Maladera castanea

picking them off by hand
Maladera castanea (the asiatic garden beetle) flies and eats at night.
AGBs belong to the order Coleoptera. The order contains more species than any other order, constituting almost 25% of all known life-forms.
I am having a yearly run in with these insects. They function like a self reproducing electric utility. They top trees, preferentially feeding on new growth at the top of trees: “the terminal leader”.
The AGB is a major drag on my afforestation effort. The establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there hasn’t been forest for centuries is a challenge. All the complexity has been removed, roots, biomass, beneficial fungi, and that has created a zone that is remarkably hostile to young trees, a fragile system.
Complexity is good in natural systems. When people farm, the complex system is removed. The dirt remains, to be used as a media for the desired plant making chemicals to promote growth and chemicals to control insects necessary.

Pinus palustris

pinus palustris grass stage
Before European settlement, longleaf pine forest dominated as much as 90,000,000 acres stretching from Virginia south to Florida and west to eastern Texas. That range has been vastly reduced. These are not popular trees with pine plantation folk. This form is called the grass stage. During this stage, which lasts for 5–12 years, vertical growth is very slow, and the tree may take a number of years simply to grow ankle-high.
Longleaf pine takes 100 to 150 years to become full size and may live to be 500 years old. When young, they grow a long taproot, which usually is 2–3 m (6.6–9.8 ft) long; by maturity they have a wide spreading lateral root system with several deep ‘sinker’ roots.–Wikipedia

Herbivores above and below. Last year grackles killed ten of these trees from above. This year I am struggling with the underground herbivores.
Herbivores above and below. Last year grackles killed ten of these trees from above. This year I am struggling with the underground denizens. Voles dig under plants, eat the roots until the plant falls over. I make 1′ diameter rat wire collars, buried at ground level. That way the voles have to work harder for their food.

rat wire in situ
This is a photo in process. Different plant, same species. Three hours after this photo was taken a mole tunnel appeared. Moles are carnivores. Earthworms a major part of their diet. The mole bumped into the wire. My theory is that voles opportunistically run mole tunnels. Just a theory…

there is a rule for everything

headed into the Baylor Grounds
4VAC20-720-60. Day and time limit.
A.  It shall be unlawful to take, catch, or possess oysters on Saturday and Sunday from the public oyster grounds or unassigned grounds in the waters of the Commonwealth of Virginia, for commercial purposes, except that this provision shall not apply to any person harvesting no more than one bushel per day by hand or ordinary tong for household use only during the season when the public oyster grounds or unassigned grounds are legally open for harvest. 
B.  It shall be unlawful for any person to harvest or attempt to harvest oysters prior to sunrise or after 2 p.m. from the areas described in 4VAC20-720-40 B 1 through 17, and 4VAC20-720-40 B 19 and 20.  In addition, it shall be unlawful for any boat with an oyster dredge aboard to leave the dock until one hour before sunrise or return to the dock after sunset, and it shall be unlawful for any boat with a hand scrape aboard to leave the dock until one-half hour before sunrise or return to the dock after sunset.