Month: July 2020

Report surviving elm in the forest

You can help keep native elm trees in the forests of Wisconsin! The US Forest Service continues to work on a project to identify Dutch elm disease (DED)-tolerant American elms native to Wisconsin forests. The goal of the project is to identify and propagate survivor American elms, especially from the colder hardiness zones 3-4, and develop a series of clone banks. Selections would eventually be screened for tolerance to DED. Ultimately, the goal is to make DED-tolerant American elm available for reforestation in northern areas, particularly as a component on sites currently forested by black ash.

If you live in hardiness zones 3 and 4, please look for evidence of surviving elms and report them to the US Forest Service.

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Forest tent caterpillar populations high in small localized areas

Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff,, 920-360-0665

Forest tent caterpillar (FTC) is a native insect with periodic outbreaks. Reports of high populations have been coming in this spring from the towns of Nokomis, Three Lakes and Sugar Camp in Oneida County. There is some defoliation in these areas, but the geographic extent of damage is still limited. When looking for caterpillars in northeastern Wisconsin, it was not difficult to find at least one or two of them, which is an increase from past years when it was difficult to find any caterpillars at all.

Close-up photo of forest tent caterpillar shows the insect's unique "footprint" design that runs along the top of its back.

Forest tent caterpillars go through several instars, or growth stages. Colors vary between stages but all have the cream-colored “boot prints” down their backs.

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Reddish oak leaves not a cause for concern

Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff,, 920-360-0665 

Have you noticed any oaks looking kind of red this spring? Or maybe you’ve noticed that the leaves at the tips of the branches are looking red or maroon? 

Some oak leaves look red from a distance, likely due to a prolonged cool spring.

From a distance some oaks have a red hue, probably due to a prolonged and cool spring.

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Basswood leaves defoliated and trees looking thin

Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff,, 920-360-0665 

Basswood trees in Forest, Marinette and Oconto counties are looking very poor this year. The leaves are damaged, misshapen or completely missing. Several things seem to be happening, but the worst offenders seem to be a late frost/freeze and a suspected infestation by introduced basswood thrips.

Evidence of basswood thrips on a single leaf; some defoliation and dieback.

Evidence of suspected basswood thrips infestation in early spring.

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