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Deadlines approaching for Tree City, Bird City, and Bee City applications

Act fast to keep your Tree City, Bird City, and Bee City status! Due dates are as follows:

  • Tree City USA (TCUSA) applications are due December 31st
  • Bird City Wisconsin renewal applications are due January 31st (new applications can be submitted anytime)
  • Bee City USA renewal applications are due February 28th (new applications can be submitted anytime)

These three programs are each managed by a different nonprofit, but they have a lot in common. In fact, a single project could be used to help meet all three programs’ requirements!

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For best selection, place your nursery orders soon!

As we settle into winter, the spring planting season may seem a long way off, but it’s best to get a head start. December is an ideal time to contact your nursery supplier and place your order for spring. By ordering your trees now, you’ll have more trees to choose from and a greater chance of finding the species you want.

Not sure which species to plant? Check out the DNR’s Tree learning center webpage and the replanting tab of the Emerald ash borer community toolbox. These resources and tree selector tools can help you discover trees that may perform well in your community.

Once you’ve identified the best species for your area, draw up a planting plan that includes as many different species as possible. If you have a tree inventory, make sure to consult it. Your goal is to create an urban forest that is as diverse as possible. By planting with species diversity in mind, you are helping to protect your forest from future pests and pathogens.

To learn more about how to design a diverse urban forest, take a look at our Diversity rules and considerations pdf.

Recipients announced for regular and startup grants

This October, thirty-six applicants were selected to receive funding from the WDNR Urban Forestry program. Of the thirty-six selected, twenty will receive regular grants while the remaining sixteen will receive startup grants. $419,680 in available grant funding was awarded towards their efforts during the 2020 calendar year. The selected recipients join fifteen recipients of 2020 WDNR catastrophic storm grants earlier this year.

Between regular and startup grant projects, the funds awarded will range from $3,500 to $25,000 in a dollar-for-dollar match on projects that are estimated to total nearly $2 million.

The DNR Urban Forestry Grant program funds projects consistent with state and national goals for increasing the urban forest canopy and the benefits it provides. The urban forest encompasses trees on both public and private property. Priorities for the 2019 grant cycle include, but are not limited to, projects that increase the ability of local municipal partners to expand their urban forestry program; increase the ability of all local partners to provide ongoing urban forestry funding, services and/or markets; benefit multiple communities; and put existing inventories of urban trees to use.

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i-Tree Academy online training begins January

The US Forest Service and several key partners are offering an on-line training program called the i-Tree Academy, designed to introduce i-Tree tools to a class of 35 participants. The Academy instruction will be delivered by experienced members of the i-Tree project team, focused on helping users utilize the i-Tree software suite of tools which can be used to inventory, assess and report on the value of urban forests and greenspace.

The course will be approximately 4 months in length and includes bi-monthly online web sessions, self-paced learning modules, assignments, and completion of a student project. Students will be able to focus on a specific urban forestry issue of interest to them. The required two-hour web sessions will occur twice each month, 12:00 to 2:00 Eastern time.

The course begins on January 22, 2020, and registration must be completed by January 3rd. To learn more and to register for the course, visit the Urban Natural Resources Institute website.

Landscape and Grounds Maintenance Short Course

Extension is hosting a Landscape and Grounds Maintenance Short Course/Winter Seminar Series at several locations in southern Wisconsin. The course will be held four Fridays in January in Dane County and four Fridays in February in Milwaukee, Sheboygan, and Waukesha counties.

The program features qualified speakers who will cover a variety of horticultural topics. All interested individuals are welcome to attend.

For more information and to register, please follow these links:

What’s up with trees that haven’t lost their leaves yet?

Bottom line – Don’t worry (too much)

By Brian Wahl, DNR urban forestry coordinator, Fitchburg, Brian.Wahl@wisconsin.gov, 608-225-7943

Isn’t it time to LEAF? –Are our trees getting lazy and watching too much Netflix to be bothered with personal grooming? While this may be true for some tweens – something different is up with the trees.  Normally, as part of the autumnal process, leaves begin to shut down the photosynthesis factories, shunt some final nutrients around, change colors and eventually fall to the earth (or my gutters). For a leaf to fall easily from a tree, it actively forms/grows/activates an abscission layer – essentially forming a weak layer between the leaf and the tree – a final clue to the leaf that it is time to “fly”. 

