Spring is upon us and that means the tree planting season is too. Trees are vital to our environments; they provide individuals and communities with clean air, clean water, reduced cooling costs, safer neighborhoods, and a place to play and gather. But trees provide much more than that, they can help show how much we care for others, a beautiful living reminder of the legacy of a person. Arbor Day is this month, and it is the perfect time to plant a tree and illustrate our feelings for others. Continue reading “Make trees mean more”
By Don Kissinger, urban forester, 715-348-5746, firstname.lastname@example.org and Paul Cigan, forest health specialist, 715-416-4920, email@example.com
To protect oak trees from the often-fatal oak wilt disease, don’t prune, cut or injure oak trees from April through July.
Pruning and cutting oaks in spring and early summer leaves them vulnerable to oak wilt, which rapidly kills trees in the red oak group and weakens those in the white oak group. Any damage during this time, including broken branches caused by storms, exposes living tree tissue beneath the bark and provides an opportunity for the oak wilt fungus to infect the tree.
Sap-feeding beetles introduce the disease by carrying oak wilt spores from infected trees or firewood to fresh wounds. Healthy oaks can become infected in as little as 15 minutes after the creation of a wound.
The trees most likely to die from oak wilt infection are in the red oak group, including northern pin oak, northern red oak, red oak and black oak. The white oak group is more likely to survive infection and includes bur oak, swamp white oak, white oak and English oak.
Tree paint or wound dressing is not normally recommended on pruned or wounded surfaces, but for damaged oaks an immediate light application of these products may be the only defense against oak wilt infection from April through July.
Pruning in spring can be damaging to any deciduous tree because their energy reserves are low as they produce new buds and leaves following the winter months. In general, the best time to prune is in winter when trees are dormant.
As of January 31, oak wilt has been found in all Wisconsin counties except 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 will help keep them that way for years to come.
Oak wilt and other diseases move easily on or in firewood logs year-round, so keeping firewood local, or purchasing Wisconsin-certified firewood, is another important component of protecting trees and keeping forests healthy. Visit the DNR firewood page for more information and a directory of certified firewood vendors.
More information, including a recently released oak wilt video, is available at the DNR oak wilt page. Additional information about proper pruning techniques is available from community foresters or through DNR resources such as this tree pruning poster.
By Bill McNee, forest health specialist, Oshkosh, firstname.lastname@example.org, 920-360-0942
The recent frigid temperatures in late January and early February are likely to kill many overwintering emerald ash borer (EAB) larvae, but the tree-killing pest isn’t going away. The insulating properties of tree bark keep the larvae warmer than the outdoor air temperature, and wind chills do not affect the larvae because they are sheltered. The pest is also adapted to subzero temperatures based on its native range in eastern Asia where cold winters are common.
On the morning of January 31, many parts of Wisconsin had low air temperatures between -30 and -35 degrees F. In places where it was this cold, scientific studies predict that most EAB larvae will be killed. Where low temperatures were between -20 and -30, larval mortality is likely to be lighter. Overwintering larvae were examined about 1 week after the cold snap in Brookfield (Waukesha County), where the low was -26, and few of the larvae were observed to have physical signs of freezing damage. Many of the larvae began moving within three days of being brought indoors. However, physical damage to the larvae may not yet be apparent, and normal-looking larvae may ultimately die from the cold temperatures.
Populations of the pest are likely to rebound, since each female beetle that emerges this summer will lay as many as 200 eggs. It is not currently known if larval mortality will significantly delay ash tree decline and mortality, although this may occur in areas that experienced the lowest temperatures. A cold spell in early 2014, that was not quite as cold, had no noticeable impacts on EAB spread or ash decline/mortality in areas known to be heavily infested.
The introduced biological controls of EAB, commonly known as “EAB wasps,” are at least as cold-tolerant as EAB. It is expected that these wasps will persist in and around release sites and continue parasitizing EAB eggs and larvae.
Forestry experts do not recommend changing EAB management plans solely due to the cold weather.
- Continue to look for EAB in ash trees. Woodpecker damage is a good sign that an ash tree is infested with EAB or other pests.
- Insecticide treatment of high-value ash trees near known infestations should be continued this spring.
- Don’t delay tree removals or timber harvests that are already scheduled. Giving non-ash tree species more time to grow means that the future impacts of EAB will be reduced.
- Continue planting non-ash tree species.
- To help slow the spread of EAB, review firewood rules in Wisconsin. Buy firewood in the local area where you plan to burn it or buy Wisconsin-certified firewood that has been treated to eliminate pests. Certified firewood is often available at DNR-managed properties or you can buy from an independent certified firewood dealer.
Additional information about emerald ash borer, insecticide treatments and forest management can be found online at www.emeraldashborer.wi.gov.
Accounting for Trees in Stormwater Models is a resource to share with stormwater engineers. The paper is intended to help the stormwater engineering community more easily account for trees in runoff and pollutant load calculations and incorporate them into stormwater management strategies. It summarizes existing hydrologic and hydraulic models that can be applied at the site and small watershed scales to account for the stormwater benefits of conserving existing trees and/or planting new trees. The paper also includes examples of specific techniques to modify stormwater models to account for urban tree benefits, as well as associated resources and tools for estimating the hydrologic benefits of trees in the urban landscape. Continue reading “Accounting for trees in stormwater models”
Not every city in Wisconsin has a municipal code or ordinance that includes trees, and even then, those that do have codes may not have forest-friendly ones. A new resource has been created and has taken care of the hard work of determining if your city’s codes are forest-friendly; and if they are not, the resource provides advice on how trees can be more welcome in your neighborhoods. Continue reading “Does your community have forest-friendly development practices?”
Phillips High School students are showing the value of trees in their community. For the past three years the students have been inventorying the trees in the community. Over those years the project has continued to grow each year, from collecting data on trees to identifying planting sites, and now building community awareness by putting price tags on trees. Continue reading “Phillips High continues evaluating community trees”
By Kyoko Scanlon, forest pathologist, Fitchburg. Kyoko.Scanlon@wisconsin.gov; 608-235-7532
Wisconsin DNR is seeking public comments on a proposed revision to preventative treatment guidelines for Heterobasidion root disease (HRD). Stand-level HRD treatment guidelines were originally released in 2013. A DNR technical team and stakeholder advisory committee proposed a revised version using recent research findings, operational experience, and economic considerations.
The draft document and information about the public comment process can be found at https://dnr.wi.gov/news/input/Guidance.html#open through Tuesday, October 16, 2018. All comments must be submitted by that date.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”