Pest

Black canker and willow scab on willow

Black canker causes twig mortality and a sunken area on the branch. Photo by Mike Schuessler.

Black canker causes twig mortality and a sunken area on the branch. Photo by Mike Schuessler.

Do you have willow that is looking thin and sad this year?  In addition to some frost damage earlier this year, I’ve checked out several areas where black canker and willow scab are causing defoliation and fine branch mortality.  I’ve noticed this in Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Marinette, Oconto, and Waupaca counties.

Early in my career with the department I recall checking out a willow planting in Manitowoc County that had a lot of black canker killing the fine branches, but since then I haven’t run into it much.  Black canker starts by infecting a leaf but quickly moves into the petiole and into the twig where it causes a small sunken canker. This can cause the twig tip to wilt, shrivel, and die. Willow scab will also cause the twig tips to wilt, shrivel, and die. Willow scab and black canker can often be found affecting the same tree and are more common in years when we have a cool wet spring. 

New growth impacted by willow scab and black canker will shrivel and die.

New growth impacted by willow scab and black canker will shrivel and die.

Repeated defoliation of a tree due to black canker or willow scab can significantly impact growth and form because many branch tips will be killed. More information and pictures are available online by Cornell on black canker and willow scab

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.

Oak wilt signs are showing up

Oak leaves from an oak wilt infected tree. The outer portions of the leaf will be brown or have a water-soaked appearance. Part of the leaf remains green even though the leaf has dropped off the tree.

Oak leaves from an oak wilt infected tree. The outer portions of the leaf will be brown or have a water-soaked appearance. Part of the leaf remains green even though the leaf has dropped off the tree.

Trees that were infected with the oak wilt fungus this spring, (whether from overland spread by beetles or underground spread by connected root systems) are beginning to drop their leaves. Leaves can drop anytime between July and September. This wilting and dropping of the leaves happens fairly quickly, and trees can go from looking nice and healthy to having lost most of their leaves within just a few weeks. This year I saw my first wilting oaks on June 28, although in areas further south the leaf drop may have begun earlier. Oak wilt is a non-curable, fungal disease specific to oaks. Once the fungus infects a tree it will begin to spread outward from the roots of the infected tree through grafted roots and into the roots of neighboring oaks, eventually killing the neighboring oaks. In this way pockets of dead oak will be created as each year more oaks die. For more information on oak wilt biology, prevention, and control check out the WI DNR’s oak wilt page

Firewood from trees that have died from oak wilt will remain infectious for 1 full year (12 months) after the tree has died. There are many areas of northern Wisconsin where oak wilt is not common. Please do not move firewood long distances because you could move oak wilt into a new area.

Many northern counties don’t have oak wilt or have only a few known infections. This map shows townships in the north where oak wilt has been identified. In the red counties oak wilt is considered to be scattered throughout the county, although it will not be found in every stand.

Many northern counties don’t have oak wilt or have only a few known infections. This map shows townships in the north where oak wilt has been identified. In the red counties oak wilt is considered to be scattered throughout the county, although it will not be found in every stand.

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.

Wasp releases to fight emerald ash borer (EAB)

Tetrastichus wasp is one eighth inch in length and attacks emerald ash borer larvae beneath the bark of an ash tree.

Adult T. planipennisi wasp collected as a pupa in Ozaukee County, May 2017. This species attacks EAB larvae beneath the bark. Actual size is 1/8” in length.

This summer, DNR staff will continue to do introductions of three natural enemy wasps that attack emerald ash borer: Tetrastichus planipennisi, Spathius galinae and Oobius agrili. The Tetrastichus and Spathius wasps attack EAB larvae beneath the bark, and the Oobius wasps attack EAB eggs on the bark surface. The tiny wasps do not sting or bite, and the public is unlikely to know they are present.  Continue reading “Wasp releases to fight emerald ash borer (EAB)”

Oak wilt identified near Sayner in Plum Lake Township, Vilas County

Oak wilt fruiting body formed under the bark, shown here with the bark peeled away. The dark grey lump of stuff is the fruiting body which produces the spores.

Oak wilt fruiting body formed under the bark, shown here with the bark peeled away. The dark grey lump of stuff is the fruiting body which produces the spores.

