Author: jodieellis

Look for gypsy moth egg masses

By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh. bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov; 920-360-0942

Gypsy moth egg masses. Photo: Bill McNee

Fall is an excellent time to look for and dispose of gypsy moth egg masses produced by adult moths this summer. Gypsy moth egg masses are felt-like, tan-colored patches about the size of a nickel or quarter that gypsy moth females deposit in protected places. Surveying for egg masses helps property owners predict how high populations of the insect will be during the subsequent spring and summer. Since egg masses usually don’t hatch until April, information gained from fall/winter surveys can be used to mitigate gypsy moth damage before the following season.  Continue reading “Look for gypsy moth egg masses”

Spruce needle rust not an issue this year

By Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff. Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov; 920-360-0665

Orange fruiting bodies of spruce needle rust erupt from needles. From a distance, the tree appears orange due to colored pustules on the needles. Photo: Linda Williams

Orange fruiting bodies of spruce needle rust erupt from needles. From a distance, the tree appears orange due to colored pustules on the needles. Photo: Linda Williams

Occurrences of spruce needle rust in northeastern and north central Wisconsin is low this year for the first time since 2013. Spruce needle rust, caused by the fungus Chrysomyxa weirii, infects spruce needles. Fruiting structures erupt from needles in August in shades of pink, yellow, and orange, greatly affecting the appearance of the trees. In addition, infected needles drop off, causing trees to look sparse.

No treatments are available for already-infected needles. Preventative fungicide treatments for yard trees may be used the following spring and early summer, but treatments must be applied before symptoms appear. Repeated treatments will be necessary; the fungicide, which must fully coat needles to be effective, washes or wears off over time.

Brown branch tips on jack pine

By Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff. Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov; 920-360-0665

After brushing away sawdust, exit/entrance holes, as tiny as the beetles themselves, become visible. A beetle is inside, peeking out. The marks at the bottom of the photo depict millimeters.

After brushing away sawdust, exit/entrance holes, as tiny as the beetles themselves, become visible. A beetle is inside, peeking out. The marks at the bottom of the photo depict millimeters.

Jack pine tip beetle (Conopthorus banksianae) is a tiny bark beetle that bores into the twig tips of pines. Damage from jack pine tip beetle was observed this summer on jack pine trees in Marinette, Vilas, and Lincoln counties and on white pine in Waupaca County. These beetles attack and kill the outer 4-6 inches of twigs, leaving hollow piths. The piths can be diagnostic in determining whether an insect or disease killed the branch tip. The damage, which may appear significant since the dead needles remain on the branch tip and there can be many dead branch tips on a single tree, is rarely severe enough to be detrimental to the tree; no control is recommended.

Jack pine tip beetles kill the outer few inches of twigs. The two yellow circles show where sawdust was pushed out of the twig by adult beetles. Photos: Linda Williams

Jack pine tip beetles kill the outer few inches of twigs. The two yellow circles show where sawdust was pushed out of the twig by adult beetles. Photos: Linda Williams

Oak leaves dropping (but not from oak wilt)

By Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff. Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov; 920-360-0665

Heavily-spotted oak leaves began to drop in early August. Spots appeared on both the front and back of leaves. Photo: Linda Williams

Heavily-spotted oak leaves began to drop in early August. Spots appeared on both the front and back of leaves. Photo: Linda Williams

Last year, Forest Health News published an article about oaks prematurely dropping leaves although they were not infected by the fungal pathogen Ceratocystis fagacearum, the cause of oak wilt disease. Oak trees infected with oak wilt disease in springtime rapidly wilt and drop green leaves in July or August. However, oak wilt disease is not the only reason oak trees prematurely drop leaves. Continue reading “Oak leaves dropping (but not from oak wilt)”

Tree decline and mortality observed at many wet sites this summer

By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh. bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov; 920-360-0942

An aerial view of tree mortality in very wet areas. Photo: Bill McNee

An aerial view of tree mortality in very wet areas. Photo: Bill McNee

Site visits and aerial surveys conducted on trees in eastern Wisconsin by the Wisconsin DNR forest health team in July and August found multi-species decline and mortality common at many very wet sites. Continue reading “Tree decline and mortality observed at many wet sites this summer”

Oak leaf fold galls and itch mites

by Mike Hillstrom, forest health specialist (Fitchburg). Michael.Hillstrom@wisconsin.gov;
208-513-7690

