Statewide Forest Health

Forestry partners take lead in 2018 EAB trapping

By Paul Cigan, forest health specialist, Hayward. Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov; 715-416-4920

As summer approaches, adult emerald ash borer (EAB) beetles are beginning to emerge to feed and reproduce.

Areas of possible initial EAB emergence.

USDA APHIS EAB emergence map. Map credit: USDA Cooperative Emerald Ash Borer Project

Due to the recent statewide quarantine for emerald ash borer and workload considerations, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine (APHIS PPQ), the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), and the Wisconsin DNR Forest Health Program have discontinued trapping programs for adult beetles in Wisconsin. Continue reading “Forestry partners take lead in 2018 EAB trapping”

Eastern tent caterpillar and control options

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

Young eastern tent caterpillars on their web nest. Photo: Linda Williams

Young eastern tent caterpillars on their web nest. Photo: Linda Williams

Winter is finally over and eastern tent caterpillars are hatching and building their web nests! In northern Wisconsin, the caterpillars began hatching in early to mid-May, but they emerged earlier in southern Wisconsin. Webs will become larger as the caterpillars feed and grow. Continue reading “Eastern tent caterpillar and control options”

Trapping for non-native beetles

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

A Lindgren funnel trap hung to collect beetles near Green Bay, WI. Photo: Mike Hillstrom

Scott Schumacher, an insect trapper for the Wisconsin DNR’s forest health team, will spend this summer hunting for non-native beetles using funds provided by the U.S. Forest Service. The survey is particularly focused on non-native bark and ambrosia beetles, which are potentially harmful to Wisconsin forests. In early May, Schumacher hung Lindgren funnel traps at 12 sites in Wisconsin which he will be checking throughout the season. Traps were placed at high-risk sites in wooded areas near large commercial port entries on Lake Michigan and near pallet and other waste-packaging recycling companies. Although preventing the arrival of non-native species is always top priority, early detection and rapid response (EDRR) to newly-detected infestations is an important strategy to protect forests from damaging invaders.

Ladybugs in your house this spring?

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

One option for removal of ladybugs from your home is to flick them into a small container containing soapy water, which will kill them.

One option for removal of ladybugs from your home is to flick them into a small container containing soapy water, which will kill them. Photo: Linda Williams

In the December 2017 edition of Forest Health News, I wrote about ladybugs congregating in or on homes during autumn. Now that winter has finally ended in Wisconsin, ladybugs that spent winter in the walls of your house are emerging, and many of those will accidentally emerge into, not out of, your home. This can create panic or aggravation, depending on you (or your spouse’s) tolerance for insects in the house. Continue reading “Ladybugs in your house this spring?”

Tree mortality in low areas

Trees have grown in this low area for many years, but high-water levels and constant rainfall in 2017 was too much for them. The larger trees have already died, and the small white pine are not doing well at all.

Trees have grown in this low area for many years, but high-water levels and constant rainfall in 2017 was too much for them. The larger trees have already died, and the small white pine are not doing well at all. Photo: Linda Williams

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

I continue to get calls about dying trees that are a direct result of all the rainfall we got throughout last year’s growing season. When the ground is saturated so many times throughout the growing season as we saw last year, trees are put under significant stress. Even trees that typically grow well in seasonally wet areas may not do well when the ground is wet for extended periods. Under these conditions, roots start to die due to lack of oxygen, and the crown of the tree will also die back.  Continue reading “Tree mortality in low areas”

Rhizosphaera needle cast disease on spruce

Spruce trees affected by rhizosphaera needle cast disease will have thin foliage in the lower parts of the tree, and branches may die in severe cases. Some trees are more susceptible, like the tree on the far left and the tree on the far right.