I’ve identified oak wilt in Plum Lake Township, Vilas Co, west of Sayner. This is the first find of oak wilt in Plum Lake Township. The closest known oak wilt location is 6.7 miles from this new site. The tree rapidly dropped its leaves last July, and when it didn’t leaf out this spring the homeowner called me. Upon examining the tree I was able to find an oak wilt pressure pad, which is the fungal spore mat that forms under the bark and causes the bark to crack, which is how beetles can get access to the spores and move them to other oaks. 

Oak wilt is found throughout the counties shown in red. Where oak wilt is uncommon the townships where oak wilt has been identified are shaded in pink.

Oak wilt is found throughout the counties shown in red. Where oak wilt is uncommon the townships where oak wilt has been identified are shaded in pink.

The oak wilt map has been updated. Oak wilt is not common in our northern counties so the map highlights in pink the townships where oak wilt has been identified in the northern counties. The oak wilt guidelines for timber sales were updated about a year ago and list some exceptions and modifications for situations in which it is not necessary to implement the cutting restrictions during the high risk time period of the year (April 15 – July 15 in the north). 

Homeowners and those not doing timber sales should try to avoid pruning, wounding, or cutting oaks during the high risk time period of April 15 – July 15 in the north. This is the time of year when the beetles that can spread the spores overland will be attracted to fresh wounds on your trees; if you prune, wound, or cut your oaks during this period the beetles can introduce oak wilt to your tree. If it is necessary to prune, wound, or cut trees during that period, wound paint should be applied.

Oak wilt is always fatal to trees in the red oak group, which includes northern red oak, northern pin oak, and black oak. Trees that were infected with the oak wilt fungus this spring will begin rapidly dropping their leaves in July and August.

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.

Emerald ash borer new finds in Wisconsin

EAB peak emergence map. Tan color is approaching peak emergence, light green is peak emergence, and dark green is past peak EAB emergence. Map from June 19, 2017.

EAB peak emergence map. Tan color is approaching peak emergence, light green is peak emergence, and dark green is past peak EAB emergence. Map from June 19, 2017.

Initial emergence of Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) has begun in Wisconsin and is likely occurring throughout Wisconsin at this time. Peak emergence is approaching.

EAB continues to be found in new areas. Wisconsin continues to track EAB at the municipality or township level; quarantine counties are shown in tan and infested areas are shown in green on the map below.

New county quarantines

  • none

New finds in counties already quarantined

  • Columbia County — cities of Columbus and Lodi
  • Dane County — villages of Dane, Waunakee, and Windsor; cities of Fitchburg, Monona, and Sun Prairie; towns of Blooming Grove, Dane and Westport
  • Dodge County — city of Horicon
  • La Crosse County — town of Washington
  • Manitowoc County — town of Cooperstown
  • Sheboygan County — village of Elkhart Lake
  • Trempealeau County — village of Trempealeau
EAB quarantine map. Counties shaded in tan are quarantined for EAB, and include much of the southern half of Wisconsin, as well as other counties. Areas shaded in green are the townships and municipalities where EAB has actually been identified, and shows that not all counties that are quarantined are fully infested.

EAB quarantine map. Counties shaded in tan are quarantined for EAB, green areas are townships and municipalities where EAB has actually been identified.

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.

The Asian longhorned beetle battle continues in some states, and a new area is deregulated.

Asian longhorned beetle is a large, glossy black beetle with white spots and white banding on its antennae.

Asian longhorned beetle is a large, glossy black beetle with white spots and white banding on its antennae. Photo by: Dennis Haugen on bugwood.org.

USDA APHIS continues to monitor and conduct control efforts in areas where Asian longhorned beetle is established. They recently released a statement that they were “removing 28 square miles from the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) regulated area in the eastern part of Queens, New York”. Quarantines are usually lifted after surveys have not turned up new beetles or damage in the quarantine for a certain number of years. We do not have any infestations of Asian longhorned beetle in Wisconsin that we’re aware of, but it’s necessary to stay vigilant.

 

 

Continue reading “The Asian longhorned beetle battle continues in some states, and a new area is deregulated.”

Large gypsy moth caterpillars now present; mating disruption treatments begin.

Mature gypsy moth caterpillar with distinctive blue and red dots.

Mature gypsy moth caterpillar with distinctive blue and red dots.

