Forestry and Wildlife Agent Update-Tom Brant

January 29, 2021

During the months we have been working remotely I have remained in contact with my forestry and wildlife clients in Laurens by phone, text and email.  Answering a wide array of questions including several about dying pine trees with beetle issues, identifying unknown trees, and identifying a snake.  Several questions about controlling pond weeds.  Other questions like what is the foam coming out of my red oak tree (slime flux), and how do I grow Christmas trees.  There were some traditional forest management questions too.  Particularly on how can I get a forest management plan done, and what type of site preparation work do I need to do before replanting pine trees.  I was able to walk over some timberland properties and provide advice about thinning or final harvesting the timber.  There was one occurrence of an unusual disease affecting a tract of timber.  Pine tree needles were fading and dying in early spring, but the trees were not dying.  After consultation with SC Forestry Commission, Forest Pest Forester, it was confirmed to be a needle blight fungus infecting the trees.  Most all the trees put on new growth and recovered.

Trees infested by Ploioderma needle blight.  Photo Tom Brant.

Several virtual program announcements were sent to my client list.  The announcements included program topics on invasive plants, invasive insects, pesticide credit classes, and on timber tax issues.  One directed specifically to women was the Women Owning Woodlands program.

I have remained in contact with the Laurens County Forest Landowners Association Board members concerning their quarterly meetings and what their plans for these meetings would be.  The current Board members were asked and agreed to remain in place moving forward to 2021, to provide continuity in leadership for the Association.  I also worked with a group of other Agents to provide Virtual Association programs to Association members.  We presented programs on Fall Wildlife Food Plots, and on Controlling Privet in Your Woodlands.

I assisted with a series of demonstration plots installed on the John de la Howe school property in McCormick County.  Separate plots on chemically controlling both, kudzu on timberland and controlling understory competition in timber stands, were set up and treated.  The goal was to have in person tours, for timberland owners in the surrounding counties, of the resulting treatments.  But issues around the COVID virus prevented those form taking place.  A virtual program discussing the results is being created.

View across several kudzu control demo plots.  Photo Tom Brant.

Understory vegetation being affected by treatment in hardwood demo plot.  Photo Tom Brant.




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