Practical British Forestry by C. P. Ackers

  • Beechwood fires are bright and clear if the logs are kept a year.
  • Chestnut’s only good, they say, if for long it’s laid away.
  • Birch and Fir logs burn too fast, blaze up ‘bright’ and do not last
  • Elmwood burns like church yard mould, even the very flames are cold
  • Poplar gives a bitter smoke, fills your eyes and makes you choke.
  • Applewood will scent your room with incense like perfume.
  • Oak and Maple, if dry and old, keep away the winter cold
  • But Ashwood wet and Ashwood dry, a king shall warm his slippers by.

Species of trees:

  • Balsam Firs, Abies balsamea
    Balsam Firs are the best trees for they have a wonderful scent, firm branching, and hold on to their needles for a longer period of time.
  • Fraser Firs, Abies fraseri
    Fraser Firs are also very good and are known as the Southern Balsam.  They grow well in the southern states and have many of the same characteristics as the Balsam Fir although they are less fragrant.
  • White Spruce, Picea glauca
    White Spruce have a shorter needle but good green color.  While their branches are firm, they drop their needles very fast and for that reason command less money as a tree.
  • Norway Spruce, Picea abies
    Norway Spruce are very similar to White Spruce at this young age.  They too will drop their needles quickly.
  • Colorado Spruce, Picea pungens
    Colorado Spruce have a wonderful color and make a very shapely Christmas tree.  Not only do they drop their needles quickly, the needles are very sharp and this makes the tree hard to decorate.  Cats don't like to climb Colorado Spruce unlike other trees!
  • Douglas Firs, Pseudotsuga menziesii
    Douglas Firs are not good indoor trees as their branches droop under the weight of ornaments.
  • Canadian Hemlocks, Tsuga canadensis
    Great outdoor tree but they are even worse than Douglas Firs and will hold next to no weight without drooping.

Sheared or unsheared?

This is a personal preference. Sheared trees are very popular for the growers as the trees demand a larger selling price. Sheared trees do not hold ornaments well unlike a natural tree. An unsheared tree will have a space between the branch whorls and this space creates enough room to display ornaments. You can take a sheared tree and prune out spaces to hang ornaments.

Bird Summer Winter Migrant
Horned Grebe ~     X
Great Blue Heron + X    
Green Heron + X    
Turkey Vulture     X
Snow Goose +     X
Snow Goose (blue morph +)     X
Canada Goose +     X
Wood Duck     X
Am Black Duck     X
Mallard     X
Ring-neck Duck     X
Bufflehead ~     X
Hooded Merganser     X
Common Merganser + ~     X
Northern Harrier +     X
Sharp-shinned Hawk * X X X
Cooper’s Hawk   X X
Northern Goshawk ~     X
Red-shoulder Hawk + ~     X
Broad-winged Hawk +     X
Red Tailed Hawk X X  
Rough-legged Hawk +   X  
American Kestrel +     X
Ruffed Grouse X    
Wild Turkey X X  
Killdeer +     X
Lesser Yellowlegs + ~     X
Ring-billed Gull +     X
Herring Gull +     X
Gtr black-backed Gull+~     X
Rock Dove + X X  
Mourning Dove X X  
Black-billed Cuckoo X   X
Yellow-billed Cuckoo X   X
Eastern Screech-Owl * X    
Great Horned Owl * X X  
Barred Owl * X    
Long-eared Owl ~   X  
Chimney Swift X    
Ruby-throated Hummingbird X   X
Belted Kingfisher + X   X
Red-bellied Woodpecker * X X  
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker * X   X
Downy Woodpecker * X X  
Hairy Woodpecker X X  
Northern Flicker X X X
Pileated Woodpecker X X  
Olive-sided Flycatcher ~     X
Eastern Wood-Pewee * X    
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher     X
Willow Flycatcher ~     X
Least Flycatcher X   X
Eastern Phoebe * X   X
Great Crested Flycatcher * X   X
Eastern Kingbird     X
Northern Shrike   X  
Blue-headed Vireo * X   X
Yellow Throated Vireo X   X
Warbling Vireo     X
Philadelphia Vireo     X
Red-eyed Vireo * X   X
Blue Jay X X X
American Crow X X  
Black-capped Chickadee* X X  
Tufted Titmouse * X X  
Red-breasted Nuthatch X X  
White-breasted Nuthatch X X  
Brown Creeper X X  
House Wren X   X
Winter Wren * X X X
Golden-crowned Kinglet X X X
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     X
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher     X
Eastern Bluebird X X  
Veery * X   X
Swainson’s Thrush     X
Hermit Thrush X   X
Wood Thrush * X   X
American Robin * X X X
Gray Catbird * X X X
Brown Thrasher     X
European Starling X X  
Bohemian Waxwing   X  
Cedar Waxwing * X X  
Blue-winged Warbler X   X
Golden-winged Warbler     X
Brewster’s Warbler     X
Tennessee Warbler     X
Orange-crowned Warbler ~     X
Nashville Warbler     X
Northern Parula     X
Yellow Warbler X   X
Chestnut-sided Warbler X   X
Magnolia Warbler X   X
Cape May Warbler     X
Black-thr Blue Warbler* X   X
Yellow-Rumped Warbler * X   X
Black-thr Green Warbler X   X
Blackburnian Warbler X   X
Pine Warbler ~     X
Praire Warbler ~     X
Palm Warbler     X
Bay-breasted Warbler     X
Blackpoll Warbler     X
Cerulean Warbler X   X
Black & White Warbler     X
American Redstart * X   X
Worm-eating Warbler ~     X
Ovenbird * X   X
Louisiana Waterthrush * X   X
Connecticut Warbler ~     X
Mourning Warbler * X    
Common Yellowthroat * X   X
Hooded Warbler * X    
Wilson’s Warbler     X
Canada Warbler     X
Scarlet Tanager * X   X
American Tree Sparrow   X  
Chipping Sparrow X   X
Fox Sparrow     X
Song Sparrow X   X
Lincoln’s Sparrow ~     X
White-throated Sparrow   X X
White-crowned Sparrow     X
Dark-eyed Junco * X X X
Snow Bunting +   X  
Northern Cardinal * X X  
Rose-breasted Grosbeak * X   X
Indigo Bunting * X   X
Bobolink     X
Red-winged Blackbird X   X
Rusty Blackbird     X
Common Grackle X   X
Brown-headed Cowbird * X   X
Orchard Oriole ~     X
Baltimore Oriole * X   X
Pine Grosbeak   X  
Purple Finch X X X
House Finch X X  
Red Crossbill   X  
White-winged Crossbill~   X  
Common Redpoll   X  
Pine Siskin   X  
American Goldfinch X X  
Evening Grosbeak   X  
House Sparrow X    