By late June, gypsy moth caterpillars will be large (>1” in length) and noticeable in most of Wisconsin. Nuisance caterpillar problems and defoliation from the caterpillars will be apparent by now, even in the far northern counties. As of mid-June, we have only had a few reports of nuisance caterpillars. This is a hopeful sign that populations will remain low in 2018. The June rainstorms will also help the Entomophaga fungus to kill gypsy moth caterpillars.

Continue reading “Large gypsy moth caterpillars now present; mating disruption treatments begin.”

Tamarack defoliation by larch casebearer

A patch of brown tamarack trees defoliated by larch casebearer caterpillars photographed during aerial survey in early June.

Larch casebearer defoliation visible from an aerial survey on June 7, 2017. Photo by Josh Haberstroh.

Tamarack defoliation by larch casebearer is evident in northcentral and northeastern Wisconsin again in 2017. The most severe defoliation occurred in Lincoln and Langlade counties, while more moderate defoliation was noted in Waupaca, Shawano and Oneida counties. I saw extensive damage in northern Wisconsin by this insect in 2014 but damage was much more localized and less severe in 2015 and no damage was documented in 2016.

Larch casebearer, Coleophora laricella, overwinters as young caterpillars and is able to start feeding as soon as the weather warms up in the spring. The caterpillars mine out the needles of tamarack causing them to turn brown by late spring. Tamarack trees will typically produce new needles after moderate or severe damage. Caterpillars pupate on the tree in early summer and moths mate and lay eggs in summer. A second round of feeding, which causes additional stress to the trees, occurs by young larvae in summer before they overwinter. Repeated defoliation can weaken the tree, making it more susceptible to mortality from eastern larch beetle.

Written by: Mike Hillstrom, forest health specialist, Fitchburg, (Michael.Hillstrom@wisconsin.gov), 608-513-7690

Periodical cicadas emerging early

An annual or “Dog Day” cicada.

An annual or “Dog Day” cicada.

A recent article from Science Alert reported that some of the 17-year periodical cicadas associated with Brood X, have begun emerging – 4 years early! Brood X doesn’t typically emerge in Wisconsin, although it does emerge in some areas of Michigan and Illinois. The brood that emerges in a few areas of Wisconsin is Brood XIII which isn’t due to emerge again until 2024. We also have annual or “Dog Day” cicadas that emerge every summer in Wisconsin.

Cicadas are harmless, they do not bite or sting or attack people, they are not poisonous and don’t transmit disease, but they are big and the periodical cicadas emerge in huge numbers which can be quite upsetting to some people.

The problem for trees comes when the females lay their eggs. They use a stout ovipositor to puncture the twigs of small trees and shrubs, laying an egg in the slit created by the ovipositor. This damage to the tree can cause twigs to die and break off. Some young trees can be badly damaged and may lose most of their twigs and branches, they may die or be severely stunted.

An additional aggravation for many people is the very loud buzzing noise made by the males; some people refer to these insects as heat-bugs because their loud buzzing is often heard during the hottest days of the summer. 

Cicadas emerge from the ground, climb an object, emerge from their exoskeleton, and leave the empty exoskeleton behind after they expand their wings and fly off.

Cicadas emerge from the ground, climb an object, emerge from their exoskeleton, and leave the empty exoskeleton behind after they expand their wings and fly off.

For more info on periodical cicadas check out the Cicada Mania webpage.

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.

Yellowheaded spruce sawfly

There are 2 young yellowheaded spruce sawfly in this photo. As they get older they develop an orangish head capsule.

There are 2 young yellowheaded spruce sawfly in this photo. As they get older they develop an orangish head capsule.

Has anyone started to see defoliation from Yellowheaded Spruce Sawfly? This small sawfly seems to defoliate spruce without anyone noticing until it’s all done. We saw significant defoliation in 2015 (Door, Marinette, and Vilas counties) and 2016 (Outagamie, Shawano, and Waupaca counties) and if the population is going to remain high this year you should start seeing the defoliation soon. There is one generation per year and they typically feed on new expanding foliage from late May to early July. They will feed on all spruce (white, blue, Norway). The larvae blend in well with the needles so you’ll have to look closely as they can be difficult to spot.

If you have had defoliation in previous years from Yellowheaded Spruce sawfly you should monitor your spruce to determine if spraying will be necessary this year. Repeated severe defoliation can cause tree mortality.  More info can be found in this Forest Service publication.

Written by: Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov), 715-356-5211 x232.