Care for your woods

Oak wilt and hickory mortality Forest Health Fact Sheets are available

The forest health program is in the process of updating some of our publications as Forest Health Fact Sheets. These publications offer biology, impact, prevention and management information about specific threats to forest health. Our new oak wilt fact sheet and hickory dieback and mortality fact sheet are currently available on the DNR’s forest health oak wilt and bark beetle webpages and will be available in the DNR’s online publications catalog  in the near future. Enjoy!

Written by: Mike Hillstrom, forest health specialist, Wisconsin Dells (, 715-459-1371.

Oak wilt found in Price County, plus prevention steps

This map shows the known distribution of oak wilt in Wisconsin by county and townships as of December 1, 2016.

Map of the known distribution of oak wilt in Wisconsin as of December 1, 2016.

Oak wilt, a deadly fungal disease affecting red oaks, was confirmed for the first time in Price County in 2016. In addition to the new county find, the disease was also confirmed in various townships in northern Wisconsin counties where we already knew oak wilt was present.

The map in the oak harvesting guidelines was updated based on the find.

Oak wilt is commonly found in the southern two-thirds of the state, but has been creeping northward. The disease was found for the first time in 2010 in Oneida County, in 2012 in Lincoln, Sawyer, and Vilas counties, in 2013 in Rusk County, and in 2014 in Washburn County. Oak wilt has been confirmed in all Wisconsin counties except Ashland, Bayfield, Calumet, Door, Douglas, Forest, Iron, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, and Taylor.

Read more about oak wilt prevention in the news release from March 21, 2017: Protect oak trees from oak wilt by waiting until after July to prune.

Written by: Kyoko Scanlon, forest pathologist, Fitchburg (, 608-275-3275.

Ice damage to yard and forest trees

Ice coating an urban tree from a late February 2017 storm in south central Wisconsin.

Ice coating an urban tree from a late February 2017 storm in south central Wisconsin.

Several ice storms have impacted yard and forest trees in southern Wisconsin in 2016/2017. The combination of trees coated in heavy ice and strong winds caused broken branches and bent or broken main stems. Working with storm damaged trees can be very dangerous, so landowners should carefully consider safety concerns and get help from  professional arborists or foresters when appropriate. Continue reading “Ice damage to yard and forest trees”

Finding bird friendly trees

If you are looking for bird friendly trees and shrubs a database has been created that can help. The Audubon Native Plants Database allows you to enter a zip code and get a list of bird friendly native plants. You can filter based on plant type and what type of bird the plant attracts. The database also shows what kind of birds favor particular plants.


For more information contact Ellen Clark (, Urban Forestry Communication Specialist, at 608-267-2774.


Spread the love: how to help your urban forests

Trees are vitally important to cities, villages and towns. Like electricity and water, an urban tree canopy is part of a community’s infrastructure, providing valuable environmental, economic and social benefits. Well-managed urban forests pay back  nearly three times the cost to plant and maintain them. Continue reading “Spread the love: how to help your urban forests”

Harvesting trees offers many benefits

Keeping an ecosystem healthy includes management for wildlife habitat, aesthetics, soil and water quality, native biological diversity, recreational opportunities and forest products. One important component of sustainable forestry is the periodic harvesting of trees. In addition to providing forest products, supporting the local economy, and enhancing wildlife habitat, a benefit of timber harvests can also provide protection from wildfire. The spread of wildfire can be minimized by the removal of lower limbs of conifers and small trees near larger conifers reducing chances of a fire climbing into the crowns or tops of existing trees. In addition, the creation of logging roads or “fuel breaks” can slow or stop a fire and allow fire suppression crews easy access for suppression crews easy access for suppression and mop-up.  Learn about many other benefits of harvesting trees here.