Oak leaf fold galls on red oak leaves. Photo: Mike Hillstrom

Oak leaf fold galls on red oak leaves. Photo: Mike Hillstrom

Ethan Lee, parks supervisor for the City of Janesville, recently reported symptoms of oak leaf fold galls on an oak tree on the University of Wisconsin – Rock County campus. Oak leaf fold galls, caused by fly larvae, are generally harmless to trees. However, new information links oak leaf galls with a recent invasive mite from Europe, Pyemotes herfsi, commonly called the oak leaf itch mite. Although no evidence of itch mite was found on the affected red oak tree, more than 50% of the tree’s leaves contained leaf fold galls. Continue reading “Oak leaf fold galls and itch mites”

Aspen blotch miner caterpillars

By Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff. Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov; 920-360-0665

The tops of aspen leaves will appear off-colored when aspen blotch miner caterpillars feed within.

The tops of aspen leaves will appear off-colored when aspen blotch miner caterpillars feed within. Photo: Linda Williams

If you’ve noticed aspen trees seem a little pale lately, you are probably seeing damage from aspen blotch miner caterpillars. Typically, these leaf-mining insects only affect young aspen trees, but this year I’ve found uniform damage on bigger trees with large crowns. Symptoms include thinned crowns, off-color leaves with blisters on their undersides, and, later in the summer, curling and browning leaves. Tiny caterpillars spend their entire lives feeding within the leaf; they then pupate into the tunneled-out areas. Moths emerge in August and spend the winter in protected places.

I have reported this insect each year since 2012 in northeastern Wisconsin. This year, there were aspen leaf blotch miners in Marinette, Florence, Forest, Oneida, and Vilas counties, which is similar to where they were found last year. Although defoliation can be severe, aspen trees usually tolerate the situation well. Many affected aspen trees will send out new leaves after feeding by caterpillars ends. Although damage may appear severe, the effects on the trees’ overall health seems negligible.

 

Widespread crown dieback and delayed leaf-out of bur oak

by Paul Cigan, forest health specialist, Hayward, Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov. 715-416-4920 and Todd Lanigan, forest health specialist, Eau Claire, Todd.Lanigan@wisconsin.gov, 715-210-0150

Typical appearance of bur oak with crown dieback associated with cynipid gall wasp infestation in northwest WI during early summer, 2018.

Bur oak showing moderate crown dieback. Photo: Paul Cigan

Bur oak with heavy crown dieback and delayed leaf flushing in Polk County.

Bur oak with severe crown dieback. Photo: Paul Heimstead

Widespread dieback of twigs and branches and delayed leaf-out were present on bur oak trees this spring in Barron, Burnett, Chippewa, Eau Claire Polk, Rusk, and Sawyer counties, and in parts of central and east central Minnesota. Crown dieback of between 10 – 50% was observed in both mature and sapling-sized trees, although it was more common on open-grown trees and those along woodland edges. Tufted or “broomed” leaf shoots were apparent, a result of epicormic shoots developing below dead twigs and branches. Most impacted trees recovered well by early July as crowns filled in with leaves and epicormic shoots. Leaves in recovered trees appeared generally healthy and normal-sized.

Continue reading “Widespread crown dieback and delayed leaf-out of bur oak”

Be on the lookout for beech leaf disease

By Kyoko Scanlon, forest pathologist, Fitchburg. Kyoko.Scanlon@wisconsin.gov; 608-235-7532

Early striping from BLD as seen looking up into the canopy. Photo: The Ohio State University.

Early striping from BLD as seen looking up into the canopy. Photo: The Ohio State University.

Although beech leaf disease (BLD) has not been found in Wisconsin, forest owners and managers should keep an eye out for it on American (Fagus grandifolia) and, to a lesser extent, European (Fagus sylvatica) beech trees. Beech leaf disease is becoming a serious issue in parts of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario. Its cause is not yet known.

Continue reading “Be on the lookout for beech leaf disease”

Balsam fir mortality in many counties around the state

Counties shaded in blue are where balsam mortality has been reported, but the is even more widespread than this map indicates.

Counties shaded in blue are where balsam mortality has been reported, but it is even more widespread than this map indicates.

By Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0665 and Paul Cigan, forest health specialist, Hayward Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov, 715-416-4920

Reports of balsam fir suddenly turning rusty red to brown and dying have been coming in steadily this spring and summer. The accompanying map shows where this has been reported so far this year.

Spoiler alert! There are no insect or diseases involved. It appears the cause may be unusually severe winter drying or winter damage.

Continue reading “Balsam fir mortality in many counties around the state”