Urban Forestry News

Fight Invasives As Part Of A CISMA

By Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR Invasive Plant Program Specialist, Oshkosh Service Center;
Erika.SegersonMueller@wisconsin.gov or 715-492-0391

Photo of a goat grazing during a demonstration held by the Monroe County Invasive Species Working Group

A field day in August 2023, hosted by Monroe County Invasive Species Working Group, featured a live goat grazing demonstration among presentations that included invasive plant identification tips, funding opportunities and management techniques. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

If you’ve been fighting invasive plants in your woodlands, you may have wondered if there were any groups in your area to support weed management. The short answer? Probably!

Wisconsin currently has 14 different Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, or CISMAs. These regional county groups bring together community members to work on various invasive species-related projects ranging from fieldwork outings to controlling and monitoring invasive plant occurrences to education and outreach events so more local citizens can learn about and get involved with invasive plant management.

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Urban Forestry Inflation Reduction Act Grants Update

By Laura Buntrock, DNR UF Partnership & Policy Specialist, Rhinelander; Laura.Buntrock@wisconsin.gov or 608-294-0253

We are excited to share the following updates on Urban Forestry Inflation Reduction Act Grants through the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR was allocated $4.875 million of Inflation Reduction Act funds from the USDA Forest Service earlier this year. Of that, $4 million will be sub-awarded to local entities through our competitive grant program. Given the requirements and intentions of these funds, the Urban Forestry Inflation Reduction Act Grants will People Talking at an Urban Parklook different from the grants we have offered in the past. We have meticulously worked through the emergency rule change process to temporarily modify the structure of our grant program to facilitate the disbursement of this new funding. Our regular and start-up grant offerings will continue unchanged in 2024.

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DNR Urban Forestry Program Announces 2024 Grant Recipients

By Nicolle Spafford, DNR Urban Forestry Grant Manager; Nicolle.Spafford@wisconsin.gov or 715-896-7099

city with trees

Photo Credit: Preston Keres, USDA Forest Service

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced Urban Forestry Grant Program recipients for the 2024 grant year. The program helps fund projects consistent with state and national goals for increasing the urban forest canopy.

The Urban Forestry Grant Program is distributing almost $805,000 in grant funds, with $554,680 in state funding and an additional $250,066 in federal funding. A dollar-for-dollar match puts the estimated cost of these projects over $1.6 million. In total, 58 applications were selected to receive funding, with awards ranging from $1,580 to $25,000. Continue reading “DNR Urban Forestry Program Announces 2024 Grant Recipients”

Save The Date: WAA/DNR Annual Conference, Feb. 25-27, 2024

Join the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Wisconsin Arborist Association (WAA) for the 2024 Wisconsin Annual Urban Forestry Conference. The conference will be held from Feb. 25 to 27 at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay.

The DNR and the WAA have developed three days of enriching educational programming on the latest research, innovations, developments and arboriculture and urban forestry industry issues.

This conference is intended for professional arborists, community foresters, nursery professionals, park and recreation directors and staff, tree care workers, landscape architects, green industry professionals, community administrators, volunteers and students. Continue reading “Save The Date: WAA/DNR Annual Conference, Feb. 25-27, 2024”

New-And-Improved USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which perennial plants are most likely to thrive in a given location. The map is based on the average annual extreme minimum winter temperature, displayed as 10-degree Fahrenheit zones and 5-degree Fahrenheit half zones.

WI USDA Plant Zone MapThirty years of data was reviewed by a group of horticultural, botanical and climatological experts for the latest USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map revision. This was determined to be the best balance between the fluctuations of year-to-year weather variation and the concept that, during their lifetimes, perennial plants mostly experience what is termed “weather” rather than “climate.”  A complex algorithm was used for this edition of the Plant Hardiness Zone Map to enable more accurate interpolation between weather reporting stations. This method accounts for factors such as elevation change and proximity to bodies of water, making mapping zones more accurate. Continue reading “New-And-Improved USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map”

Winter Work: Invasive Honeysuckle Treatment

Cross-section photo of the brown and hollow pith of the invasive honeysuckle plant.

The pith of invasive honeysuckle, seen here, is brown and hollow. / Photo Credit: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

By Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR Invasive Plant Program Specialist, Oshkosh;
Erika.SegersonMueller@wisconsin.gov or 715-492-0391

They may have sweet-sounding names, but Eurasian bush honeysuckles (Lonicera spp.) can bring a bitter taste to your mouth if found in your woodlands.

Originating as horticultural plantings, this group of upright woody shrubs is now widespread in Wisconsin and the upper Midwest.

