Urban Forestry News

Insights from the Wisconsin Urban Landowner Survey inform tree care outreach

By: Katy Thostenson, DNR social science analyst (Madison), kathryn.thostenson@wisconsin.gov, 608-535-7049

cover of briefHomeowners in Wisconsin feel the top 5 most important benefits provided by the trees in their yard are:
1) Beauty
2) Shade and cooling
3) Improved air quality
4) Privacy, and
5) Making their neighborhood a better place to live

This list of homeowners’ perceived benefits from their trees is just one valuable insight gathered from the 2017 Wisconsin Urban Landowner Survey. More than 1,700 landowners responded to the survey from Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee and Wausau, providing insights about their attitudes around tree care, their concerns about tree risks, and their tree care behaviors such as pruning and planting. Continue reading “Insights from the Wisconsin Urban Landowner Survey inform tree care outreach”

Urban Forestry Consultant Directory – Annual update request

For many years the Urban and Community Forestry Program has maintained the Urban Forestry Consultants Directory, a document containing contact information and services provided by consultants who have made themselves known to DNR. Each May, we ask those listed to review their information and submit any necessary updates. We also welcome new submittals at this time, and throughout the year! Continue reading “Urban Forestry Consultant Directory – Annual update request”

Celebrate Arbor Day: Successes across the state


kids climb

Kids climb at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison

Like a child grows from birth to toddler to adulthood, a tree grows from seed to sapling to mature tree. As we nurture and care for our children as they grow, we must also for trees. This year there were several Arbor Day celebrations hosted across the state, all aiming to increase the publics knowledge of how to cherish and cultivate trees. Continue reading “Celebrate Arbor Day: Successes across the state”

Urban Forestry awards second round of grants

The DNR Urban Forestry Grant program awarded $64,641.14 to four Wisconsin communities for urban forestry projects, during our 2018 second round funding. In order to ensure a pool of catastrophic storm funds throughout the year, we have switched to awarding grants in two rounds instead of awarding all of our funds in December. The communities who received grants in the spring include Beaver Dam, Grafton, North Central Wisconsin Master Gardeners Association, and Slinger. Continue reading “Urban Forestry awards second round of grants”

Providing affordable trees to homeowners in Cambridge

Jay Weiss created the Cambridge Tree Project to supply affordable and interesting trees and shrubs to homeowners to help fund landscaping in Cambridge and Rockdale schools, street and parks. The program was founded over ten years ago with a couple of simple goals: (1) add 1,000 living trees to Cambridge Village forest by 2020, and (2) increase species diversity of the community forest. Cambridge is working towards these goals by consistently offering a variety of tree species for purchase. The trees are available to anyone, regardless of where they live, but the trees must be purchased at the spring sale. Continue reading “Providing affordable trees to homeowners in Cambridge”

Figure out when your trees will bloom

The Morton Arboretum is releasing information monthly on growing degree days. Plants, insects and fungi all develop at various times depending on temperature. Development will speed up or slow down depending on the rise and fall of temperature. Several studies have worked to understand the relationship between heat and development. These studies and information from them help anticipate flowering of trees and shrubs and the emergence of insects based on how many growing days have accumulated. Continue reading “Figure out when your trees will bloom”

EAB biocontrol releases continue in 2018

By Mike Hillstrom, forest health specialist (Fitchburg). Michael.Hillstron@wisconsin.gov; 608-513-7690

In 2018, the Wisconsin DNR will complete its eighth year of releasing tiny, stingless wasps as biocontrol agents to help manage emerald ash borer. Columbia, Dane and Grant counties are slated for first-time releases this year, and there will be new release sites in Brown, Door and Sheboygan counties. The wasps will be released for a second year at established sites in Brown, Green, Jefferson, Milwaukee and Sheboygan counties. The same wasps that were released in 2017 will be used this year: Tetra sticus planipennisi, Spathius galinae and Oobius agrili.

