Month: August 2018

Defoliation of black cherry trees by cherry scallop shell moth

By Mike Hillstrom, forest health specialist, Fitchburg., 608-513-7690

Caterpillars of cherry scallop shell moths (Rheumaptera prunivorata) are defoliating black cherry trees of all sizes in far southeastern Jefferson County and slightly into Walworth County. Many cherry trees have been completely defoliated. This is the third consecutive year of damage in this location. Defoliation by cherry scallop shell moth caterpillars has increased each year; hopefully natural enemies that typically cause the populations to crash show up soon and do their job as multiple years of defoliation is stressful to trees. In addition to cherry scallop shell moths, there is concern about possible attack on black cherry trees by peach bark beetles (Phloeotribus liminaris), but none have been reported yet.

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Fall webworms start making an appearance

By Todd Lanigan, forest health specialist, Eau Claire, WI.; 715-210-0150

A silken nest full of caterpillars, excrement and debris. Photo: Todd Lanigan

A silken nest full of caterpillars, excrement and debris. Photo: Todd Lanigan

Web-like nests of fall webworm (Hyphantrea cunea) caterpillars, a common native pest active from July through September, are beginning to appear in parts of the state. A common native pest throughout most of the U.S. and southern Canada, fall webworm caterpillars feed on leaves of almost all shade, fruit, and ornamental trees and shrubs, except for conifers. They typically form nests of loose webbing over the tips of tree branches.  Although populations of fall webworm caterpillars are rarely large enough to cause lasting damage to trees, the presence of nests and feeding damage from caterpillars can greatly affect trees’ aesthetic value. Typically, trees recover from feeding damage on their own, but defoliation for more than two or three years in a row could make trees more susceptible to diseases and pests.

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Forest Health Program welcomes new forest invasive plant coordinator

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

Michael Putnam

Michael Putnam, DNR Forestry’s new forest invasive plant coordinator.

The Forest Health Program is excited to welcome Mike Putnam as its new forest invasive plant coordinator. Mike has been working with the program as an LTE for more than four years in Madison; his new position is in Rhinelander. He’ll be focusing on invasive plants prevention and management with DNR foresters and partners, so please reach out to him with field work opportunities.

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Rose chafer and Japanese beetle populations high in parts of state

By Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, (, 920-360-0665 and Todd Lanigan, forest health specialist, Eau Claire (, 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.

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Defoliation by spruce budworm low to moderate in NE Wisconsin

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

Severely defoliated balsam fir in Vilas County.

Severely defoliated balsam fir in Vilas County.

In many areas this summer, damage from spruce budworm (Choristoneura spp.), a native insect, is less noticeable than in past years. Although heavy defoliation is evident north of St. Germain in Vilas County and at a site in Shawano County, only light to moderate defoliation has been seen in other areas. Light defoliation was observed in Bayfield, Florence, Forest, Marinette, Oneida, Shawano, and Vilas counties. Defoliation was less predominant last year as well, probably because of unusually heavy rainfall in spring 2017 which led to an increase in tree growth. This year’s spring was also unusually wet, resulting in increased tree growth.

Spruce budworm outbreaks typically last about 10 years; the current outbreak began in 2012. The last two years of exceptionally robust tree growth may help some of the damaged trees to at least partially recover. Since 2012, some areas of northeastern Wisconsin experienced three or four years of heavy defoliation; affected trees are either dead or declining despite good growing conditions.

White pine bast scale and fungus

By Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff.; 920-360-0665

Branches in the mid- and lower-crown of this white pine are being killed by white pine bast scale and a fungal disease.

Branches in the mid- and lower-crown of this white pine are being killed by white pine bast scale and a fungal disease. Photo: Linda Williams

White pine bast scale and canker fungus has been identified in two sites in Oneida County. This insect/fungus complex is a new issue in the state; those who work with white pine should be alert for signs and symptoms.

White pine bast scale, a native scale, is tiny, black, oval-shaped, and lacks both eyes and legs. It uses a long stylet to siphon sap from outer layers of phloem (bast) of twigs and branches. White pine bast scales live under lichens on white pine branches. Although lichens don’t directly harm trees, they provide shelter for scale insects.

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Plan now for spring planting

Proper tree planting requires a lot of decision making. One of those decisions is which species and which age is the most appropriate and cost effective to plant. The Division of Forestry’s reforestation program would like to take some of the unknowns out of that process by giving landowners and property managers an early peek at what the Wisconsin state nurseries anticipate having available this fall.

This list is preliminary, as it is possible that some species will be added or subtracted depending on health, growth, and several other factors as the growing season begins to wane. However, most of these trees and shrubs listed will be available to purchase on the first Monday of October (October 1, 2018).  Here is our seedling sales page. 

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Oak in the Driftless Workshop

Saturday, September 29, 2018  •  UW-Baraboo/Sauk County

This landowner workshop will cover a wide range of topics centered on the idea that oaks, today and in the future, are a shared resource important to people and wildlife in the Driftless Area in southwestern Wisconsin.

Learn from field experts about the many topics around oak during the morning session and continue discussions at lunch (provided); see some of these practices in action during the afternoon session when you to visit one of several woodland properties actively managing oak.

Topics include
• Oak ecology
• Improving wildlife habitat
• Planting trees
• Controlling invasive species
• Properly harvesting trees
• Understanding what your trees are worth
• and much more!

Cost is just $25 (Individual), $40 (Couple)
Hurry! These early-bird rates end August 19th.
Register online now.

Woodland owners annual meeting

The 39th annual meeting of the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association will be September 20-23, 2018 at the Potawatomi Carter Casino and Hotel in Wabeno, Wisconsin.

Join WWOA in northeast Wisconsin and experience all the fun tours and interesting presenters that the Phoenix Falls Chapter members have created for all to enjoy!

Come for a tour or stay for the whole weekend – there a variety of registration options. 

  • Learn a wealth of information from speakers, members, and exhibitors
  • Participate in a variety of exciting and interesting field tours
  • Get ideas to improve your woodland
  • Meet people and organizations who can be a resource for your next woodland activity
  • Broaden your knowledge of the value of sound forest management

Registration for the 2018 Annual Meeting is now available!  Visit this page for descriptions of tours and speakers.

Tree Farm Field Day on August 11

Tree Farmers Dale and Cathy Paulson

Dale and Cathy Paulson, land stewards and 2017 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year

The Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee invites you to attend their 2018 Annual Field Day on Saturday, August 11 2018 in Bayfield County in northwest Wisconsin.

Take a 3-hour walking tour of young forest habitat, regenerating woodlands and successional forest along a trout stream as you stroll Dale and Cathy Paulson’s 131-acre tree farm. On this property the Paulsons harvest saw logs and pulpwood, protect the trout stream, keep bees, garden and create works of art in their woodworking shop. Return to the Town of Bell Community Center in Cornucopia, WI for lunch, natural resources displays and programs, and silent auction.


Registration is required and covers lunch, refreshments, bus transportation to and from the Community Center in the Town of Bell, and a field tour booklet. Cost: $20/person, $30/couple. For more information and to register visit this site.