What Do You Do With Your Old Christmas Trees?

By Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist, Daniel.Buckler@wisconsin.gov, 608-445-4578

Father and daughter bringing a tree home to decorate for Christmas. Source: WI DNR

At probably the same stage of life when I thought bread was just a medium to consume peanut butter, I thought the purpose of Christmas trees was to be a home for presents. However, like many people over the years, my appreciation for these incredible evergreen plants has grown. I love bringing green things into the home when the world can otherwise look bleak.

Unlike urban trees, which were planted and maintained for all sorts of benefits to humans and the wider environment, Christmas trees and other holiday plants are predominantly planted to be harvested at a young age. But like urban trees, their fate following their life’s work is unknown.

We wonder what you do with your Christmas trees or other holiday plants. We encourage you to fill out the short survey linked below. We are particularly interested in any novel ways you may utilize the plants. Next month, we will share results and, hopefully, a few stories.

SURVEY LINK Continue reading “What Do You Do With Your Old Christmas Trees?”

Local Filmmakers Make Stars Out of Local Trees

Micah Davis (left) and Steve Betchkal (right) hold their Midwest Emmy, awarded for their short film “Champion Trees”. Photo Credit: Story Time with Steve & Micah Facebook page

To see a heartwarming story about the power of trees, check out “BRANCHING OUT: Local Filmmakers Score Big by Making Stars Out of Local Trees” by Eric Rasmussen. Micah Davis and Steve Betchkal (Story time with Steve and Micah) spotlight the city of Eau Claire and explore its connection with its trees in a video called Champion Trees.   Continue reading “Local Filmmakers Make Stars Out of Local Trees”

Make Your 2023 Spongy Moth Treatment Plans Early

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

As long as weather conditions are favorable for the spongy moth* (formerly known as gypsy moth) population, the current outbreak is predicted to continue and spread to other parts of Wisconsin in 2023. Property owners are encouraged to examine susceptible host trees (including oak, birch, crabapple, aspen and willow) and plan ahead.

Spongy moth egg masses on a tree next to a penny for size comparison.

Spongy moth egg masses are tan-colored lumps that are larger than a penny, about the size of a nickel or quarter. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

Continue reading “Make Your 2023 Spongy Moth Treatment Plans Early”

Harvest Timing Affected By Spongy Moth

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

Numerous spongy moth egg masses on a bur oak in southern Waukesha County, November 2022.

Numerous spongy moth egg masses on a bur oak in southern Waukesha County, November 2022. Photo: Bill McNee, Wisconsin DNR.

Forest managers planning silvicultural treatments in spongy moth susceptible stands (containing a large proportion of host species including oak, birch, aspen and basswood) are encouraged to annually conduct egg mass surveys in the few years prior to the scheduled treatment to predict if heavy defoliation is likely. The results may indicate that management activities should be altered or delayed until an outbreak has ended. At present, stands that were heavily defoliated in 2022 or are predicted to be heavily defoliated in 2023 are most likely to need a management delay or alteration.

It is recommended that a time interval be left between a stress agent (such as heavy defoliation or significant drought) and stand thinning so that the trees can recover from pre-existing stress before being subjected to additional stress. One growing season is a common interval for healthy stands that are not being subjected to drought or other stresses. A longer interval is suggested if the tree stress has been more severe or if the stand was not healthy and vigorously growing at the time of defoliation. The same interval is probably appropriate regardless of which stress agent is the pre-existing one. A protective aerial spray may prevent tree stress from defoliation but is usually not economically viable due to the high cost of an aerial treatment.

Continue reading “Harvest Timing Affected By Spongy Moth”

DATCP: Dead Spotted Lanternflies Detected On Nursery Stock From Out-of-State

On Nov. 3, 2022, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) received a report of spotted lanternfly from a Walworth County landowner. The observant landowner had found multiple dead and a single dying adult spotted lanternfly on nursery stock purchased from an Illinois nursery. This serves as a reminder to always inspect your stock upon arrival in the nursery trade and prior to planting in your yard.

See the full article in DATCP’s What’s Growing On? November Newsletter.

Learn more about spotted lanternfly on DATCP’s website.

Spotted Lanternfly with wings outspread

Bur Oak Blight Confirmed In Fond du Lac County

By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh, bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov

Recent lab examination has confirmed bur oak blight in Fond du Lac County. The disease affects only bur oaks and is caused by the fungus, Tubakia iowensis.

Map of Wisconsin counties where bur oak blight has been confirmed.

Map of counties where bur oak blight has been confirmed. Map credit: Wisconsin DNR.

Continue reading “Bur Oak Blight Confirmed In Fond du Lac County”

Free Seedlings For Wisconsin Fourth-Graders

sugar maple seedlings

One-year-old sugar maple seedlings growing in Wisconsin nursery bed.

Every year since 1984, Wisconsin 4th-grade students have been eligible to receive a free tree seedling from DNR state nurseries to complement their Arbor Day observations. The application period for the “2022-23 Arbor Day Free Tree Seedlings for Wisconsin 4th Graders” is now open. School principals, 4th-grade teachers and 4th-grade homeschool parents are encouraged to visit the DNR’s tree planting webpage to order seedlings for Wisconsin 4th-grade students.

The seedlings will be shipped next spring in time for Arbor Day celebrations.  They come with a plastic bag for protection and instructions on how to plant and care for them. Planting a seedling and watching it grow can be a great learning tool for students. Find ideas for planning an Arbor Day celebration on this DNR webpage.

If you have any questions about the free seedling program for Wisconsin 4th-graders, please contact Carey Skerven at the Griffith State Nursery (Carey.Skerven@wisconsin.gov).

Urban Wildlife Management Grants Available

Applications for the Urban Wildlife Damage Abatement and Control Grant are open. The deadline to apply is Dec. 1.

Municipalities in an eligible urban area can apply. The grant provides a 50% cost share with a maximum award of $5,000.

Urban Wildlife Damage Abatement and Control (UWDAC) Grants help urban areas develop wildlife plans and implement specific damage abatement and/or control measures for white-tailed deer and/or Canada geese. Continue reading “Urban Wildlife Management Grants Available”

 ISA 2022 International Conference Registration Open

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is hosting its 3rd Annual International Virtual Conference on Dec. 13-14. Join ISA for this engaging and compelling virtual event and take advantage of the opportunity to network with colleagues, businesses and arboricultural professionals worldwide.

This year’s virtual event provides a lineup of on-demand educational breakout sessions led by industry leaders from around the globe, sharing their thoughts and views about research, practice and technology. Continue reading ” ISA 2022 International Conference Registration Open”