Giving a beautiful bouquet of flowers to your special someone? Keep your pets happy and safe by ensuring that none of the blooms in the bouquet are toxic to them!

Simply placing the vase where you think it’s out of reach can still pose a danger—falling leaves, petals and even the pollen that falls from the flowers can be toxic. Agile cats may even try to sneak a sip of vase water, and depending on the flowers, the water can be toxic too. Your best bet is to inspect the bouquet and remove any toxic flowers before your pet has the chance to “stop and smell the flowers!”

Toxic Plants 
Toxic flowers to look out for that are commonly used in bouquets include: 

  • Amaryllis
  • Azalea
  • Buttercup (ranunculus)
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Daffodil
  • Gladiolus
  • Hydrangea
  • Iris
  • Oleander
  • Peony

Lilies (Lilium and Hemerocallis species), including Easter lilies, tiger lilies, daylilies, Asiatic lilies, and Japanese show lilies are extremely toxic to cats. It only takes a small nibble of a leaf, petals or pollen, or a sip of vase water to cause kidney failure and death. 

Non-Toxic Plants
Luckily, lots of other stunning flowers—including roses—are non-toxic and will impress the love of your life while keeping your pets healthy and safe! Choose from the following safe list of cut flowers:

  • Asters
  • Freesia
  • Gerber daisy
  • Limonium
  • Lisianthus
  • Madagascar jasmine
  • Orchid
  • Snapdragon
  • Stock
  • Sunflower
  • Waxflower
  • Zinnia

When in doubt, check out the ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants List to see if the flowers in your bouquet are pet-safe! If your pet has eaten a plant, don’t panic. If possible, figure out the type and amount of it your pet ate, then contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 right away.

© Copyright VCA Animal Hospitals all rights reserved.

New England researchers optimistic a tiny wasp is turning the tide against emerald ash borer

by Patrick Skahill 2/21/23 

Research Entomologist Jian Duan cuts away bark from ash trees in search of emerald ash borers

Research Entomologist Jian Duan cuts away bark from ash trees in search of emerald ash borers, an invasive species that has been killing off the trees. They're looking particularly for those affected by a parasitic wasp released into the area to combat the EABs. (Connecticut Public)

How do you find an insect the size of your fingertip in a densely-packed forest? For Jian Duan, the answer is simple: follow the dead ash trees. On a rainy day in eastern Connecticut, Duan, a federal research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, walked to a dying ash covered with holes. Peeling back the bark with a draw knife, he revealed a mess of serpentine tunnels. Curled up inside was one of his targets: a larva of emerald ash borer. “Let’s collect it,” Duan said, gesturing as his assistant handed him a pair of tweezers tied to a brightly-colored ribbon. (In case you’re wondering, the ribbon makes the tweezers easy to spot when they’re dropped on the leaf-covered ground.)

