in 2012 in northeastern Ohio. The Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Forest Pest Management section has been actively surveying forests statewide for the disease since 2019. The disease has not yet been documented in Maryland. However, it has been found in neighboring Pennsylvania counties of western Maryland and one county in northern Virginia adjacent to southern Maryland.

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Woodland Wildlife Spotlight: Timber Rattlesnake

Maryland is home to 27 species of snakes, most of which humans rarely see in day-to-day lives. Of these, only two, the Eastern Copperhead and the Timber Rattlesnake, are pit vipers and thus dangerously venomous to humans. The latter is the subject of this issue’s profile.

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Invasives in Your Woodland: Chinese and Japanese Wisteria

 Andrew A. Kling, Faculty Associate

As their names suggest, Chinese and Japanese Wisterias are native to Asia. They were imported in the early 1800s for landscaping and decorative purposes, as growers prized the pink and purple flowers they gave. They soon escaped from landscaping into the surrounding environment. Today, both have spread along the east coast; Chinese Wisteria is more widespread, with populations as far south as Louisiana and as far west as Wisconsin. Japanese Wisteria infestations are concentrated in the mid-Atlantic and mid-south states.

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News and Notes

The News and Notes roundup for this issue: reports on new legislation designed to benefit Maryland's forests; describes a new app that may assist land owners and managers in measuring their woods; shares how Maryland vehicle owners can assist the state's trees; relates some cautionary news about Spotted Lanternfly ; and takes note of a new report from Great Britain on the state of native and invasive plant species there.

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Planting trees helps our forests weather climate change

Craig Highfield, Forest Programs Director, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Spring is here, and there is no better time to get outside and plant new trees on your property or in your community. And opportunities to do so abound this time of year. The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and many other environmental groups are hosting tree-planting events throughout the region to improve water quality, create wildlife habitat, clean the air and enhance climate resiliency for the watershed.

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Events Calendar

June 14-15, 2023
2023 Watershed Forestry Summit
Blair County Convention Center, Altoona PA

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy are hosting the 2023 Watershed Forestry Summit. Designed for watershed forestry professionals, decision makers, and volunteers, attendees will enjoy sessions on the latest watershed forestry science, outreach and implementation strategies, funding options, and more. This year we will also be offering an optional pre-summit field trip on June 13th at an additional fee, to showcase some successful watershed forestry best management practices. For more information, visit this Eventbrite link.


June 19-21, 2023
National Conference of Private Forest Landowners
Omni Nashville Hotel, Nashville TN

Designed for family forest landowners, forest consultants, government agencies, and more, this conference provides sessions on owning and managing your forest, ecosystems services, and legacy strategies, plus additional networking opportunities. For more information and to register, go to this link: https://www.forestlandowners.com/conference/


June 21, 2023, 12 noon - 1 pm
Woodland Wednesday Webinar: "The Trouble with Oaks"

Oak trees are a fantastic tree genus for wildlife. But oaks are in decline across our region. A complex of issues collectively called "oak decline" is impacting oaks across the Mid-Atlantic region. Further, oaks are notoriously a more difficult tree when it comes to regeneration. Join UME Forest Stewardship Educator John Hooven as we explore the trouble with oaks, their benefits to our ecosystems, and the problems facing regeneration of oak trees in our forests. This webinar is free but registration is required. To register, visit: go.umd.edu/wildlifew



Branching Out, Vol. 31, no. 2 (Spring 2023)

Branching Out is the free, quarterly newsletter of the Woodland Stewardship Education program. For more than 30 years, Branching Out has kept Maryland woodland owners and managers informed about ways to develop and enhance their natural areas, how to identify and control invasive plants and insects, and about news and regional online and in-person events.