Author: colleenrobinson

Woolly alder aphids on maple

Woolly alder aphids secrete waxy filaments or fine hairs to protect themselves from predators. They live part of the year on maple and part of the year on alder.

Woolly alder aphids secrete waxy filaments or fine hairs to protect themselves from predators. They live part of the year on maple and part of the year on alder.

Maple trees with white fluffy, stringy things on their leaves and twigs have woolly alder aphid (Paraprociphilus tessellatus). Populations seem rather high this year. This aphid species requires both alder and maple to complete its life cycle, spending spring and summer on maple and the remainder of the year on alder. While on alder they are a plump, bluish colored aphid covered by white, waxy filaments. They will often be found in a group, forming a solid mass of white fluff on the stems. 

When present on maple they are sometimes referred to as maple blight aphid. They don’t usually do any significant damage to either maple or alder but they can be quite noticeable at times because of the large patches of fluff when they congregate in an area.  High populations of these aphids on maple can create enough honeydew (aphid excretions) to create a sticky layer on any objects underneath the maples. Sooty mold can then grow on the sticky layer, so it is recommended to wash off things under these trees on a regular basis. I’ve seen or had reports of woolly alder aphids on maple from Door, Langlade, Oconto, and Oneida counties.

Woolly alder aphids often congregate in large white masses on alder where they will overwinter.

Woolly alder aphids often congregate in large white masses on alder where they will overwinter.

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.

Woolly elm aphid feeding

Woolly elm aphid feeding of American elm causes leaves to curl inward, become bumpy, and develop necrotic brown and yellow blotches.

Woolly elm aphid damage on leaves.

Feeding by woolly elm aphids has become apparent this summer, with light to moderate, but non-threatening levels of foliar damage on American elm.  Woolly elm aphids are just one species among a specialized group of native aphids called woolly aphids.

Learn about the woolly alder aphid in this month’s northeast forest health article. 

Woolly aphids are sucking insects that feed on leaves, buds, twigs, bark, and roots, but rarely cause significant injury to mature trees.  Feeding causes leaves to curl inward, become bumpy, and develop necrotic brown and yellow blotches.  A cottony mass of pear-shaped aphids with waxy, white stands can be observed under damaged leaves.  Honeydew secretions from aphid sap feeding can promote sooty mold growth on leaves, but causes little injury.

A cottony mass of pear-shaped aphids with waxy, white stands under a damaged American elm leaf.

Woolly elm aphids on underside of leaf.

Woolly aphids produce a waxy white covering, giving them a “woolly” appearance and providing a protective barrier from predators.  Having a complex life cycle, most woolly aphids produce multiple clonal generations each year and use two different host plant species, which vary by the particular species of woolly aphid.  Woolly elm aphid uses American elm and serviceberry as its host species.  In early summer, after two generations of female-only clones are produced—each living and feeding for about 1 month—some winged females from the second generation fly to serviceberry where they produce yet another generation of female-only clones that then migrate down to the serviceberry roots to form a root colony.  In early fall, after two more clonal generations of females are produced, some fourth generation winged females emerge from the root colonies and fly back to elm, where they produce a blended generation of both male and females that then mate.  The mated females lay one overwintering egg in a bark crack and die, completing the life cycle.     

Written by Paul Cigan, forest health specialist, Hayward (Paul.Cigan@Wisconsin.gov), 715-416-4920.

Oak wilt signs are showing up

Oak leaves from an oak wilt infected tree. The outer portions of the leaf will be brown or have a water-soaked appearance. Part of the leaf remains green even though the leaf has dropped off the tree.

Oak leaves from an oak wilt infected tree. The outer portions of the leaf will be brown or have a water-soaked appearance. Part of the leaf remains green even though the leaf has dropped off the tree.

Trees that were infected with the oak wilt fungus this spring, (whether from overland spread by beetles or underground spread by connected root systems) are beginning to drop their leaves. Leaves can drop anytime between July and September. This wilting and dropping of the leaves happens fairly quickly, and trees can go from looking nice and healthy to having lost most of their leaves within just a few weeks. This year I saw my first wilting oaks on June 28, although in areas further south the leaf drop may have begun earlier. Oak wilt is a non-curable, fungal disease specific to oaks. Once the fungus infects a tree it will begin to spread outward from the roots of the infected tree through grafted roots and into the roots of neighboring oaks, eventually killing the neighboring oaks. In this way pockets of dead oak will be created as each year more oaks die. For more information on oak wilt biology, prevention, and control check out the WI DNR’s oak wilt page

Firewood from trees that have died from oak wilt will remain infectious for 1 full year (12 months) after the tree has died. There are many areas of northern Wisconsin where oak wilt is not common. Please do not move firewood long distances because you could move oak wilt into a new area.

