East Central WI Forest Health

Trapping project found no non-native beetles

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

The Wisconsin DNR’s forest health team received funding to trap for non-native beetles in 2018. This project was funded by the US Forest Service through an Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) grant. The project is complete, and we happily share that we did not find any non-native beetles!

Forest health staff member Scott Schumacher is hanging a Lindgren funnel trap (12 funnels stacked to look like a tree trunk) from a tree branch to survey for non-native beetles.

Forest health staff member Scott Schumacher hangs a Lindgren funnel trap to survey for non-native beetles.

The Forest Service periodically provides funding to states to trap for non-native bark and ambrosia beetles. The goal of trapping is to detect, delimit and monitor newly introduced exotic beetles and to quickly assess and respond to newly detected infestations.

We placed traps at 12 high-risk sites in Jefferson, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Racine, Manitowoc, and Brown counties. Sites were selected in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and were based on proximity to large commercial port entries on Lake Michigan or recycling facilities for pallets and other waste packaging. Three Lindgren funnel traps (12 funnels stacked to look like a tree trunk) and lures were assembled at each site and checked every two weeks between early May and early August. Specimens collected from the traps were sent to a Forest Service taxonomist for identification.

New northern oak wilt detections

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

Oak wilt (OW) was confirmed for the first time in Bayfield and Douglas counties and in 16 new northern townships in 2018. The new OW infections occurred on a range of properties, including county, tribal, private, U.S. Forest Service and Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) forest health staff are working proactively with affected property managers and landowners to address these infections and prioritize disease prevention and detection in the future.

 

Oak wilt distribution map. Confirmed counties are displayed in red. Confirmed townships are displayed in pink 6-mile square blocks.

The greatest risk of overland transmission in northern Wisconsin is from April 15 to July 15, when fungal spores readily infect open wounds. Most of these new cases occurred during this time frame due to stem and branch damage. The primary causes of damage were roadside brush clearing, pruning, lot clearing and storm-caused branch breakage. Fungal spores may have come from diseased oak firewood and unprocessed wood recently transported into these areas.

Image shows a group of oak trees. Northern red oak on far left is in wilting stage of disease (leaves on but wilting and dropping). Oak on far right has mechanical root collar injury. Dairyland Township, Douglas County.

OW disease center. Oak on far left was infected through belowground root contact with tree damaged in lot clearing (far right). Dairyland Township, Douglas County (photo taken by Paul Cigan).

If oak wilt is present in or within 6 miles of the county where you manage oak, your management activities may be affected by seasonal harvesting restrictions to reduce OW introduction and impact. Read DNR’s oak harvesting guidelines for more information and refer to the list below of new 6 square mile blocks by township and county to see if OW has been detected near your property.

Bayfield County
Barnes T45N R9W
Cable T43N R7W
Drummond T45N R8W
Douglas County
Dairyland T43N R15W
Gordon T44N R11W
Langlade County
Elcho T34N R11E
Langlade T33N R13E
Neva T32N R11E
Sawyer County
Couderay T39N R8W
Hayward T41N R8W
Hunter T40N R7W
Round Lake T41N R8W
Spider Lake T42N R7W
Vilas County
Boulder Junction T42N R6E
Lac du Flambeau T41N R5E, T40N R5E
St. Germain T40N R8E

Please report any suspected oak wilt infections to your local DNR forester or regional forest health specialist and learn more about oak wilt identification and biology on the DNR oak wilt webpage. To learn more about firewood rules and how you can help reduce transmission of pests and diseases, including oak wilt, visit the DNR firewood page.

10 oak leaves lain on downed log display bronze discoloration typical of oak wilt. Midrib and base of leaf are still green.

Bronzed leaves fallen from infected oak. Leaves were observed beneath infected northern red oak. Cable Township, Bayfield County (photo taken by Paul Cigan).

Heterobasidion root disease in Monroe County

By Todd Lanigan, forest health specialist, Eau Claire. Todd.Lanigan@wisconsin.gov; 715-210-0150

Heterobasidion root disease (HRD), formerly known as annosum root rot, was recently found in Monroe County for the first time in the town of Little Falls. With this detection, HRD is now known to occur in 28 Wisconsin counties.

HRD distribution map. Counties where HRD is present are shown in blue with most recently confirmed county shown in dark blue.

Fruiting bodies of the pathogen, Heterobasidion irregulare, were found on dead overstory red pine and both live and dead white pine saplings in the Big Creek Fishery Area. The 20-acre stand was a red pine plantation established in 1958 and last thinned in 2012. Wood samples were collected to isolate and identify the pathogen through microscopic identification at the Forest Health Lab in Fitchburg.

Image of multiple spores viewed under microscope. Conidiophores look like Q-tip heads.

Microscopic spores isolated from wood samples and confirmed as HRD in Forest Health Lab.

Based on this new find, a number of townships were added to the 25-mile buffer zones used in determining appropriate management activities according to the HRD Management Guide. There will be a one-year grace period for implementation of the guide in these townships.

The Forest Health Program has records of all confirmed HRD detections. If you suspect this disease is present in a stand, contact your regional forest health specialist.

For more information about HRD, visit the DNR Forest Health webpage.

Pesticide applicator training offered in 2019

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

Wisconsin Pesticide Applicator Training (PAT) Program with University of Wisconsin Extension is offering one training session for Forestry (Category 2.0) in 2019. The training is a one-day indoor session to review the materials in the training manual. A certification exam will be administered at the end of the day by Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

The PAT Forestry training day is scheduled for January 24, 2019 at the Marathon County Extension Office in Wausau. Preregistration is required and costs $30. For more information and to register, visit the Pesticide Applicator Training website.

 

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

Rose chafer and Japanese beetle populations high in parts of state

By Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 920-360-0665 and Todd Lanigan, forest health specialist, Eau Claire (Todd.Lanigan@wisconsin.gov), 715-210-0150

Rose chafer adults defoliate many different plants, shrubs, and trees. Photo: Linda Williams

So far this summer, only a few reports of significant defoliation and damage by rose chafers (Macrodactylus subspinosus) and Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) have been submitted to the state’s DNR forest health specialists. Both of these leaf-skeletonizing beetles feed on foliage of many species of trees, shrubs and other plants. Although activity by Japanese beetles appears light this year, defoliation by rose chafers was reported in Marinette, Shawano, Waupaca, and Trempealeau counties.

Continue reading “Rose chafer and Japanese beetle populations high in parts of state”

Defoliation by June beetles

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

June beetles defoliating an oak sapling at night.

June beetles defoliating an oak sapling at night.

June beetles (also called May beetles) are defoliating oak, aspen and birch trees in several parts of Wisconsin this spring. These beetles are unusual in that they feed on foliage at night – look for defoliation during daytime hours although no insects are present. Although the highest densities of June beetles have been found in Crawford and Grant counties in southwest Wisconsin, forest health staff has also received reports of the insect from northeast and west central Wisconsin. Continue reading “Defoliation by June beetles”

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.

Protect oak trees from oak wilt by waiting until after July to prune

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.

Pin oak (Quercus palustris)

Pin oak (Quercus palustris)
Photo: Gary Fewless, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay

“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.”