Identifying & Managing
Threats to Woodlands

The permanent loss of forests is of serious environmental concern, including clean air and clean water.  Sprawl development breaks up contiguous forests into smaller parcels, making them more vulnerable to pests and limiting benefits to wildlife.  Left unchecked, invasive plants, insects and diseases threaten to destroy large swaths of woods across the region. Conserving the remaining woodlands, and creating new sustainable woodland areas, is critical. Dealing with forest threats can be challenging, but understanding these challenges and developing specific goals for improving and maintaining the health of your trees and woodlands is the first step in healthy forest management.

THREAT: Improper planting & maintenance!
TAKE ACTION: Tree & Shrub Planting Basics
The number one cause of tree death is planting “the wrong tree”:  mismatching trees you are planting to the growing conditions on your particular site.  Did you forget to check how wide the spread will be of a canopy tree and planted your trees too close to one another or to a structure?  Did you plant a moisture-loving tree in a dry area or an understory tree in full sun? Did you accidentally plant right in the middle of an area of high foot traffic? Is your new tree wilting away because you planted it improperly or neglected to care for it after planting? Avoid these mistakes and more by learning tree planting & maintenance basics before embarking on any tree or woodland project!

THREAT: Invasive plants - Not all green is good!
TAKE ACTION: Identifying & Managing Invasive Species & Other Threats
Invasive plants are nonnative plants introduced to our region both intentionally and unintentionally. They are well adapted to grow in their new environment and generally out-compete native plants. Invasive plants in your woods threaten the existing vegetation as well as future regeneration of the woods.

THREAT: Invasive insects and diseases!
TAKE ACTION: Identifying & Managing Invasive Species & Other Threats
Invasive insects and diseases, like invasive plants,are introduced species that thrive in our environment. Native vegetation typically has not developed resistance or defenses to combat these invaders. Chestnut blight, emerald ash borers and gypsy moths are common examples that have drastically altered regional forests.

THREAT: Overabundant deer!
TAKE ACTION: Use tree shelters and plant Chesapeake Bay Watershed Native Deer Resistant Plants
White-tailed deer have always been part of our forests. They were quite rare 100 years ago due to over-hunting and habitat loss, but now their numbers have exploded due to conservation efforts, loss of natural predators, and their ability to thrive in a fragmented landscape. Deer are herbivores and, in large populations, can strip a forest of most vegetation within their reach. So how do you protect newly planted trees from deer damage? If you are using potted seedlings, protect each tree from deer and wind with a five foot ventilated tree shelter secured to a wooden stake with two cable ties. Scrape the grass around the planted seedling to remove cover for voles and mice. Do not mulch; mow between planted tree rows seasonally. Suppress vines and invasive plants (see “Invasive Plants” above).  Maintain tree shelters for at least three years. If you follow these guidelines, you can expect for at least 75% of your trees to survive after three years!