Spruce trees affected by rhizosphaera needle cast disease will have thin foliage in the lower parts of the tree, and branches may die in severe cases. Some trees are more susceptible, like the tree on the far left and the tree on the far right. Photo: Bethany and J.R. Pulham

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

 Are the lower branches of your spruce tree suddenly looking very thin? Rhizosphaera needle cast disease, caused by a fungal pathogen, can severely impact spruce, killing needles and causing them to drop prematurely. Wet years such as 2017 are great for the fungus, but bad for trees. Spring 2016 was also unusually wet, allowing the fungus to start to build up. With all the rain and wet conditions of 2017, the disease exploded. Continue reading “Rhizosphaera needle cast disease on spruce”

Results of survey of Forest Health News subscribers

By Jodie Ellis, communications specialist, Madison. Jodie.Ellis@wisconsin.gov; 608-843-3506

Thanks to all of you who participated in our recent reader survey. About one-fifth of subscribers (336 out of 1,741) took part, providing valuable information which will help us develop better ways to serve all of our readers. The survey was completed April 15, 2018.

Following are some of the things we learned.

Numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number. Some participants chose to skip some questions. Questions are presented below with the total number of respondents indicated in parentheses.

  1. Do you live in Wisconsin (336)?    Yes – 93%       No – 8%
  2. Do you work in Wisconsin (335)   Yes – 87%       No – 13%
  3. Do you own forested land in Wisconsin? (336)  Yes – 54%       No – 46%
  4. How many acres of forested land in Wisconsin do you own? (180)

        Less than 5 acres                    13%

        5 – 10 acres                               14%

        11 – 100 acres                          54%

        More than 100 acres             19%

  1. Where do you own forested land in Wisconsin? (179)

Northeast zone             30%

East central zone          18%

Northwest zone            18%

West central zone          5%

Central zone                 21%

South central zone      12%

Southeast zone               4%    MAP

  1. I am most interested in articles concerning the following zones (refer to older map) (319).

Northeast zone           26%

East central zone        15%

Northwest zone           19%

West central zone       10%

Central zone                 21%

South central zone      11%

Southeast zone           10%

Not interested                 1%

   How often do you read Forest Health News? (318)

Each time I receive an e-mail notification     74%

More than half the time                                     20%

Less than half the time                                         4%

Seldom or never                                                  1%       

 How would you rate the overall content of Forest Health News? (319)

Excellent                                    43%

Good                                           52%

Neither good nor poor              5%

Poor                                             n/a

Terrible                                       n/a

  1. How often do you find information that you can use in your work? (317)

Always                   22%

Usually                  44%

Sometimes           28%

Seldom                   5%

Never                      1%

  1. In general, how interesting or not interesting are topic in Forest Health News to you? (318)

Very interesting                                             31%

Mostly interesting                                          62%

Neither interesting or uninteresting             6%

Mostly uninteresting                                        1%

Very uninteresting                                         < 1%

  1. Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the timeliness of the information in Forest Health News? (318)

Extremely satisfied                              30%

Usually satisfied                                   58%

Neither satisfied or dissatisfied         11%

Usually dissatisfied                              n/a

Extremely dissatisfied                          n/a

  1. Do you agree or disagree that Forest Health News is useful to you? (318)

Completely agree                        71%

Somewhat agree                         25%

Neither agree nor disagree         3%

Somewhat disagree                       1%

Completely disagree                   n/a

  1. What types of articles do you usually read in Forest Health News? (318)

I read all articles.                                                                        33%

I read only articles specific to my zone(s).                            12%

I read only articles designated as statewide.                         n/a

I read a mix of articles, from both the statewide category and articles in specific zones categories.     55%

  1. Is it currently easy or difficult to move from article to article online? (316)

Easy                                                 65%

Neither easy nor difficult            28%

Difficult                                          7%

  1. Please indicate how each of the four categories below is relevant to your work.
Category Extremely relevant Mostly relevant Neither relevant nor irrelevant Mostly irrelevant Extremely irrelevant
Information about quarantines and other regulatory concerns (314)

 

46% 32% 14% 5% 3%
Current pest and disease observations and management information (313) 59% 30% 6% 3% 2%
General education information about invasive plants and pests (313)

 

49% 38% 8% 3% 2%
Management and regulation of invasive species (312)

 

49% 36% 10% 4% 2%
  1. From the list of four categories above, which is the most important to your work or interests? (314)

Information about quarantines and other regulatory concerns                          12%

Current pest and disease observations and management information              60%

General educational information about invasive plants and pests                     15%

Management and regulation of invasive plants                                                      13%

