Taking action

Treat your valuable ash trees against EAB

By Bill McNee, DNR forest health specialist, Oshkosh, bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0942

Spring is the best time to evaluate valuable ash trees and determine if they should be treated to protect them from emerald ash borer (EAB). Emerald ash borer is currently the most damaging threat to trees in the state, killing more than 99 percent of the ash trees it infests.

Insecticide treatments to prevent EAB infestation are usually applied between mid-April and mid-May, so it is important to start planning now. The first thing homeowners should do is check their ash trees for signs of infestation. Woodpecker damage is easy to see this time of year and is often the earliest visible sign of EAB. Photos of other signs and symptoms can be found on the DNR EAB website.

Ash trees with woodpecker "flecking" indicate EAB infestation.

Signs of EAB infestation include woodpecker damage where the birds pick away ash tree bark to feed on larvae.

Emerald ash borer has become so widespread that homeowners should consider treating valuable ash trees no matter where they are in Wisconsin. The highest risk of EAB infestation is within 15 miles of a known infestation, but it is widely believed that there are additional, undetected EAB infestations throughout the state. To see a map of known EAB infestations, visit the Wisconsin EAB website.

While the best time to treat ash trees is before they are infested, treatments of infested trees can still be successful if done while EAB populations within the tree are low or moderate. Some ash trees may be too heavily infested to save or they may have other problems that make them poor candidates for treatment.

Trunk injection treatment for EAB. Credit: Matthew Karst.

Trunk injection treatment to protect against EAB. Credit: Matthew Karst.

You should consider several factors when deciding whether to treat your ash trees. Insecticide treatments can be costly, but the investment may be worthwhile if you consider the many benefits that healthy yard trees provide, including higher property values, better air quality, shading and cooling for homes and more. Removing and replacing your ash trees is another option and may be the best choice for heavily infested and lower value trees. For trees that you decide are worth saving, however, the cost to treat may still be less than removing and replacing them with other species. This factsheet from UW-Extension can help you decide whether a tree is worth treating.

If you decide to treat, or if you want to discuss treatment options with a professional, call a certified arborist or search online and in phone books for other businesses. Check the credentials and insecticide applicator certification of any business before hiring them to treat your ash trees.

Treatments are not economically practical for ash found in woodlots. Any questions about woodlot management should be directed to a professional forester.

Despite the cold winter temperatures in late January and early February, don’t postpone treatment of ash trees. Weather data and collection of overwintering EAB larvae at two sites in Waukesha County predict high insect survival rates in most of the state. Female beetles can lay up to 200 eggs, so EAB populations will quickly rebound from any mortality that occurred due to cold weather.

More information about EAB and management options can be found through the Wisconsin EAB website.

Prepare for the return of gypsy moths

By Bill McNee, DNR forest health specialist, Oshkosh, bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0942

Gypsy moth eggs should start hatching in a few weeks as temperatures continue to warm. Homeowners should survey their trees for egg masses and either treat or remove the eggs now to help protect trees from defoliation and reduce future caterpillar populations.

Property owners should start by looking for the egg masses. They can be found on nearly any outdoor surface, including tree trunks, undersides of branches, buildings, firewood piles and other outdoor objects. They are tan-colored lumps about the size of a nickel or quarter. Each egg mass can contain 500 to 1,000 eggs that will soon hatch into hungry caterpillars. While statewide gypsy moth numbers are currently low, isolated trees and locations may have high populations.

Gypsy moth larvae hatch from egg masses on outdoor bowl.

Gypsy moth larvae hatch from egg masses on outdoor bowl.

If egg masses are found, there are two options to help reduce pest numbers. Available at many garden centers and retail stores, horticultural oils that suffocate the eggs can be directly applied to the masses. These are most effective when temperatures are above 40 degrees and a return to freezing is not imminent.  Alternatively, egg masses within reach can be scraped into a can of soapy water and left to soak for a few days before being discarded in the trash.

Insecticide treatments may be appropriate for larger trees that have many egg masses. Some types of treatment are done before eggs hatch, and some are done while the caterpillars are small. Property owners looking to hire a business to treat large yard trees this spring should contact them soon. A list of certified arborists is available on the Wisconsin Arborist Association website. Additional businesses offering insecticide treatments may be found online or in a phone book. Questions about woodlot management should be directed to a professional forester.

Additional information about management options for homeowners, including sticky barrier bands and burlap collection bands, is available at the Wisconsin gypsy moth website.

