Month: April 2018

Women of WWOA Spring Gathering May 5th

Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association group of women landowners aka The Women of WWOA, was created to offer educational activities and a supportive atmosphere for women landowners to learn more about caring for their woodlands. The group gathers two to three times a year to spend a day learning from each other and natural resource professionals.

The next gathering will be Saturday, May 5th form 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Mueller’s Quarry Tree Farm in Arcadia, WI.

Get ready for a fun day of learning, walking, listening, and sharing…

  • Walking the land with UW-Extension Assistant Professor Geology, Jay Zambito. He is currently conducting research in the Arcadia Driftless Area
  • Hot picnic lunch- yum!
  • Meghan Jensen, WDNR Conservation Warden in Trempealeau County will discuss her work and answer questions about woodland concerns.
  • Afternoon sampling in erosion retention ponds with UW-Extension’s Randy Mell.

Part of the day will be indoors and part outside, so dress comfortably for both. Think woods casual- jeans, boots, long sleeves, rain gear, hat, etc.

$20/person includes materials, breaks and lunch. Click here to register.

#FridaysOnTheFarm

Planning Boosts Forest Health and Management

From the kitchen table to the boardroom table, the USDA brings people together across the nation for: healthier food, natural resources and people; a stronger agricultural industry; and economic growth, jobs and innovation.

Each Friday, meet those farmers, producers and landowners through their #Fridaysonthefarm stories. Visit local farms, ranches, forests and resource areas where USDA customers and partners do right and feed everyone.

Click here to read the full story about Jay and Mike Carlson, a father-son team working with NRCS in the Driftless Area to identify management goals that are helping improve the way they manage their forests and its health.

Photo: Honey bees are pollinating wildflowers on the Carlson’s property.

Wildfire prevention week – spark a change, not a wildfire

by Catherine Koele, wildfire prevention specialist, Wisconsin DNR

It’s no surprise that the number one cause of wildfires in Wisconsin is from human carelessness.  What is surprising is that the peak of fire season is in the spring, shortly after the snow-cover disappears and just before vegetation greens-up.  Many individuals this time of year are outdoors burning leaves, brush and pine needles from their annual yard clean-up.  All too often, this method of debris disposal can spark a wildfire.

Lawn mower on fire surrounded by burnt vegetation

This lawn mower caused a wildfire while operating on dry vegetation during elevated fire conditions. Proper maintenance could have prevented this fire.

The reality is, there are numerous other ways a wildfire can occur, such as campfires, fireworks and ashes from woodstoves.  A close second behind debris burning is equipment.  Nearly 20% of all wildfires in Wisconsin are caused by activities such as logging and farm operations, hot exhaust systems from vehicles, recreational vehicles, such as ATV’s or motorcycles, operating without spark arresters or even simple things like dragging chains from trailers.

Most of these fires can be prevented by doing routine maintenance on equipment to ensure machinery is clean from debris or carbon build-up and checking tire pressure and brakes to avoid metal-to-metal contact. Taking the time to look around before parking hot exhaust systems or pipes in dry, grassy areas can also make a difference.  And, getting an early start with any logging and farm operations during times of elevated fire danger.  This can greatly decrease your chances of starting a wildfire since temperatures are warmer, humidity decreases and winds are gustier in the afternoon which can lead to rapid fire spread. Continue reading “Wildfire prevention week – spark a change, not a wildfire”

Seedlings still available for spring 2018 planting

Although a snowy spring has slowed work at the state nursery in Boscobel, the reforestation staff is busy lifting, grading and preparing seedlings for customers. If you have not yet placed your order, there are still some species available. Hardwood tree species still available include red oak, swamp white oak, white oak, bur oak, black cherry, and black walnut. Wildlife shrubs available include choke cherry, hazelnut, ninebark, juneberry and American plum. A few additional species may become available in the coming weeks.

Call (715) 424-3700 for up-to-date information on seedling availability and to place an order.

