Monday, December 27, 2010

A Meal for One Bird is the Life of Another

Today there was evidence of a real life drama in the snow as witnessed in these photos. The feathers appeared to be the same hue as that of a slate-colored junco of which there is a quite a few that feed on the cracked corn that we broadcast over the snow. We have noticed a sharp shinned or cooper's hawk visiting our fields from time to time which might identify the predator in this drama who is only trying to sustain itself.  Other than the feathers there was no waste.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Planting of a Honey Locust

Since I live inside the City of Ottawa I am entitled to one free tree each year as part of the city's Tree Program.  This year I requested and received a Honey Locust. That is to say that the tag on the tree states Locust Gleditsia. In my tree book the Honey Locust's scientific name is Gleditsia triacanthos L. Another name for it is the Thorny locust and indeed it is thorny.  It produces long bean-like seed pods.

The delivered tree's height is 2.4 m. ~8 feet. and dbh (diameter of the stem at breast height which is 1.3 m (~4¼ feet) above ground) is 1.6 cm (5/8 in).

Its French name is févier épineux.

The tree is planted in the acre around the house.

Workshop on Fomes Annosa (Heterobasidion annosum)

Yesterday, Sept 21, 2010, I attended a workshop on Fomes Annosa (Heterobasidion annosum) (FA) which was put on by Richard Wilson Phd. a tree pathologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources based out of Sault Ste Marie. It was held at the Larose Forest which is located about 50 kilometres East of Ottawa.

FA is a fungus that attacks particularly red pine (Pr) trees and only affects injured trees since it gets in through the wound.

The morning consisted of technical presentations including an Overview of Forest Health in Ontario, Fomes Root Rot in Ontario, and Overview of the Pesticides Act and Regulations: What You need to know in order to apply pesticides. The first two presentations were provided by Dr. Wilson while the pesticide presentation was given by Scott Olan, Pesticide Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

In the afternoon we proceeded out to the forest to observe signs and symptoms of Fomes Annosa, discussion on Red Pine management, and various management methods and options.

Heartwood includes a number of small red pine (Pr) groves. FA effects mainly the Pr and what makes it so unique is that Pr roots will graft together with roots of neighbouring Pr trees and share nutrients.

What I learned from this workshop was how trees are exposed to the FA and methods to identify the disease and to minimize its spread. A Pr becomes particularly susceptible when it is cut down. The stump then becomes a scar where the fungus can take hold and it then can travel to the neighbouring trees through the grafted root system killing the neighbouring trees. 

One of the interesting methods of controlling this spread it to dig a trench around an affected area thus effectively cutting off the root connections with neighbouring trees. This technique was used in the Larose Forest long ago and it proved to be quite effective since healthy neighbouring trees outside such a trench survived well. We looked at three such trenches which looked like meteor craters or imitations of Stonehenge.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stung by a Wasp

We have our nephew from Nova Scotia visiting us here in Eastern Ontario. He has been hired to do renovations and other jobs. One of his jobs is to cut the grass which he completed yesterday. Just as he was finishing this job he was stung several times by a wasp. It is a type of ground wasp and very small, about 10 mm long, as pictured here. His reaction to the stings was quite remarkably minimal, like a mosquito bite. He did apply "Afterbite" immediately which must have helped.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Ever Beautiful Flowers of the Highbush Cranberry

As with all other plants the highbush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum) bloomed very early this year. These can be found throughout the woodlot and seem to have propagated quite naturally since they are randomly located. This is yet another white spring flower. An interesting note is that the ring of white petals are infertile flowers designed to attract insects onto less attractive fertile flowers in the centre.

Virgina Waterleaf under the Butternut Tree

The butternut tree nearest our house has a very interesting ground cover plant growing in its shade. After much searching I have been able to identify it as Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum). Like the Canada anemone it propagates by rhizomes and well as seed and is just as easily transplanted. It looks like another candidate for our natural landscaping plans. This is a picture of the ground-cover with an inset of the flower as seen under the butternut tree. This is a another white flower with a very slight purplish tinge.

Canada Anemone

It seems like it is time for the white flowers to all come out at the same time. Pictured here is the Canada Anemone (Anemone canadensis) a wild flower which grows on the road allowance adjacent and south east of Heartwood. It creates a nice ground cover and is apparently easy to transplant by moving a part of the rhizomatous root system. I might seriously consider making it part of the future landscaping plan around our house. The internet does warn however that it can be invasive  once allowed to flourish.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tree planting Today

The Tree Planting Party
Picked up bare-root stock from the Ferguson Forest Centre in Kemptville. With the help of my daughter and grandson, we planted an interesting variety, including 10 each of nannyberry, sugar maple, scots pine, jack pine, birch, honey locust, and red cedar, as well as the 20 canker resistant butternuts supplied as part of the butternut recovery Program. The objective was to introduce more biodiversity to the tree stands. It was a great afternoon, with nice weather and a light breeze.