2020 Forest Action Plan development begins

Development of Wisconsin’s 2020 Forest Action Plan is beginning now. Over the next year and a half, the Division of Forestry, along with Wisconsin’s greater forestry community, will be working collaboratively to review trends in the current state of forestry and identify future strategies that can help the forestry community refine how we collectively invest resources to address major management and landscape priorities. Engaging with all members of the forestry community is important to the success of the Forest Action Plan.

Here is more information on the Forest Action Plan, the timeline, and how the forestry community will be engaged.

To get updates on the process and progress of the 2020 Forest Action Plan, please sign up for the Forest Action Plan GovDelivery list.

Find up-to-date information on the 2020 Forest Action Plan online here.

If you have questions about your involvement or the Forest Action Plan in general, please contact Amanda Koch at AmandaA.Koch@wisconsin.gov  or at (608) 576-8146.

Urban forestry finds a voice on the Council on Forestry

Jordon Skiff“I have an opportunity to be a voice in the conversation.” As a new member of the Council on Forestry, Jordan Skiff, Fond du Lac public works director and Urban Forestry Council chair, will be an advocate for urban and community forestry, sharing its challenges and proclaiming its benefits. Skiff fills the urban forestry seat vacated by Dr. R. Bruce Allison in December 2016. Continue reading “Urban forestry finds a voice on the Council on Forestry”

A new year for making Wisconsin Active Together

Walk, Ride, and Roll Our Way to Thriving Communities!

Wisconsin Active Together logoWisconsin Active Together starts 2019 by recognizing fourteen new communities from across the state for their efforts to promote active lifestyles and for their pledge to do more–because in addition to celebrating accomplishments, communities can make resolutions to foster health too! Where we live impacts our wellness and the newly named Wisconsin Active Together Communities, now reaching 1.4 million Wisconsinites across the state, know that even small changes in the landscape and in promoting physical activity can add up to creating lasting changes for everyone’s benefit. And your community can now also apply to be recognized in 2019 for its commitment to advancing strategies for safe places to walk, bike, and be active while getting connected to resources, training, and a peer network of experts. Continue reading “A new year for making Wisconsin Active Together”

A tool to integrate public health considerations in the development of parks and trails

The National Park Service, Department of Health and Human Services and the Center for Disease Control came together to create the “Parks, Trails, and Health Workbook,” a quick guide and outline for incorporating public health considerations in the development of a park or trail. Utilizing the health impacts of these natural areas is a different and critically important way to promote parks and trails. Applying health benefits provides a personal connection and increased relevance to community members and encourages them to act and get outdoors. Continue reading “A tool to integrate public health considerations in the development of parks and trails”

Public comment period for EAB silviculture guidelines revision closes October 9

By Bill McNee, forest health specialist, Oshkosh. Bill.McNee@wisconsin.gov; 920-360-0942

Ash trees dying from an EAB infestation. Photo: Troy Kimoto, Bugwood.org

Ash trees dying from an EAB infestation. Photo: Troy Kimoto, Bugwood.org

The Wisconsin DNR is seeking public comments on a proposed revision to silviculture guidelines for emerald ash borer (EAB). Stand-level EAB silviculture guidelines were originally released in 2007, with periodic reviews and updates. A DNR technical team and stakeholder advisory committee prepared the current version using multiple sources of information, including recent research findings, identification and locations of new EAB infestations, economic considerations, and experience gained from implementing previous versions of the guidelines.

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 9, 2018. All comments must be submitted by that date.

Foster student success with trees in your neighborhood

September is back to school month.  How do you get those kids to settle down and focus after three months off?  The answer is as simple as walking right outside your front door!  Exposure to nature has shown various impacts on students, from improved academic performance and focus, to reduced Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms.  Research has shown exposure to nature during school hours is positively associated with academic performance, including standardized test scores, graduation rates, and plans to attend a four-year college.  Continue reading “Foster student success with trees in your neighborhood”

Look for gypsy moth egg masses

By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh. bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov; 920-360-0942

Gypsy moth egg masses. Photo: Bill McNee

Fall is an excellent time to look for and dispose of gypsy moth egg masses produced by adult moths this summer. Gypsy moth egg masses are felt-like, tan-colored patches about the size of a nickel or quarter that gypsy moth females deposit in protected places. Surveying for egg masses helps property owners predict how high populations of the insect will be during the subsequent spring and summer. Since egg masses usually don’t hatch until April, information gained from fall/winter surveys can be used to mitigate gypsy moth damage before the following season.  Continue reading “Look for gypsy moth egg masses”