Many northern counties don’t have oak wilt or have only a few known infections. This map shows townships in the north where oak wilt has been identified. In the red counties oak wilt is considered to be scattered throughout the county, although it will not be found in every stand.

Many northern counties don’t have oak wilt or have only a few known infections. This map shows townships in the north where oak wilt has been identified. In the red counties oak wilt is considered to be scattered throughout the county, although it will not be found in every stand.

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.

Forest Health Specialist Coverage

Map of forest health program coverage areas and staff assigned to them.

Forest health program staff and coverage areas.

The forest health specialist zones were redrawn to better align with the new integrated forester teams, areas and districts. New coverage zones will go into effect on June 25, 2017.

  • Linda Williams has changed coverage zones and is now located in Woodruff. Her new landline is 715-356-5211 ext. 232, but her cell phone number remains the same.
  • Mike Hillstrom has also changed coverage zones and is now located in Fitchburg. His new cell phone number is 608-513-7690.
  • We have 2 forest health specialist vacancies this field season, so we apologize in advance if it takes a little longer to respond to your inquiries. Coverage of the vacant zones is as follows:

Central Zone: Mike Hillstrom will cover Adams, Green Lake, Juneau, Marathon, Marquette, Portage, Waushara and Wood counties. Linda Williams will cover Lincoln County. Todd Lanigan will cover Taylor County.

East Central Zone: Linda Williams will cover Brown, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano and Waupaca counties. Bill McNee will cover Calumet, Door, Kewaunee and Manitowoc counties.

Written by: Rebecca Gray, forest health team leader, Fitchburg (rebecca.gray@wisconsin.gov), 608-275-3273.

Wasp releases to fight emerald ash borer (EAB)

Tetrastichus wasp is one eighth inch in length and attacks emerald ash borer larvae beneath the bark of an ash tree.

Adult T. planipennisi wasp collected as a pupa in Ozaukee County, May 2017. This species attacks EAB larvae beneath the bark. Actual size is 1/8” in length.

This summer, DNR staff will continue to do introductions of three natural enemy wasps that attack emerald ash borer: Tetrastichus planipennisi, Spathius galinae and Oobius agrili. The Tetrastichus and Spathius wasps attack EAB larvae beneath the bark, and the Oobius wasps attack EAB eggs on the bark surface. The tiny wasps do not sting or bite, and the public is unlikely to know they are present.  Continue reading “Wasp releases to fight emerald ash borer (EAB)”

Oak wilt identified near Sayner in Plum Lake Township, Vilas County

Oak wilt fruiting body formed under the bark, shown here with the bark peeled away. The dark grey lump of stuff is the fruiting body which produces the spores.

Oak wilt fruiting body formed under the bark, shown here with the bark peeled away. The dark grey lump of stuff is the fruiting body which produces the spores.

I’ve identified oak wilt in Plum Lake Township, Vilas Co, west of Sayner. This is the first find of oak wilt in Plum Lake Township. The closest known oak wilt location is 6.7 miles from this new site. The tree rapidly dropped its leaves last July, and when it didn’t leaf out this spring the homeowner called me. Upon examining the tree I was able to find an oak wilt pressure pad, which is the fungal spore mat that forms under the bark and causes the bark to crack, which is how beetles can get access to the spores and move them to other oaks. 

Oak wilt is found throughout the counties shown in red. Where oak wilt is uncommon the townships where oak wilt has been identified are shaded in pink.

Oak wilt is found throughout the counties shown in red. Where oak wilt is uncommon the townships where oak wilt has been identified are shaded in pink.

The oak wilt map has been updated. Oak wilt is not common in our northern counties so the map highlights in pink the townships where oak wilt has been identified in the northern counties. The oak wilt guidelines for timber sales were updated about a year ago and list some exceptions and modifications for situations in which it is not necessary to implement the cutting restrictions during the high risk time period of the year (April 15 – July 15 in the north). 

Homeowners and those not doing timber sales should try to avoid pruning, wounding, or cutting oaks during the high risk time period of April 15 – July 15 in the north. This is the time of year when the beetles that can spread the spores overland will be attracted to fresh wounds on your trees; if you prune, wound, or cut your oaks during this period the beetles can introduce oak wilt to your tree. If it is necessary to prune, wound, or cut trees during that period, wound paint should be applied.