Tiny adult Spathius galinae wasps are released near an infested ash tree where they will look for EAB larvae to parasitize

Adult Spathius galinae wasps venture out to find some tasty EAB larvae to parasitize.


Map showing the numerous biocontrol sites for emerald ash borer established in southern and eastern Wisconsin since 2011.

Biological control sites for emerald ash borer in Wisconsin 2011-2018. Figure by Bill McNee.

Phomopsis galls

By Linda Williams, forest health specialist (Woodruff). Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov; 715-356-5211, x232

Large swellings on the branches of this oak are caused by the fungus Phomopsis.

Large swellings on the branches of this oak are caused by the fungus Phomopsis.

Winter and early spring are great times to look for galls on trees. Some galls, including phomopsis galls, can get very large and, because there are often many galls on a single tree, they are easily spotted from a distance. Phomopsis galls are woody swellings caused by a fungus which range in size from very small to larger than a person’s head. They occur on hickory, northern red oak, maple, and a few other tree species. Infections are usually localized to a single tree with neighboring trees being completely unaffected, or a small group of trees may be infected. Occasionally, larger infection centers can be found.

It is suspected that genetic variability plays a role in the susceptibility of individual trees, but a lot is still unknown about this fungus. There is no known treatment for Phompsis galls other than to prune them out and dispose of them; many people choose to simply live with them. If left on a tree, galls may eventually cause dieback or girdling of infested branches, but some trees live for many decades with galls on their main stems. The presence of galls does not necessarily mean the rapid death of a tree, which is especially true for oak trees: they seem to survive for decades with very large galls present on the branches.

Forest health zones restructured

by Jodie Ellis, communications specialist, Forest Health team (Madison)
Jodie.Ellis@Wisconsin.gov; 608-266-2172

The number of Forest Health (FH) specialist positions in the state was recently reduced by one, going from seven fulltime positions to six. To reflect this change, the forest health zonal map was restructured to spread coverage between five forest health specialists (the FH specialist position for the Central zone, while not eliminated, remains vacant). The new assignments went into effect on April 3, 2018.

To contact a forest health specialist, please refer to the revised map below:

  • Northwest zone: Paul Cigan (Hayward), 715-416-4920, paul.cigan@wisconsin.gov
  • Northeast zone: Linda Williams (Woodruff), 715-356-5211 x232, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov. Also covering Lincoln, Shawano, Menominee, Waupaca and Oconto counties in the Central zone
  • West Central zone: Todd Lanigan (Eau Claire), 715-839-1632, todd.lanigan@wisconsin.gov. Also covering Taylor County in the Central zone.
  • Southeast zone: Bill McNee (Oshkosh), 920-360-0942, bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov
  • South Central zone: Michael Hillstrom (Fitchburg, WI), 608-513-7690, michael.hillstrom@wisconsin.gov. Also covering Marathon, Wood, Portage, Adams, Waushara, Marquette and Green Lake counties in the Central zone.
  • Central zone: vacant
Restructured Forest Health zones

Restructured Forest Health zones

A fulltime FH specialist position, which had been vacant, was eliminated as part of the reduction of six positions from the Division of Forestry in the recent state budget. Because of the increased work load on the five remaining FH specialists, the FH program has permanently reduced or eliminated some of its services to customers to keep the staff’s work load at manageable levels.

Program services that have been reduced or eliminated include:

  • The DNR’s gypsy moth suppression program, which addressed population surges in areas of the state where gypsy moth is already established. This program was already in the process of being deactivated when the FH specialist position was cut. (NOTE: The Slow The Spread program, which is managed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), remains active. It targets gypsy moth populations in the western part of the state where gypsy moth has not yet established.)
  • Site visits to confirm EAB at the township level (digital images will be used for identification instead)
  • Site visits and digital diagnostics of small acreage (less than 10 acres) for private landowners

Forest Health team members must also reduce the number of outreach presentations provided to the public.

Please contact Rebecca Gray, Forest Health team leader, with any questions at Rebecca.Gray@wisconsin.gov or by phone at 608-275-3273.