Happy New Year!

Tree-of-heaven image collage
Winged seeds of tree-of-heaven
Image 1. Winged seeds of tree-of-heaven.        

Written by Barbara Breshock, West Virginia WOW leader

Now that the artic winds and temps have subsided, let’s plan to get outside and walk in our woods. What can you do this time of year besides enjoy nature? With the foliage out of the way, there are several tasks that are more easily done this time of year.  One is check out your boundary, refresh your purple paint – boundary paint that also indicates your property is posted – check on your known corners and prune away branches that block the view of blazes or paint marks that designate your boundary.

A second task that is easier when the trees are bare is locating Ailanthus (tree-of-heaven).  If you see seeds like in Image 1, there is a tree-of-heaven nearby.  The female trees will still have brown seed clusters hanging (Image. 2).  Determine how you will relocate these trees for control work in the fall – take a gps point (waypoint with a gps unit), hang some bright plastic ribbon, or mark it with paint. 

Clusters of dry seeds hanging in female tree-of-heaven.
Image 2. Clusters of dry seeds hanging
in female tree-of-heaven.

There maybe some other NNIS (non-native invasive species) out there that you can spot easier this time of year.  I’ve seen some honeysuckle vines that have faded green leaves still hanging on.

Thick twigs of tree-of-heaven, circled in blue. Male trees = no seeds.
Image 3. Thick twigs of tree-of-heaven, circled in blue.
Male trees = no seeds.


Posting with Purple Paint

In 2016, West Virginia passed a law that allowed purple paint to be an option for posting private land. In addition to the traditional ways of posting land, West Virginia landowners now have another option — the use of purple paint, (typically in a shade known as "No Hunting Purple") to prevent unauthorized individuals from entering their property.

 According to a new law, boundaries can be marked with a clearly visible purple-painted marking consisting of one vertical line no less than 8 inches in length and 2 inches in width, and the bottom of the mark not less than 3 nor more than 6 feet from the ground or normal water surface. The painted marks must be affixed to immovable, permanent objects that are no more than 100 feet apart and readily visible to any person approaching the property.

Even if landowners post their land with purple paint, they must post written signs at all roads, driveways or gates of entry onto the posted land that are clearly noticeable from outside the boundary line. The law spares landowners, particularly in rural areas, from having to continually replace printed signs that often end up being stolen or eradicated by the elements. According to some reports I've read, the purple paint color was chosen because even people who are color blind will see it — as being darker and more visible than other colors.