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WDNR Urban Forestry Catastrophic Storm Grants to aid 15 communities

Fifteen communities will share $104,920 in 2020 grant funding to assist with storm damage sustained during the State of Emergency declared last July. Recipients in alphabetical order are as follows: City of Antigo, City of Appleton, City of Barron, Town of Greenville, Village of Kimberly, Village of Little Chute, City of New London, Oneida Nation, City of Pittsville, Village of Port Edwards, Village of Turtle Lake, City of Two Rivers, and City of Wisconsin Rapids.

Applicants requested a total of $593,975 in grant funding, with reported damages amounting to $1,712,261. We are seeking additional funding to fully meet all Catastrophic Storm Grant requests.

The DNR Urban Forestry Catastrophic Storm Grant program funds tree repair, removal or replacement within urban areas following a catastrophic storm event for which the governor has declared a State of Emergency under s. 323.10, Wis. Stats. A catastrophic storm means damage to urban forests caused by snow, ice, hail, wind or tornado. Catastrophic storm does not include insect infestation or disease, forest fire, drought or water saturation due to flooding.

In the event of a declared State of Emergency, the DNR Urban Forestry Grant program allots 20% of its available annual funds to aid communities, non-profits, and tribes. The grants do not require a dollar-for-dollar match.

Are you planning to treat your ash trees? If not, stay safe and save money by removing them ASAP!

The emerald ash borer (EAB) will kill nearly all of Wisconsin’s ash trees that are not protected by insecticides. If you have healthy ash trees in your yard, you have an important decision to make: protect your trees with insecticides or have them removed. Either way, time is of the essence. If you delay in treating your ash trees, the treatment may be less effective. And if you wait to remove them, removal costs will be greater and safety hazards will only get worse.

Credit: Joseph O’Brien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org

What makes infested trees so dangerous?

The structural integrity, or strength, of ash branches and tree trunks begins to decline as soon as the tree becomes infested and the wood begins to dry. Lower moisture content increases the risk of branch and trunk breakage, and the timing of breakage is usually unpredictable. Infested trees may also have total trunk failure soon after death, further increasing the chance of dangerous impacts to people and property.

Continue reading “Are you planning to treat your ash trees? If not, stay safe and save money by removing them ASAP!”

Indian Creek Woods – Ash removal and replanting

The Village of Fox Point has a 2.8 acre natural area called Indian Creek Woods (ICW).  Eighty percent of its trees were ash.  This natural area abuts a park, multiple backyards, a village road and has a walking trail going through it.  Safety is a main concern, especially with the ash trees beginning to decline from Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).  It was obvious the trees needed to be removed before they became dangerous to residents and the workers who would remove them.  The removal of all ash and undesirable box elder would result in a major visual change; over 80% of the canopy would be removed.  It was vital replanting was part of the effort.

A view of Indian Creek Woods before ash removal.

Bids for the removal of ash and boxelder (approximately 250 trees) were solicited in the fall of 2018.  Not only were the trees to be cut down, but the wood was to be removed from the site as well.  Three bids were received, with the lowest bidder being selected.  The work began in January 2019.  It took approximately two weeks for the contractor to finish the work.  They used tracked skid-steers with shears for most of the removals, while the largest diameter trees were felled after smaller surrounding trees had been removed.  Although most of the woods is on a ridge, the lowest area is quite wet during the summer.  By performing the work in the winter, this area froze sufficiently to allow access with the tracked equipment. 

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Welcome new Urban Forestry team member

By Jeff Roe, Urban Forestry Team Leader, Madison, Jeffrey.Roe@wisconsin.gov, 608-535-7582

I am very pleased to announce that Patricia Lindquist has accepted the Urban Forestry Communications and Outreach positions in our program. Patricia’s first day was on October 14, and she is based in Madison. She is very excited to be joining our team and working with all of you.

Nicknamed “woodsy girl” in college by her Austrian host family, Patricia has loved spending time in nature since childhood. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from UW-Madison, she spent six years working in urban forestry education and outreach at two local nonprofits, Community GroundWorks and Urban Tree Alliance. In her free time, Patricia can be found running, hiking, gardening, and traveling to the far corners of the globe with her trusty backpack.

She can be reached at patricia.lindquist@wisconsin.gov and 608-843-6248.