The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and UW-Madison Division of Extension (UWEX) are partnering to better understand the informational resources available to professionals who provide tree care advice and services to urban residents in Wisconsin. Using information collected from an exploratory survey in early 2019, DNR and UWEX staff plan to improve access to these resources and address additional needs by creating new resources. Next steps include identifying a place where existing and new materials can be easily accessed by all audiences.
When asked to report the most commonly discussed topics with homeowners, pests and diseases emerged as the top issue (36% of respondents) with tree planting/care/selection or tree pruning as other popular topics (20-23% of respondents respectively). While 75% of respondents say that they use verbal advice to share information with residents always or most of the time, they also identified a diverse range of topics and types of content that they would find useful when communicating with their audiences. Click this link to view the wide range of suggestions offered by survey respondents.
By Mike Hillstrom, forest health specialist, Fitchburg, Michael.Hillstrom@wisconsin.gov, 608-513-7690
It’s another wet year in many parts of Wisconsin with water levels in lakes and rivers remaining very high. Seasonally wet areas are staying wet for longer, and areas that have not been wet for years are flooding or experiencing rising ground water levels. DNR forest health staff are increasingly noticing tree mortality due to these hydrologic issues. This occurs because flooding and high water reduces the amount of oxygen in the soil, depriving trees with submerged roots of the oxygen needed for growth and respiration. Along with submerged roots, trees can also die from uprooting and from subsequent insect and disease attack following flooding stress.
Trees being impacted by river flooding.
It may become necessary to conduct salvage harvests in flooded stands. Of course, the flooding also makes site access difficult. This is particularly concerning in stands where salvage harvests are needed to capture value, such as stands impacted by insects like emerald ash borer and eastern larch beetle.
Please let your local forest health specialist know if you are seeing flood-damaged stands. It is recommended to keep setting up salvage sales where appropriate. Access to wet or flooded sites can be difficult and may require frozen ground conditions if the site is expected to remain wet in the near-term.
Find your local forest health specialist on the DNR forest health webpage and learn more about flooding damage and mitigation with this resource from UW-Madison Division of Extension.
By Mike Hillstrom, forest health specialist, Fitchburg, Michael.Hillstrom@wisconsin.gov, 608-513-7690; Alex Feltmeyer, forest health specialist, Plover, Alex.Feltmeyer@wisconsin.gov, 715-340-3810; and Paul Cigan, forest health specialist, Hayward, Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov, 715-416-4920
Forest health staff are again noticing health issues with white and bur oaks in 2019. A few trees with dieback in 2018 were recently resurveyed and were found to have recovered well. However, variable symptoms are appearing again in some areas. Forest health staff are conducting site visits to determine if the causal agents are the same as in 2018. Last year, leaf damage resulted from leaf fungal pathogens and twig damage was caused by Botryosphaeria fungi and gall wasps.
Please report any white or bur oak issues you notice to your local forest health specialist.
Same bur oak in June 2019 showing good recovery with only minor dieback.
Bur oak with moderate crown dieback in June 2018.
By Todd Lanigan, forest health specialist, Eau Claire, Todd.Lanigan@wisconsin.gov, 715-210-0150
Fall webworm started showing up in early July. This native insect feeds on deciduous trees and shrubs and appears every year in yards and forests. Fall webworm forms loose webbing over branch tips. It can even completely cover a small tree with webbing. Inside the webbing you will find both live and dead caterpillars, partially eaten leaves and frass (caterpillar poop).
Fall webworm larvae feed within webbed enclosures at branch tips. Credit: Courtney Celley, USFWS
Fall webworm is more of a cosmetic issue than a tree health problem, but if people are concerned, they can take some simple measures to remove them. Open up the webbing using a rake, fishing pole, long stick or another long tool.. This will allow predators to get at the caterpillars inside. Or people can use their tool to roll up the webbing, peel away from the branch and place the entire web in a container of soapy water for a couple of days.
Insecticides can also be used to control this insect. If you decide to go this route, make sure the insecticide is labeled for caterpillars/fall webworm and that it will penetrate inside the webbing. With all pesticides, the user needs to carefully read and follow label directions.
As a native insect, fall webworm defoliation is unlikely to cause any harm to healthy trees. Use a control method described above if you are concerned about the aesthetics of a defoliated tree. Do not prune off the branch or burn the nest. Burning will cause more harm to the tree than the caterpillars will. For more information about fall webworm, visit this page from Michigan State University Extension.
Cities, villages, towns, counties, tribes and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in (or conducting their project in) Wisconsin are encouraged to apply for a regular or startup 2020 Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry Grant! The grants range from $1,000 to $25,000, and grant recipients must match each grant dollar for dollar. A startup grant of up to $5,000 is available for communities that want to start or restart a community forestry program. Grants are awarded to projects that align with state and national goals for increasing the urban forest canopy and the benefits it provides.
Communities and organizations interested in applying for a 2020 Urban Forestry Grant may find the grant application informational video to be a valuable resource. It highlights priorities of the Urban Forestry program and discusses several other key aspects of the application process. The video is approximately eleven minutes long and includes topics such as the difference between startup grants and regular grants and how to contact an Urban Forestry Coordinator.
The application period opened July 1, 2019 and closes October 1, 2019. To view the application and informational video, visit the Urban Forestry Grant’s website. If you have questions regarding application process and eligible projects contact your DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator.
Once again, the Village of Gays Mills will be providing excellent community forestry training for surrounding partners and cooperators. Workshop attendees will learn basic information to manage and care for their trees throughout their lifespan. Use the brochure found here to register. For any questions, please contact Cindy Kohles, Gays Mills Village Forester, at (608) 872-2184.
Green Bay Packers and DNR staff plant a ceremonial Sterling Linden tree in Titletown to help offset the Green Bay Packer’s carbon footprint produced by traveling to away games. Trees naturally sequester carbon dioxide, providing a long-term solution to the problem because trees sequester more and more carbon as they grow larger. This marks the 9th year of the Packer’s First Downs for Trees (FDFT) Program which has planted 5,144 trees to date throughout Brown County.
DNR Secretary Cole, DNR staff and former Packers Johnnie Gray and Gerry Ellis planting a tree.
Continue reading “2019 First Downs for Trees”
How does a community manage to increase its street and park tree species diversity by 445% without spending ANY public funds to purchase trees?!! Look no further than the Village of Cambridge, WI (pop. 1,500) for an answer. Continue reading “Cambridge Tree Project”
Providing timely and relevant information to the Wisconsin urban forestry community is a key role of the Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry program. One of the ways in which this goal manifests itself is through a monthly newsletter received by 5,555 subscribers (May 2019). In order to ensure that the newsletter content is relevant and timely, the Urban Forestry program surveyed subscribers in spring 2019. Results are shown and interpreted below and suggestions made for future newsletter editions. Continue reading “Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry News subscriber survey”
The professionally-designed version of the Heterobasidion root disease (HRD) stump treatment guidelines is now posted on the DNR’s HRD webpage. The revised stump treatment guidelines, developed to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of HRD in Wisconsin, were implemented January 1, 2019. The content is the same as the guidelines that were approved last year, but this document has a layout that is much more user-friendly. Explore the new look of the HRD guidelines.