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Shrubs for Wildlife – Oceanspray

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 1:10pm

By Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension – Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties

If one of your land management goals is to provide wildlife habitat, you’ll want to consider keeping a mix of native shrub species on your property. Shrubs provide a host of services to wildlife, including shelter or cover, nesting space, and food from their twigs, leaves, flowers, and fruit. With thought given to species selection and location, retaining existing shrubs or planting them can benefit wildlife without compromising timber growth or forest operations. This is the third article in our Shrubs for Wildlife series (see others here and here). Each article highlights one species that benefits wildlife in northwest Oregon forests.

Species Name: Oceanspray

Description: A medium to large shrub, with long arching stems and up to 15 feet tall. The leaves are 1 to 3 inches long, lobed with a central vein and arranged alternately on the stem (center photo). The tiny cream-colored flowers grow in dense clusters at the branch tips and are present in late spring to mid-summer (top photo). The dried flowers persist into wintertime. Oceanspray’s name comes from the appearance of these flower clusters.

Wildlife Value: Oceanspray is beneficial to songbirds who use the shrub for cover. The flower clusters attract bees and other pollinators. Looking closely at the blooming clusters, I found them teeming with tiny insects (bottom photo). Besides pollinating the shrubs, these insects are going to be somebody’s lunch – those songbirds, perhaps.

Management Considerations: A shade tolerant shrub, oceanspray is found in the understory of mixed hardwood forests and in gaps of mature, open conifer stands. When harvesting, consider carrying oceanspray over to the next rotation by designating shrubs to be protected during harvest. Retaining clumps of shrubs rather than dispersed will reduce competition with planted trees.

If you are interested in learning more about creating wildlife habitat on your property, check out these publications:

Family Forests and Wildlife: What You Need to Know from Woodland Fish and Wildlife; and

Wildlife in Managed Forests: Early Seral Associated Songbirds from Oregon Forest Resources Institute.

 

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Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Matteson Forest Update

Fri, 07/08/2016 - 1:59pm
Stephen Fitzgerald flagging a stake found on the presumed property line

By Stephen Fitzgerald, OSU Research Forests Director and Extension Silviculture Specialist, and Amy Grotta, OSU Extension Forestry & Natural Resources – Columbia, Washington & Yamhill Counties

Management activities are underway at the Rubie P. Matteson Demonstration Forest near Hagg Lake. As any new property owner can attest, the first year of property management entails a mix of addressing immediate needs and thinking about longer-term goals and plans.  This year, our activities are focused on mapping, inventory and rehabilitation as well as readying the property for public use. Below is a summary of recent and ongoing projects on the forest.

Tree blazes face in the direction of the property line.

Last summer, we began walking the property lines to look for and flag old survey markers and corners. We found some old stakes and traces of blazes on trees and re-marked them to assist future surveyors. We will be doing a property line survey (with new blazes) in 2016-17.

Last fall, roadside spraying occurred along the main road into the property to control invasive plants. Backpack site preparation spraying was also done in three areas totaling 11 acres that had been harvested prior to OSU ownership.

Tree planting crew at work in January 2016

 

These three harvest areas were replanted this winter as the reforestation success prior to OSU ownership was poor.

We hired OSU forestry student Corey Thompson to help with our forest inventory. Corey is from Clatskanie and has previously worked in his family’s logging business.  Corey designed an inventory grid and this spring and summer has been out at the forest establishing plot centers. Inventory data collection will follow.

A parking lot will be constructed this summer. The purpose is to provide parking for tours and classes and to keep vehicles in the parking area to avoid transporting invasive weed seed into and from the property. For the parking area we are making use of a small patch cut (harvested prior to OSU ownership) located just inside the main gate. The parking lot will include putting down fabric and rock.

OSU student Corey Thompson in the 30-year-old even aged stand. Thinning is needed here!

Looking ahead to 2017, we would like to do a cut-to-length thinning in the 30-year-old plantations which comprise about 1/3 of the property. We intend to demonstrate various spacings and thinning intensities in this area. We will be using the inventory data collected this year to help design our thinning prescriptions. We’ll share that plan as it comes together in a future blog.

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Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Shrubs for wildlife: Snowberry

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 10:11am

By Brandy Saffell and Amy Grotta, OSU Forestry & Natural Resources Extension

Snowberry leaves and fruit in the fall. Photo: Pat Breen, OSU

If one of your land management goals is to provide wildlife habitat, you’ll want to consider keeping a mix of native shrub species on your property. Shrubs provide a host of services to wildlife, including shelter or cover, nesting space, and food from their twigs, leaves, flowers, and fruit. With thought given to species selection and location, retaining existing shrubs or planting them can benefit wildlife without compromising timber growth or forest operations. This is the second article in our Shrubs for Wildlife series (first is here). Each article will highlight one species that benefits wildlife in northwest Oregon forests.

Species Name: Common snowberry – Symphoricarpos albus

Description: Snowberry is a medium sized shrub, growing in thickets and up to six feet tall. The leaves are simple, opposite, deciduous, and variable in shape. They are generally oval but can be nearly round (3/4 – 2 1/2” long). The leaf edges vary from entire to shallowly lobed on the same plant and same stem. The flowers are small (1/4”), pink-white, bell-shaped, and found in clusters at the end of the branch. The round, white, waxy berries persist into the winter; they are non-edible to humans and toxic due to the saponin they contain. Twigs are opposite, slender, smooth, and yellow-brown.

Small pink blossoms are present this time of year. Photo: A. Grotta

Wildlife Value: Snowberry is useful to pollinators as a host and food plant. The flowers attract Anna’s and rufous hummingbirds, as well as various insects including bees. Several birds have been observed eating the berries, such as towhees, thrushes, robins, grosbeaks, and waxwings. Birds also use snowberry thickets for cover. In addition, the Vashti sphinx moth (Sphinx vashti) relies on it as a food plant in its larval stage.

Management Considerations: Following harvest, snowberry resprouts readily from belowground.  To ensure optimum survival and growth of planted trees, control snowberry where it is likely to overtop planted seedlings.  Consider retaining snowberry plants on the site where they are not in direct competition with seedlings.  For those who would like to actively enhance wildlife habitat by planting snowberry, it tolerates a variety of environments, and can be planted in coarse sand to fine-textured clay, full sun to dense understory, dry well-drained slops to moist stream banks, and low to high nutrient soils.  It also establishes readily and tolerates general neglect.

Plant habit and fruit in winter. Photos: Pat Breen, OSU

If you are interested in learning more about creating wildlife habitat on your property, check out the Woodland Fish and Wildlife website.

 

 

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Categories: OSU Extension Blogs