Grown Here at Home: Woodland owner? Woods & Wildlife Conference happening in Roanoke

Published: Jan. 17, 2020 at 6:32 AM EST
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A Woods & Wildlife conference is happening in Roanoke for the second year in a row. Trees will be one of the topics covered; specifically, dendrochronology. It’s the science of dating tree rings.

"Each year trees put on a new layer of wood as they grow, and so we call those the growth rings," said Jennifer Gagnon with Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Jennifer said many people believe the bigger a tree trunk is, the older the tree, but that's not always the case. She said you can count the rings on tree cookies to see how old they are. A tree cookie is just a slice of a tree trunk. She brought in two from Eastern White Pines. One is significantly larger than the other, but each has 40 rings. The trees were only growing 50 feet apart.

"These two trees, they may have the same exact genetics, they were growing in the same location, but this big tree was growing right next to a creek, so it was growing in deep soil, and it probably had a lot of water, which allowed it to grow quickly. This tree here was growing about 50 feet away up a steep slope so the soils were probably very shallow and not a lot of water in those soils. So it slowed down the growth of the tree," Jennifer explained.

Dendrochronology is just one of 15 talks happening at the Woods & Wildlife Conference.

"The idea is to get science-based information into the hands of private woodland owners to help them keep their forest and wildlife healthy and productive," Jennifer said.

The Woods & Wildlife Conference is happening Saturday, February 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Hollins University. Registration is $45 per person and $80 per couple. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

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