Technical assistance

How do Wisconsin professionals use outreach materials to engage residents in urban tree care?

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and UW-Madison Division of Extension (UWEX) are partnering to better understand the informational resources available to professionals who provide tree care advice and services to urban residents in Wisconsin. Using information collected from an exploratory survey in early 2019, DNR and UWEX staff plan to improve access to these resources and address additional needs by creating new resources. Next steps include identifying a place where existing and new materials can be easily accessed by all audiences.

When asked to report the most commonly discussed topics with homeowners, pests and diseases emerged as the top issue (36% of respondents) with tree planting/care/selection or tree pruning as other popular topics (20-23% of respondents respectively). While 75% of respondents say that they use verbal advice to share information with residents always or most of the time, they also identified a diverse range of topics and types of content that they would find useful when communicating with their audiences. Click this link to view the wide range of suggestions offered by survey respondents.

Training – street and park tree management

Once again, the Village of Gays Mills will be providing excellent community forestry training for surrounding partners and cooperators. Workshop attendees will learn basic information to manage and care for their trees throughout their lifespan. Use the brochure found here to register. For any questions, please contact Cindy Kohles, Gays Mills Village Forester, at (608) 872-2184.

Spring 2019 chainsaw safety training

Routinely, DNR North Central Urban Forestry Coordinator Don Kissinger puts a call out to his networking group regarding chainsaw safety training. This past winter he hit the jackpot and received a great response and a first ever request for an Advanced Training. Thus, two courses occurred this past April (Basic & Advanced). Continue reading “Spring 2019 chainsaw safety training”

Revised emerald ash borer guidelines now available

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

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released updated guidelines to aid woodland owners and managers in managing ash stands in light of the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB). The guidelines that became effective on January 1, 2019 reflect new research, increased pest detections and the anticipated transition to a statewide EAB quarantine (which occurred in March 2018).

Forestry professional and landowner standing in hardwood stand assessing conditions.

Landowners should work with professional foresters to make management decisions related to EAB on their land.

The silvicultural guidelines are intended to help make informed stand-level decisions regarding management of stands that are not yet infested by EAB and stands that are already impacted by the tree-killing beetle. They should be used along with other materials, including best management practices and other guidance documents, to develop appropriate management plans. 

The revised guidelines include recommendations to:

  • Implement management plans as soon as practical, across all of Wisconsin, to reduce a stand’s ash component to no more than 20%. More management options are likely to be available by taking immediate action
  • Review existing management plans to determine if they need revision due to changes in EAB distribution, stand condition, market prices, etc.
  • Diversify woodlands with site-appropriate tree species
  • Utilize merchantable ash before trees are infested or killed. It may be appropriate to retain some live ash on site for ecological benefits, species diversity, wildlife habitat, temporary cover or seed production

The guidelines also place a greater emphasis on assessing stand and site conditions before making management decisions. The document offers stand management alternatives for both upland and lowland stands, while recognizing that conversion of lowland ash stands to other forest types will be impractical in many cases.

If you would like more information about emerald ash borer or these guidelines, visit the DNR EAB webpage or talk to your regional forest health specialist.

Revised Heterobasidion root disease guidelines now available

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released updated guidelines to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of Heterobasidion root disease (HRD) in Wisconsin through preventive stump treatments. The revised guidelines became effective on January 1, 2019, and a professionally designed version will be available soon. Woodland owners are strongly encouraged to work with a professional forester to make management decisions about HRD and preventive stump treatments.

Pocket of HRD-caused thinning and mortality in red pine plantation, Grant County.

Pocket of HRD-caused thinning and mortality in red pine plantation, Grant County.

Heterobasidion root disease is one of the most destructive diseases affecting conifers in the Northern Hemisphere. In Wisconsin, HRD is most commonly found in pine and spruce plantations. Infection by the wood-decaying Heterobasidion irregulare fungus kills living tissues and leads to growth loss and tree mortality. Spores landing on a fresh cut pine or spruce stump will infect that stump and root system and spread via root contact to neighboring trees, killing them as it invades their root systems. This pattern of spread creates pockets of dead and dying trees that expand outward. Growth reduction of trees leads to economic losses for plantation owners, and mortality of trees, including seedlings and saplings, has long-term implications for future stand composition and management.

The HRD stump treatment guidelines are designed to help make decisions about the use of preventive stump treatments when harvesting a stand. These treatments limit disease introduction by preventing fungal spores from developing on the exposed surfaces of newly cut stumps.

Cutting bar on logging equipment spraying blue chemical used in HRD stump treatments.

Pesticides used in stump treatments can be applied using logging equipment (blue mist exiting through nozzles in saw bar) or backpack sprayer.

Stump treatments are typically recommended between April 1 and November 30 if a stand is within 25 miles of a known HRD infection site and the stand is more than 50% pine and/or spruce. However, there are other factors to consider when deciding whether to use the preventive stump treatments. Certain situations when you may not need to treat stumps, referred to as “Exceptions” and “Modifications” in the guidelines, consider variables such as economic feasibility, landowner risk tolerance, unexpected weather patterns and future desired stand composition. Highlights of the revised stump treatment guidelines include:

  • Timing of treatments and general distance recommendations did not change from older guidance
  • Addition of spruce as a species recommended for stump treatment
  • Additional Exceptions and Modifications where treatment may not be necessary
  • For private landowners with a higher risk tolerance, a 6-mile radius from known infection sites can be considered when evaluating whether to apply treatments
  • Even if a stand is considered at low risk for HRD infection, woodland owners should carefully consider the potential impacts to their stand if preventive treatments are not used and HRD becomes established

Along with the guidelines, a web-based HRD map viewer has been launched. This interactive map displays confirmed HRD locations and 25-mile and 6-mile radius buffers around HRD locations. The purpose of this map is to help users determine whether a stand is within either the 25 or 6-mile buffers where stump treatments are recommended. You can enter an address or GPS location, turn map layers on and off, and zoom in and out to an area of interest.

If you would like more information about HRD or these guidelines, visit the DNR HRD webpage or talk to your regional forest health specialist.

Accounting for trees in stormwater models

Accounting for Trees in Stormwater Models is a resource to share with stormwater engineers. The paper is intended to help the stormwater engineering community more easily account for trees in runoff and pollutant load calculations and incorporate them into stormwater management strategies. It summarizes existing hydrologic and hydraulic models that can be applied at the site and small watershed scales to account for the stormwater benefits of conserving existing trees and/or planting new trees. The paper also includes examples of specific techniques to modify stormwater models to account for urban tree benefits, as well as associated resources and tools for estimating the hydrologic benefits of trees in the urban landscape. Continue reading “Accounting for trees in stormwater models”