Looking for emerald ash borers in Frederick County

During the last couple of weeks the Maryland Department of Agriculture placed emerald ash borer traps throughout the county to see if any of these destructive insects have invaded here. The traps are fairly large, purple and triangular. They are along the roadsides in heavily wooded sections of the county.

If you notice some medium-sized shrubs with a white blooming flower you may be looking at arrowwood viburnum. Arrowwood is a common plant found in moist areas throughout the county, but it is also a good garden plant because of its upright growth habit. The berries are eaten by birds, including thrashers and cedar waxwings.

If you notice a large squirrel with reddish-tan coloration you might be spotting a fox squirrel. Fox squirrels are significantly larger than gray or red squirrels and have a coat much like a red fox. Fox squirrels are normally found around larger water bodies like the Monocacy and Potomac rivers. A fairly healthy population also exists around the Frederick City Watershed.

Birds are now eating the berries of serviceberry, also known as shadbush or juneberry (Amelanchier canadensis). A common harbinger of spring, this small tree is known as shadbush because they flower in April and May, around the same time shad are returning to their springtime spawning grounds. Another name, Juneberry, comes from the fact that fruit matures in early summer.

The word Amelanchier is an ancient Celtic word for apple. The fruits of native species were eaten by the Native Americans and are still sometimes collected. The sweet, reddish-purple fruits are an important food for songbirds, squirrels, bears and other woodland wildlife. Besides being an excellent source of food for wildlife, shadbush make an excellent addition to your yard.

In addition to the early white blossoms and dark fruits, serviceberries have brilliant fall colors of yellow and orange that deepen to red.

Article by Ginny Brace

Nature Notes for 6/7/2009