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ANF to treat Laurel Mill Trail Area

Photo courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture Above is the Forest Treatment Map.

MARIENVILLE — The Allegheny National Forest will be treating glossy and common buckthorn in the Laurel Mill Trail Area to improve forest health.

The treatment project will begin in late May and continue through mid-November in order to reduce the density of the infestations. This is the fourth year of a project that already treated 300 acres. This year’s treatment areas will include:

¯ Retreatment of the Hemlock Loop West Area, which was first treated in 2018. This will also include rechecking for any plants missed in 2018, as well as treating any newly germinated plants.

¯ Initial treatment of the South West Area, which will include a secondary check in 2022.

The initial treatment schedule will focus on a herbicide application occurring from late May through mid-June, followed by manual cutting from July through November on selected plants.

Temporary closures will be in place on the days when herbicide applications are taking place.

The public can check for area closure signs at the site or call the Marienville Ranger District office at 814-927-5700 for updated closure information. In the course of these treatments the Allegheny National Forest will also treat, if encountered, other non-native invasive plant species within or near the Buckthorn Treatment project areas.

Additionally, in July the Forest Service will be initiating more extensive buckthorn treatments in the larger Otter project area north of Forest Road 135. The Otter project area will focus treatments on several miles of Forest Service roads, hundreds of acres of future timber sale units, and dozens of acres of wildlife openings where buckthorn has encroached. Information on these treatments and temporary closures will be provided in July.

Glossy and common buckthorn is a non-native invasive plant species. They are native to Eurasia and were imported, cultivated and sold to plant for wildlife habitat, hedges and windbreaks in the past. However, these shrubs proved to be highly invasive and fast growing and have since invaded watersheds and forests. They now threaten forest health and native plant communities by out-competing native plants for nutrients, light and moisture. Buckthorn thickets can grow up to 25 feet tall and impede hunters, hikers, and wildlife from moving through the forest.

More information on the buckthorn plant can be found at: www.dcnr.pa.gov/Conservation/WildPlants/InvasivePlants/InvasivePlantFactSheets/Pages/default.aspx or www.agriculture.nh.gov/publications-forms/documents/glossy-buckthorn.pdf.

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