• BE ON THE LOOKOUT - The Spotted Lanternflies are Afoot!

    Be On The Lookout - Spotted Lanternflies

    Early in January, I attended a seminar where one of the topics was a newly invasive pest, the Spotted Lanternfly. My initial reaction was, 'what a cool looking bug'. This only lasted until the video was shown of adults attacking a poor, unsuspecting tree. Worthy of any B-movie horror film, a handheld video camera approaches a normal looking tree. As the camera closes in, you notice the trunk seems to be moving. Then the cameraman sweeps his hand down the tree. scattering lanternflies so thick they completely cover the trunk (pause for startled crowd noise). Ick! Also, when huddled together with wings folded, you do not see the bright orange or even the cool spots. When massed together they just make a grayish brown...well...mass.

  • Giant Hogweed in Virginia!

    Giant Hogweed in Virginia!

    Is Giant Hogweed's Spread to Virginia Worth all the Fear and Fuss?

    A firestorm of news reports appeared last summer after the discovery of Giant Hogweed in Clarke County, Virginia. Why so newsworthy? Well, it wasn't the inelegant name or that it posed an imminent risk to thousands of Virginians. No, I believe it made headlines because it is dangerously cool. You see, if the sap from giant hogweed got onto your skin and was exposed to sunlight, it would cause horrible blistering. If it gets in your eyes? Possible blindness. The story almost writes itself.

  • What to Say About Red Clay?

    What to Say About Red Clay?

    Growing grass in NOVA ain't easy. This is mainly due to the combination of our transition zone climate and our relatively poor soils. Even if we reduce our carbon footprint, there isn't much we can do about the climate. This leaves us with trying to improve that cursed red clay soil.

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