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Red Oak Irony

By Paul Cigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Hayward, paul.cigan@wisconsin.gov or 715-416-4920

Red oak trees in many areas of northern Wisconsin are aptly fitting their name as many crowns exhibit a red hue this summer.

A red oak tree with a red and green leaves.

Red oaks are producing a second flush of leaves following oak leafroller defoliation in spring, resulting in trees with red-looking crowns. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

Widespread defoliation by oak leafrollers in May and June has led many oaks to generate a second set of leaves after being stripped. New expanding leaves often display a prominent red color that gives the tree crown a stark reddish appearance from afar.

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Eyes On Beech Leaf Disease

By Ethan Wachendorf, Forest Health Lab Technician, Fitchburg, ethan.wachendorf@wisconsin.gov or 608-273-6276

Forest owners and land managers should be on the lookout for beech leaf disease (BLD), a destructive disease of beech trees. The disease is primarily found on American beech (Fagus grandifolia) but can also be found on ornamental species like European, Oriental and Chinese beech (F. sylvatica, F. orientalis and F. engleriana).

Multiple symptomatic beech leaves showing dark striping between lateral veins on the underside of the canopy.

Symptomatic striping seen from under the canopy. This photo was taken in Ohio. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

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Pine Sawyer Beetle: A Noteworthy Native

By Linda Williams, Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665

This time of year, you may see black beetles with long antennae flying around, especially in areas with pine trees. These slow, ungainly flyers are a native longhorn species called white-spotted sawyer beetle, also known as pine sawyer.

Pine sawyers are black beetles with long antennae.

Pine sawyer adult male. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

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Troubled White Pines: Disease And Thinning

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

Scattered white pine in Oneida and Vilas counties had significant amounts of needles that turned light tan or pale yellow this spring. Those needles have mostly dropped from trees, leaving them quite thin.

Some white pine needles are tan colored due to Lophodermium infection.

Tan-colored needles infected with Lophodermium. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

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Hungry, Hungry Japanese Beetles

By Linda Williams, Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665

Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) are an invasive insect that feed on many plant species. They skeletonize leaves, which means that they eat the material between the veins and often leave lacy veins that turn brown and curl.

An adult beetle on a leaf.

Japanese beetle adult. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

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Tubakia Leaf Disease Mimicking Oak Wilt

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

Tubakia leaf spot (Tubakia dryina) is a leaf disease that typically affects the lower canopy of oaks. It caused some issues in 2021 and is affecting red oak trees in north-central Wisconsin this year as well.

Oak leaves with abnormally-shaped brown blotches.

Tubakia creates abnormal blotches and spots on oak leaves that can coalesce. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

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Summer Of Spongy Moth

By Andrea Diss-Torrance, Invasive Insects Program Coordinator, Madison, Andrea.DissTorrance.wisconsin.gov

Spongy moth* (formerly known as gypsy moth) populations are entering an outbreak phase in southern Wisconsin due to last year’s dry, hot weather. This pest is rising most rapidly in oak-dominated areas, especially in landscaped spaces with turf and high human activity (i.e., parks, picnic areas, campgrounds and yards). This open ground and human disturbance deter spongy moth’s predators and diseases.

Large, defoliated yard trees along road in neighborhood.

Oak trees are more vulnerable to defoliation in disturbance-heavy environments. These oak trees in Middleton, Wisconsin are facing heavy defoliation by spongy moth. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

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Catastrophic Hail Injury To Trees In Northwest Wisconsin

By Paul Cigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Hayward, Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov or 715-416-4920

Conifer and hardwood trees have begun showing more apparent and often substantial signs and symptoms of damage from a severe hailstorm that spread across several northwestern Wisconsin counties on May 9, 2022.

The storm produced golf ball-size hailstones and high-speed winds causing catastrophic injury to tree branches and stems, in addition to defoliation. Few tree species were spared in its path. The heaviest impact occurred in northeastern Polk County, where defoliation of aspen and black locust reached nearly 100%, and pine exceeded 90% (Fig. 1). Red and white oaks show more moderate damage.

Aspen trees nearly entirely defoliated.

Figure 1. Polk County had nearly 100% defoliation from a severe May hailstorm. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

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Giant Hogweed Or Cow Parsnip?

By Jaqi Christopher, DNR Forest Invasive Plant Specialist, Rhinelander, Jacquelyn.christopher@wisconsin.gov

Giant hogweed is a large invasive species commonly confused with the native look-alike cow parsnip. Although giant hogweed is uncommon in Wisconsin, it’s important to know the difference between the two.

Person standing with giant hogweed towering over them.

Giant hogweed can invade woodlots and get 8-20 feet tall. Photo Credit: Ramona Shackleford

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