  1. How often would you like to receive Forest Health News? (317)

Once a month all year round.                                                                         38%

Once every two months all year round.                                                        19%

Monthly during the growing season; less frequently during winter.      19%

The frequency is not important to me.                                                          24%

  1. What is your age? (317)

Under 20 years old           n/a

20-25 years old                 3%

26-35 years old                 14%

36-45 years old                 19%

46-55 years old                 25%

Older than 55 years          40%

  1. How would you rate the speed of internet service in your area? (316)

Fast                     39%

Adequate            48%

Slow                     13%

  1. Which category best describes you? (318)

Forester                                                 48%

Land manager                                         7%

Logger                                                   < 1%

Mill employee                                        n/a

Craftsman                                             < 1%

Scientist/researcher                               3%

Student                                                  < 1%

Policymaker                                          < 1%

Education/outreach professional        4%

Professional/business services             7%

Landowner                                              19%

Other                                                        11%

  1. If you are reading Forest Health News for information pertaining to your job, who is your employer? (268)

Federal agency                                        3%

State agency                                          49%

County agency                                         8%

Municipal agency                                    7%

Private sector                                        16%

Tribal government or business               1%

Non-profit organization                          2%

Academic institution                               2%

Other                                                        13%

  1. What federal agency do you work for? (9)

USDA                             n/a

APHIS                            n/a

US Forest Service       44%

Other                             56% (none specified)

  1. Which state agency do you work for? (133)

WI DNR             92%

WI DATCP         <1%

Other                   7%

New “Tick App” available

Ticks pose increasing health threats throughout North America

Ticks pose increasing health threats throughout North America. Photo: WI DNR

from the May 2018 edition of RECReport, for the WI DNR Bureau of Parks and Recreation Management

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, a partner in the Midwest Center of Excellence (Center) in Vector-Borne Diseases, has announced that “Tick App” is now available for download. Tick App is a phone application that is part research tool and part educational tool with the goal to transition towards a preventative tool over time.

The Center would like to enroll people, by the app, in their study to determine the risk for tick encounters, assess the success/failure of self-reported prevention strategies, and educate people at the same time. Participation is entirely voluntary. When people download the app, they will go through a sign-up process—and about 5 minutes of questions—so the researchers can assess risk factors for tick exposure.

When people are in the app they can complete daily tick diaries (asking about activities and tick exposure) and can report a tick. Users can even send in an image for identification after the report is completed. For more information on the Tick App, visit http://www.thetickapp.org or tickapp@wisc.edu.

Browning on spruce and other conifers due to winter drying

Deep snow during the winter covered the lower branches, protecting them from the drying effects of dry air, wind, and sun throughout the winter, while the top of the tree experienced significant winter desiccation and browning.

Deep snow during the winter covered the lower branches, protecting them from the drying effects of dry air, wind, and sun throughout the winter, while the top of the tree experienced significant winter desiccation and browning. Photo: Bill Ruff

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

Recently, several reports of evergreens turning brown have come in from around the state. Spruce trees seem to be the most commonly reported species, as well as being the most severely impacted. We’re also seeing this on white pine, balsam fir, and white cedar, with some areas more heavily impacted than others. Forest health specialists in northeast, central, and southern Wisconsin have received many reports, with reports being submitted in other areas of the state as well. This appears to be a widespread problem: a recent article from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Health unit outlined the same issue. Continue reading “Browning on spruce and other conifers due to winter drying”

White pine blister rust

On this white pine, you can see on the lower left a branch recently killed by blister rust; on the lower right is a branch that is slightly off-color. The off-color branch also had a canker but it had not yet completely girdled the branch.

On this white pine, you can see on the lower left a branch recently killed by blister rust; on the lower right is a branch that is slightly off-color. The off-color branch also had a canker but it had not yet completely girdled the branch. Photo: Linda Williams

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

White pine blister rust is a fungus that causes cankers on white pine. The cankers can girdle and kill branches or the main stem of the tree. White pine blister rust infections create “dead spots” or cankers that continue to expand each year on the branches or main stem. Eventually, orange pustules develop which erupt around the edges of the canker; this is how the fungus reproduces. Continue reading “White pine blister rust”