At our most recent free lunch & learn at the Rushton Conservation Center, Meagan Hopkins-Doerr provided a wealth of useful information about the invasive and destructive Spotted Lanternfly (SLF). Meagan is Coordinator for the Master Gardeners of Chester County and Master Watershed Stewards of Chester & Delaware Counties, and she travels the area providing informative sessions like this one on a variety of topics.
SLF is an invasive species that was discovered in Berks County back in 2014. With few natural predators, it has spread and threatens the Pennsylvania economy. It is critical to manage this pest now. SLF was also introduced in South Korea, which is similar in size to Pennsylvania.
So, here are some of the highlights of actions you can take now:
Destroy the Eggs
The SLF adults have now died from the cold, but have left behind their egg masses. Here’s a photo of what they look like.
Females will lay eggs on virtually any outdoor surface. In addition to trees you may find them on:
- Fence posts
- Lawn furniture
- Outdoor seating cushions
- Exterior walls (siding, brick, stone)
- Flower boxes
- Bird feeders
Careful inspection of your property for the egg masses is an important step in controlling the spread of the SLF. Each egg mass can contain, on average, 37 eggs. Therefore it’s important to destroy any you see. When you see one, here’s what you do:
- Scrape the egg mass into a jar or similar container
- Soak the eggs in isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
- Dispose of the container
You can also smash the egg masses, or burn them if you have a fire pit.
Limit the Spread
Willistown Conservation Trust’s program area is within the quarantine zone. At all stages of growth, SLF are very efficient hitchhikers. There are some things you can do to limit the spread of the SLF:
- Check your car (wheel wells, grille) and any trailers and remove all SLF before departing. This is important ESPECIALLY before driving out of the quarantine zone.
- Don’t park under infested trees
- Do not transport firewood
- Inspect any material stored outdoors before transporting it elsewhere
Remove Tree of Heaven
If you use landscapers or arborists, ask if they have received an SLF permit from the PA Department of Agriculture. For more information about the permit visit: https://extension.psu.edu/does-your-business-need-a-spotted-lanternfly-permit
Though the SLF will feed on other plants, the Tree of Heaven is one of its preferred hosts. If you have Tree of Heaven, it is important to remove them. You MUST use an appropriate herbicide to treat the tree before cutting it down or it will multiply.
Get Ready for Hatching
Banding. When the SLF eggs hatch in the spring, the nymphs will begin to forage. By banding trees they prefer, you can help to capture them. Bands should be checked regularly and replaced as needed. Excluder cages should be used to keep other animals away from the bands. Read more about use of traps here: https://extension.psu.edu/using-traps-for-spotted-lanternfly-management
Insecticides. If you have an infestation, it may be necessary to use insecticides. There are a variety of systemic and contact insecticides with varying degrees of efficacy against the SLF. Always read and follow the label before applying any insecticide. Additional information can be found here: https://extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly-management-and-pesticide-safety
See the Penn State Extension website for instructions on how to band trees and for selection and use of insecticides.
Report. Report. Report.
Researchers need data. By reporting sightings of SLF you will help researchers understand how the SLF are moving. To report SLF you can go online to extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly or call 1-888-4BADFLY.
You can download a variety of helpful information at the PSU Extension website. The Trust also has some print materials left over from the lunch & learn. You’re welcome to stop by our office and pick up some while supplies last. We also have a small supply of scraper cards, which also have helpful information on them including the number to call to report SLF.
Watch for more informative lunch & learns coming up.
The map of permanently conserved land in the Willistown area just got a little greener, thanks to Lawrie Harris. Lawrie donated a Legacy Conservation Easement to the Trust on November 11, 2019, protecting her 12.7 acres on Twinbrook Road from development forever. Located on Twinbrook Road in Easttown Township, in what is known as the Leopard Tract, the gently sloping site is primarily wooded and features a small tributary to Crum Creek named Grubb Mill Run. Several acres of open meadow area surrounds Lawrie’s home and garage, the only structures on the property.
The easement will limit further subdivision of the property and will protect its natural features that serve as important wildlife habitat, support the surrounding ecosystem and contribute to scenic views along Twinbrook Road. The easement defines most of the property as Sensitive Riparian Area, which include wetlands, hydric soils and floodplain, and limits the amount of disturbance allowed in these areas.
Lawrie shares her late husband Jay’s passion for the environment, and wants to conserve the land to ensure it will stay just as it is today, so both people and wildlife can enjoy it forever. Her decision to donate the easement was prompted, in part, by neighbors Kate and Ben Etherington’s recent decision to do the same. We are grateful to Lawrie for her foresight and generosity.
“I want to be absolutely certain that future owners will keep this property intact and take care of the stream and woodland. We don’t have many places like this left and we need to preserve them,” said Lawrie. “And the process of working with the Trust has been easy and enjoyable. Willistown Conservation Trust has a 40-year legacy of protecting land in our area.”
When you look at a the Trust’s protected lands map, you see a mosaic of open space comprising preserved parcels of all sizes – from hundreds of acres to just a few. And in an era when conserving habitat, protecting the quality of our water supply, and offsetting the impact of human activity is so vital, every acre counts.
We developed Legacy Easements, like the one that protects Lawrie’s land, specifically so owners of smaller parcels of land could protect their land in perpetuity. Legacy Easements are generally less complicated than traditional ones and can be tailored to protect features of an owner’s property that are personally and/or environmentally significant.
Thank you Lawrie, another hero of our countryside!
The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. Willistown Conservation Trust is pleased to announce it is applying for renewal of accreditation. A public comment period is now open.
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. In 2008, Willistown Conservation Trust was one of the first land trusts nationwide to be awarded accreditation by the Commission. According to Bonnie Van Alen, the Trust’s President and Executive Director: “Our accredited status should assure our contributors, easement holders, project partners and other stakeholders of our commitment to meeting the highest national standards of performance and procedures. In other words, not only are we protecting important lands, but we’re doing it in the right way and for the long term.”
The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how Willistown Conservation Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards see http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/help-and-resources/indicator-practices.
To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org, or email your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
Comments on Willistown Conservation Trust’s application will be most useful by November 14, 2019.
The old saying goes that variety is the spice of life. In nature, variety is the very essence of life.
Hopefully you’ve read and enjoyed our recent blog posts about the importance of riparian buffers and tips for planting trees and shrubs, if you haven’t yet please take a look. You’ll find helpful guidance, which will be handy for World Planting Day coming up on October 22!
An important aspect of healthy riparian buffer is planting a variety of species, which will help support a variety of insects, animals, bacteria, fungi and other living things. A variety also looks nice, providing different colors and textures in your landscape.
To help you, we’ve assembled a collection of our favorite native trees and shrubs that grow well in riparian buffers.
For detailed information about each of these, you can consult wildflower.org. You can also talk with a reputable native plant nursery or landscape designer about what variety of plants to select for your particular area.