Oak wilt is always fatal to trees in the red oak group, which includes northern red oak, northern pin oak, and black oak. Trees that were infected with the oak wilt fungus this spring will begin rapidly dropping their leaves in July and August.

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.

Emerald ash borer new finds in Wisconsin

EAB peak emergence map. Tan color is approaching peak emergence, light green is peak emergence, and dark green is past peak EAB emergence. Map from June 19, 2017.

EAB peak emergence map. Tan color is approaching peak emergence, light green is peak emergence, and dark green is past peak EAB emergence. Map from June 19, 2017.

Initial emergence of Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) has begun in Wisconsin and is likely occurring throughout Wisconsin at this time. Peak emergence is approaching.

EAB continues to be found in new areas. Wisconsin continues to track EAB at the municipality or township level; quarantine counties are shown in tan and infested areas are shown in green on the map below.

New county quarantines

  • none

New finds in counties already quarantined

  • Columbia County — cities of Columbus and Lodi
  • Dane County — villages of Dane, Waunakee, and Windsor; cities of Fitchburg, Monona, and Sun Prairie; towns of Blooming Grove, Dane and Westport
  • Dodge County — city of Horicon
  • La Crosse County — town of Washington
  • Manitowoc County — town of Cooperstown
  • Sheboygan County — village of Elkhart Lake
  • Trempealeau County — village of Trempealeau
EAB quarantine map. Counties shaded in tan are quarantined for EAB, and include much of the southern half of Wisconsin, as well as other counties. Areas shaded in green are the townships and municipalities where EAB has actually been identified, and shows that not all counties that are quarantined are fully infested.

EAB quarantine map. Counties shaded in tan are quarantined for EAB, green areas are townships and municipalities where EAB has actually been identified.

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.

The Asian longhorned beetle battle continues in some states, and a new area is deregulated.

Asian longhorned beetle is a large, glossy black beetle with white spots and white banding on its antennae.

Asian longhorned beetle is a large, glossy black beetle with white spots and white banding on its antennae. Photo by: Dennis Haugen on bugwood.org.

USDA APHIS continues to monitor and conduct control efforts in areas where Asian longhorned beetle is established. They recently released a statement that they were “removing 28 square miles from the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) regulated area in the eastern part of Queens, New York”. Quarantines are usually lifted after surveys have not turned up new beetles or damage in the quarantine for a certain number of years. We do not have any infestations of Asian longhorned beetle in Wisconsin that we’re aware of, but it’s necessary to stay vigilant.

 

 

Continue reading “The Asian longhorned beetle battle continues in some states, and a new area is deregulated.”

Large gypsy moth caterpillars now present; mating disruption treatments begin.

Mature gypsy moth caterpillar with distinctive blue and red dots.

Mature gypsy moth caterpillar with distinctive blue and red dots.

By late June, gypsy moth caterpillars will be large (>1” in length) and noticeable in most of Wisconsin. Nuisance caterpillar problems and defoliation from the caterpillars will be apparent by now, even in the far northern counties. As of mid-June, we have only had a few reports of nuisance caterpillars. This is a hopeful sign that populations will remain low in 2018. The June rainstorms will also help the Entomophaga fungus to kill gypsy moth caterpillars.

Continue reading “Large gypsy moth caterpillars now present; mating disruption treatments begin.”

Storm damage in May and June

Young trees and branches that are whipped by strong winds may have splitting bark on their branches or trunks. Although the trees will eventually grow over these wounds, the wounds will dry out and probably open up a bit more.

Young trees whipped by winds may have splitting bark on their branches or trunks. The trees will eventually grow over these, but first the wounds will dry out and open up a bit more.

Storms, storms, and more storms! It seems like we’ve had a lot of storms that brought severe weather this year. Storm damage to oaks at this time of year creates the risk of oak wilt introduction in new areas as the beetles that can spread oak wilt are attracted to the fresh wounds from the storm damage. Pine that is damaged by the storm can be infested by bark beetles, or blue stain can enter the wood via hail wounds, or Diplodia can kill branches that were damaged by wind or hail. When blowdown or tornado damage occurs it presents some additional forest health concerns with staining and decay. We have some information available online regarding storm damage, which currently highlights the May 16 tornado but applies to all tornado/wind damage to your trees.

Some of the storms during the past month are highlighted below.
Continue reading “Storm damage in May and June”