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Fighting invasive species topic of woodlands walk

Jeff Himler
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Westmoreland Woodlands Improvement Association
Participants in a June 2018 Westmoreland Woodlands Improvement Association visit to Laurel Hill State Park learn about efforts to combat an invasive pest, the hemlock woolly adelgid, in the park’s Hemlock Natural Area.

Owners looking to restore woodlands affected by invasive plant species or deer can pick up some tips from an expert during a May 16 program in Hempfield.

Mike DiRinaldo, a natural resource program specialist with the Bureau of State Parks, will lead the 6 p.m. program sponsored by the Westmoreland Woodlands Improvement Association.

The evening will include a discussion and light refreshments in the Westmoreland Conservation District barn behind the Donohoe Center, at 218 Donohoe Road. Weather permitting, DiRinaldo also will lead participants on an informal walking tour through portions of the Ann Rudd Saxman Nature Park, next to the Conservation District campus.

He’ll highlight areas that are being rehabilitated with treatment against invasive species, post-suppression planting, fencing and other approaches. He’ll explain steps property owners may take to reclaim their woods and the cost and other factors to weigh when deciding whether to hire a contractor.

“Spraying alone will never solve the problems,” he said. “It’s got to be an integrative approach.”

According to DiRinaldo, high rainfall levels have promoted extensive seed-setting already this year, especially of invasive species like Norway maple. He’ll answer questions from the audience during the walk and at the discussion afterward in the barn.

Those planning to attend should wear shoes suitable for an outdoor walk.

This program is open to the public. It is free for association members and students with a current student ID; the cost is $5 for all others. Call Sandy, at 724-837-5271, by Monday to register.

The association’s mission is to encourage good management of woodlands for aesthetics, timber, water quality and control, wildlife habitat, plant propagation and recreation.

Visit westmorelandwoodlands.org for more information.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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