Forestry and Gardening

A tiny, invasive bug is bringing down hemlock trees from Appalachia to southern Canada. And scientists fear another treasured native tree may be going the way of the American chestnut, forever changing forest ecosystems.

Researchers at Virginia Tech are hoping to beat the invaders at their own game. They’re using a new invasive species to keep an old one in check, and save the American hemlock tree.


A 14-acre  stand of trees on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg recently escaped destruction when the University agreed not to build an athletic practice facility on that spot. 

Now a Virginia Senator wants to make protection of the parcel, known as Stadium Woods, permanent.

Senator John Edwards applauds Virginia Tech’s Board of Visitors for voting to save Stadium woods from development – for now. But he’s introduced a bill that would make protection permanent with a conservation easement on the land.

Adria Bordas

Scientists are asking the public’s help in stemming the spread of a blight on the Boxwood bush.  The plant is often used in holiday wreaths and garlands this time of year.

The Boxwood plant is prized for its emerald leaves and slow growing habit. But a blight, first seen in the US in 2011 has spread to Virginia, where it threatens home gardens as well as historic sites. The disease eventually kills the plant. It’s caused by a fungus spread by contact with a diseased boxwood.

The European Union is pushing member states to go green -- offering incentives and requiring that utilities cut their carbon emissions and increase their use of renewable energy sources by 20%.  That sounds like a noble goal, but it may be having unintended consequences in Virginia and neighboring states – consequences that have some environmentalists up in arms. 

Ivy Invasion

Dec 13, 2013

Red bricks covered with ivy have long been seen as a part of Virginia’s charm, but scientists in Richmond warn the vines are taking over – posing a threat to other plants in the state, and they want citizens to do their part in getting ivy under control.