Seedlings are to be used for reforestation, wildlife habitat and windbreak and erosion control purposes and must be planted on Wisconsin forest land. Answers to the most common questions are available on this “Frequently Asked Questions” page.

 

Written by Jeremiah Auer, Regeneration Specialist, jeremiah.auer@wisconsin.gov, 715-459-1999

How are communities handling EAB across Wisconsin?

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has recently issued a statewide quarantine for emerald ash borer (EAB), regulating the pest in Wisconsin. Since the menace has already affected 48 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, many municipalities have been acting on EAB management plans they set into place, including the City of Racine and Ozaukee county have been managing the pest.

Continue reading “How are communities handling EAB across Wisconsin?”

Smokey Bear sighting in Oneida County

Smokey Bear Trail Cam PhotoA Smokey Bear sighting in Oneida County this week.   This highly recognizable symbol of fire prevention has finally awakened from hibernation, just in time for ‘Wildfire Prevention Week,’ April 15-21.   Spring is Wisconsin’s peak season for wildfires.  Warm, windy and dry conditions have resulted in over 160 wildfires in the southern half of the state this year, as the snow-melt is slowly progressing to the north.  Don’t worry. Smokey is very approachable, friendly and loves to give bear hugs.  Do your part to help Smokey by getting a free DNR burning permit and making sure those fires are out before you leave.  http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestFire/index.asp

Protect oak trees from oak wilt by waiting until after July to prune

By Don Kissinger, DNR urban forester (Wausau), Don.Kissinger@wisconsin.gov, 715-359-5793 and Paul Cigan, DNR forest health specialist (Hayward), Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov, 715-416-4920

To protect oak trees and help prevent oak wilt, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources advises people to avoid pruning oaks on their property from April through July.

Spring and early summer pruning makes oak trees vulnerable to oak wilt, a fatal fungal disease that rapidly kills trees in the red oak group and weakens those in the white oak group. Any tree damage during this time creates an opening that exposes live tree tissue and provides an opportunity for the oak wilt fungus to infect the tree.

The red oak group includes northern pin oak, northern red oak, red oak and black oak; the white oak group includes bur oak, swamp white oak, white oak and English oak.

Pin oak (Quercus palustris)

Pin oak (Quercus palustris)
Photo: Gary Fewless, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay

“It takes only a few minutes for beetles that carry oak wilt spores to land on a fresh wound and infect your tree,” said Paul Cigan, DNR forest health specialist in Hayward.

Property owners with oak trees are encouraged to check with their municipality to find out if there are local oak wilt ordinances which may have different pruning restrictions.

The use of tree paint or a wound dressing is not normally recommended on pruning cuts or wounded surfaces on most trees. But for damaged oaks, the use of such products are suggested from April through July. An immediate light painting of wounds or cuts on oak trees during this time helps protect against the spread of oak wilt by beetles.

Don Kissinger, a DNR urban forester in Wausau, said there are also other important reasons to avoid pruning many kinds of deciduous trees in spring beyond concerns about oak wilt.

“Spring is the time when tree buds and leaves are growing, leaving the tree’s food reserves low,” Kissinger said. In general, the best time to prune trees is in winter.

Oak wilt and other diseases move easily on or in firewood logs year-round. To protect trees in general, don’t move firewood long distances, or only use firewood labeled as Wisconsin-certified.

As of January 31, 2018, oak wilt has been found in all Wisconsin counties except Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Forest, Taylor, Door, Kewaunee, Calumet, and Manitowoc counties. Several of these counties contain the highest abundance of healthy and productive oak forests in the state. Taking recommended precautions with living oak trees and keeping firewood local to prevent the spread of oak wilt will help keep them that way for years to come.

More information is available online at the WI DNR website, including a recently released video on oak wilt. Visit the DNR website, https://dnr.wi.gov/, and search for “oak wilt” or “firewood.” Additional information about proper pruning techniques is available from community foresters or by searching for “tree pruning.”