But today Duan isn’t just collecting emerald ash borers. He’s also looking for its predator, one released here on purpose in 2019 and 2020: a wasp known as spathius galinae (pronounced spay-see-us glee-nuh). “It’s from the Russian Far East,” Duan said, smiling. “Unfortunately, there are no common names for these parasitic wasps.” The stingless wasp is tiny – about the size of a mosquito. But scientists have big hopes for it. In Russian forests, this wasp naturally targets and attacks emerald ash borer. “Emerald ash borer, in its native range, northeast Asia, [does] not kill trees like this,” Duan said. And if this experiment works, the borers won’t kill as many trees here either.

A biological solution to a biological problem


An emerald ash borer larva is extracted from an infested tree.An emerald ash borer larva is extracted from an infested tree. Duan and team record the fates of any larva they come across (emerged, parasitized, eaten by a woodpecker) in order to build a model of the EAB population and determine what effect countermeasures are having. 

Solutions like this, known as biological control, are one way scientists can deal with biological problems like the invasive emerald ash borer. Right now there are experiments across New England to see if the wasps can help save the region’s ash trees. Connecticut and Massachusetts began using “biocontrol agents” in 2013. Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont are doing similar experiments, hoping to stop a devastating pattern. 

Claire Rutledge, with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, says when emerald ash borer feeds on trees, it cuts off key nutrient pathways. For ash trees, that’s death by a thousand cuts. “One larva is not a big deal. Twenty larvae are not a big deal. Two thousand larvae kill the tree,” Rutledge said. Since it was first detected in Michigan in 2002, emerald ash borer (EAB) has killed tens of millions of ash trees. Federal officials estimate it has cost municipalities, nursery operators, and the forest-product industry tens of millions of dollars. The massive die-off of ash trees has also disrupted the making of culturally-important products like baskets and baseball bats.

Duan said the idea of biocontrol is to find the natural predators of an introduced pest and bring them to the new environment to slow the pest’s spread. “Because in the native range, these natural enemies co-evolved with the pest,” Duan said. Shortly after EAB arrived in the U.S., DNA testing traced its origin to northeast Asia. Duan traveled to Russia – trekking through cold forests to collect wasps that only prey on EAB. Samples were brought to America, quarantined, and carefully tested for years to ensure the wasps wouldn’t kill any other non-target species. Now that some of these wasps have been living in the forests of Connecticut and Massachusetts for about 10 years, scientists are trying to find out if the intervention is working.

Scientists are ‘cautiously optimistic’


As Duan and his assistant peel more bark and pull more larvae from the dying tree in Connecticut, they still can’t find the Russian wasp or two other species that were introduced here. So they decide to cut down the tree to study it further. They cut the wood into meter-long segments and continue looking. Rutledge said it’s too late for the wasp to stop the massive wave of EAB that’s killing older ash trees. But there is hope for the younger trees that are just starting to grow. “When regeneration starts to happen after the EAB levels drop, the parasitoids will be able to keep those populations down so that the new ash can grow and escape,” Rutledge said.

On this old ash tree, they found a few EAB larvae – and no wasps. But they did find parasitoids just a few miles away at another site they’re studying. And as recently as last year, Rutledge said they found reproducing populations of wasps initially introduced in 2013. So, she said, it’s looking like success: the wasps are sticking around and spreading. “I’m really cautiously optimistic,” Rutledge said. “The problem with biocontrol is it’s going to be 10 or 15 years later when we see how much of a resurgence the ash manages.” Even then, she said, it’s going to be a long time before we see big, healthy ash trees in New England forests again.


Plant Information
  • The Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Michael A. Dirr, 1998, ISBN 0-87563-800-7
  • Trees For American Gardens, Donald Wyman, 1974, Library of Congress # 65-16930
  • Shrubs & Vines For American Gardens, Donald Wyman, 1974, Library of Congress # 69-18249
  • Wyman's Gardening Encyclopedia, Donald Wyman, 1975, Library of Congress # 69-18250
  • A New Tree Biology, Alex L. Shigo, 1986,  161-164-245-416-443-852
  • Modern Arborculture, Alex L. Shigo, 1991, ISBN 0-943563-09-7
  • Arboriculture Care of trees, Shrubs, and Vines in the Landscape, Richard Harris, 1983, ISBN 0-13-043935-5



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