Month: August 2021

Heterobasidion Root Disease (HRD) Found In Fond Du Lac And Racine Counties

By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh, or 920-360-0942

Heterobasidion root disease (HRD), formerly known as annosum root rot, was recently found in Fond du Lac and Racine counties for the first time. Thinned pine stands were surveyed by DNR forestry staff in four eastern counties where the disease had not been previously found (Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Racine and Winnebago counties).

Counties where Heterobasidion root disease (HRD) has been found as of August 2021 are shown in green.

Continue reading “Heterobasidion Root Disease (HRD) Found In Fond Du Lac And Racine Counties”

Oak Wilt Symptoms Visible Now

By Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff, or 920-360-0665. 

Symptoms of oak wilt are showing up. Look for leaves that suddenly wilt and drop from the tree. Oak wilt is a non-curable, fungal disease specific to oaks. Trees in the red oak family will die quickly from this disease, while trees in the white oak family will die more slowly, with a branch or portion of the crown becoming infected. 

This tree is actively wilting from oak wilt infection and will drop most of its leaves within about 4-6 weeks.

Continue reading “Oak Wilt Symptoms Visible Now”

Oak Timberworm, Not Your Average Weevil

By Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff, or 920-360-0665

Oak timberworm, Arrhenodes minutus, is a primitive weevil that can cause defects and degrade in red and white oak timber. They can also infest elm, poplar and beech. Egg-laying females will seek out trees that are damaged, wounded, nearly dead or recently dead. After the eggs hatch, the larvae bore across the grain through the tree then “U-turn” back across the grain to the point of origin, taking two or three years to complete their life cycle and creating a lumber defect called a wormhole. When infested wood is split for firewood, the weevils may emerge in homes or garages if they had already pupated when the firewood was split. 

Male oak timberworm on a Northern red oak that was damaged in a storm.

Continue reading “Oak Timberworm, Not Your Average Weevil”

Lacebugs: Delicate But Damaging

By Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff, or 920-360-0665

Lacebugs are tiny, delicate-looking insects that can cause leaves to turn a little off-color. They are typically found feeding on the undersides of leaves, where they insert their mouthparts and suck the sap from the leaves. From the top of the leaves, these areas where the feeding damage occurs are stippled with small white or yellow specks, often in a generally circular pattern. Recently congregations of adult and nymph lacebugs were noted on the twigs of basswood, but it was unclear if they were feeding on the twigs or just resting there. 

Lacebug adults and nymphs have congregated on this basswood twig.

Continue reading “Lacebugs: Delicate But Damaging”

Woolly Aphids Observed And Reported On Social Media

By Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff, or 920-360-0665

Have you noticed small, white fluffy things floating through the air? If you have a chance to look closely at these small bits of fluff, you’ll see that they’re actually insects; these are woolly aphids. They produce waxy filaments that help them avoid predators that don’t want to chew on their fluffy excretions.

Woolly alder aphid group is protected by the waxy filaments covering them.

Continue reading “Woolly Aphids Observed And Reported On Social Media”

Wild Cucumber Will Catch Your Attention

Plants that are pokey, viney or spread quickly across the landscape sometimes seem alarming when you discover them in your backyard or woods or when they’re spotted along the highway. Wild cucumber has all these characteristics but is not as ominous as it seems.

Wild cucumber (Echinocystis lobata) is a vine native across the U.S. and found throughout Wisconsin. It has maple-like star-shaped leaves and has pale greenish-white flowers from July through September. A single plant is self-fertile but can also be pollinated by bees, wasps and flies. It produces a pod-like fruit with spikes resembling a cucumber which is unsafe to eat. Each pod produces four seeds that fall to the ground when the pod is ripe. The pods may persist into the winter and become thin brown shells.

Star-shaped leaves, pale flowers, and cucumber fruit of wild cucumber. Photo: Bugwood

Continue reading “Wild Cucumber Will Catch Your Attention”