Invasive honeysuckle shrubs are among the earliest plants to leaf out in the spring and the last to lose their leaves in the fall. This extended growing season allows them to outcompete other plants for nutrients and sunlight, casting dense shade on the forest floor.

Native honeysuckles are also present in Wisconsin. Several identifying characteristics can help you determine if your honeysuckle is a native species or one of the invasive varieties. When in bloom, the flowers of invasive Bell’s, Morrow’s and Tartarian honeysuckles are easily distinguished. Without the blooms, the easiest methods to determine non-native honeysuckle from the native plant include looking for shaggy, peeling gray-brown bark and checking the pith.

The pith (inner tissue of the branches and stems) can be observed by breaking off an older branch. If the pith appears white, the shrub is native honeysuckle. If the pith is brown and hollow, it is likely one of the invasive bush versions.

Winter is a great time to treat invasive honeysuckle shrubs on your property since most other plants have gone dormant for the season. Winter herbicide applications are highly successful on freshly cut stumps, provided snow does not cover the cut surface. Basal bark applications may also be used on snow-free surfaces.

Stump cutting should be followed by herbicide treatments, as vigorous resprouting may occur from shrubs cut in winter but not treated with herbicide. Learn more about invasive honeysuckles and how to manage them on the Bush honeysuckles fact sheet from Renz Weed Science at the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Please Report Beech Scale Outside Of Door County

Map showing locations of known moderate or high beech scale populations as of November 2023, in red.

Locations of known moderate or high beech scale populations as of November 2023 are shown in red. High populations are known to be widespread in Door County. / Map Credit: Bill McNee, Wisconsin DNR

By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh;
bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0942

Earlier this year, we reported that high populations of the non-native insect beech scale (Cryptococcus fagisuga) were identified for the first time in Marinette and Sheboygan counties. Since then, several more sites with moderate or high scale populations have been identified (see map).

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Make Your 2024 Spongy Moth Treatment Plans Early

Photo of a finger pointing to a tan-colored spongy moth egg mass on a tree.

A finger points to a tan-colored spongy moth egg mass on a tree. / Photo Credit: Bill McNee, Wisconsin DNR

By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh;
Bill.McNee@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0942

If the 2024 spring and summer weather conditions are favorable for the spongy moth (Lymantria dispar) population, the current outbreak will continue and spread to other parts of Wisconsin. Property owners are encouraged to examine susceptible host trees (including oak, birch, crabapple, aspen and willow) and make plans to manage them.

In summer 2023, Wisconsin saw a record amount of defoliation. State agencies received many calls from property owners urgently seeking a tree care business to control a large caterpillar infestation.

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Jenn Janness Joins DNR Urban Forestry Team

DNR Urban Forestry welcomes Jenn Janness to the team. She will be focusing on urban forestry outreach and supporting the Urban Forestry Council. Jenn shares this introduction of herself:

I have spent most of my career involved in outreach, training and nonprofit management. I worked at UW-Oshkosh as an AmeriCorps program director for many years before becoming a job skills instructor and then a program coordinator for a transitional housing program. Since 2021, I have been employed with the DNR at the Kettle Moraine Northern Unit and at Brule River State Forest as a Natural Resources Educator and Park and Rec Specialist. I look forward to learning more about urban forestry and combining my communications skills with my passion for conservation. Luckily, the Brule DNR had space so I can continue to enjoy beautiful views out of the windows of their historic building while I work! In my free time, I enjoy exploring the outdoors, crocheting and reading in my hammock. I love to travel so am looking forward to visiting different areas of the state as part of my new position!

LEAF Resources For Connecting Kids With Nature

By Jonathan Ismail, LEAF K-12 Forestry Education Program Outreach Specialist, Stevens Point jismail@uwsp.edu or 715-346-3229

Kids identifying trees

Photo Credit: Jonathan Ismail, LEAF K-12 Forestry Education Program Outreach Specialist

Numerous research studies support the idea that green spaces and vibrant tree canopy at school campuses are important for students’ academic and socioemotional growth. But that can be easily overlooked during construction, design build and as our school grounds in our communities age over time. Municipal foresters and tree boards can be part of driving positive change.

Three critical preconditions for learning – ability to concentrate, intrinsic motivation and manageable levels of stress – have been linked to green schoolyards in recent research[1]. At the LEAF K-12 Forestry Education Program, a partnership between the DNR Division of Forestry and University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, our resources can help you get students outdoors and connected with nature. For example, our Forest Mapping activity provides learners with hands-on outdoor mapping investigations of their school campus.

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