Family, Tradition And Nature

Dennis and Mary Krueger of Waupaca County.

Dennis and Mary Krueger of Waupaca County. / Photo Credit: Krueger family

Family, tradition and nature are three strong pillars to build a happy and successful life. Just ask Dennis Krueger and his wife, Mary, who have made a family and a forest together.

“We have always believed in the importance of traditions in building memories,” Mary Krueger said.

They remember starting the tradition of an annual “Fall Walk in the Woods” in 1988, visiting the farm owned by Dennis’ grandfather. The idea was hatched when a teacher gave their eldest daughter (age 10) an assignment to collect different types of leaves.

“[We] picked an early October afternoon, loaded a backpack with plastic bags to collect leaves and nuts and brought a lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and apples,” Mary Krueger said. “[Our] daughters (ages 10, 8 and 5) and son (age 3) thought this to be the best picnic ever, as we walked a logging trail in a piece of the hardwoods on Grandpa’s farm and settled on a large rock on top of a hill to have lunch.”

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Seedlings Still Available For Spring 2024 Planting

Winter hasn’t quite let loose its grip on the Wilson State Nursery fields in Boscobel, but the warm weather has turned any snow into puddles and with limited frost in the ground, it won’t be long. These conditions in Wisconsin’s fields and forests make it easy for landowners to hike their property and consider ways to enhance them. And as thoughts turn to spring, the staff in the Wisconsin DNR’s reforestation program are readying themselves to harvest tree and shrub seedlings from the cool, moist soil.

For those considering activities to improve their properties, the DNR reforestation program has plenty of seedlings still available to create and enhance wildlife habitat, stabilize the soil, block winter wind and snow and provide a future shady spot to sit and enjoy a morning. Continue reading “Seedlings Still Available For Spring 2024 Planting”

Upcoming Webinars For Inflation Reduction Act Grant

children playing in parkThe Urban Forestry Inflation Reduction Act grant program uses federal funds to support projects that positively impact trees and people within disadvantaged communities in Wisconsin. Cities, villages, towns, counties, tribes and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations conducting their projects in Wisconsin may apply for an Urban Forestry Inflation Reduction grant. Eligible projects must occur in or benefit those living in disadvantaged communities, as identified by the DNR on this map and list.

DNR staff will host at least three webinars that outline the Urban Forestry Inflation Reduction Act grant application process and allow time for questions and answers. See the webinar schedule below:

  • Register For Webinar 1                Friday, Feb. 9, 9 – 10:30 a.m.
  • Register For Webinar 2                Thursday, March 14, 1 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Webinar 3-Save The Date          Wednesday, May 15, 10 – 11:30 a.m.

For more information, visit the Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry webpage

Updated Tree Species Recommendations

By Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist

Pines are evergreen. So are hollies. And spruces and firs and hemlocks fit the bill. Requests for species recommendations are also evergreen – I’m sure many of you field these requests.

The DNR Urban Forestry program, in consultation with partners on the Wisconsin Urban ForestryBald Cypress Council, has updated its recommended species lists for street and park trees. You can find those four documents below and under “Tree Species Selection” on the DNR urban tree planting resources webpage.

These lists are not exhaustive, and any general list of recommendations has some uncertainty due to the nuanced conditions of specific planting sites. We highly suggest consulting with your local nurseries and other experts who can discuss what is available and provide other recommendations and planting advice. With just a few exceptions, these lists do not include cultivars and varieties, but your local experts can provide that amount of detail. Continue reading “Updated Tree Species Recommendations”

Tune In For The Urban Forest Connections Webinar Series

The USDA Forest Service National Urban Forest Technology and Science Delivery Team presents the Urban Forest Connections webinar series on the second Wednesday of each month. These online sessions create a stage for experts to share the latest science, practice and policy on urban and community forestry.

Topics include issues affecting the health of people and the health of the trees and forests that communities depend on to moderate local climate extremes and provide food, shelter, water, wildlife habitat, environmental justice, artistic expression and spiritual healing.

Tune in to the next webinar in the series on Feb. 14 from 12-1:15 p.m. titled “Mapping and Monitoring Tree Health Across Diverse Landscapes.” New technology is improving our ability to detect and address issues early enough to protect forests and people from increased tree mortality and losses in ecosystem services. Continue reading “Tune In For The Urban Forest Connections Webinar Series”

Invasive Species Find The Spotlight In February

By Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR Invasive Plant Program Specialist, Oshkosh Service Center; or 715-492-0391

Graphic showing home page for, titled Invasive Species Are Damaging Our Forests

One focus for policy development during NISAW 2024 is forest health and invasive plants. NAISMA has created an easy way to contact your elected officials to let them know you support the Invasive Species Prevention and Forest Restoration Act. / Image Credit:

While February in Wisconsin may bring to mind snow-covered ground and little new plant growth, it’s quite a big month for action in the invasive species world. The last week of February brings National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW), an international event that focuses on legislation, policies and funding for the prevention and management of invasive species.

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Squirrel Damage To Maple Trees Showing Up Earlier This Winter

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

Photo of a maple tree with some bark removed by squirrel feeding.

Squirrels have stripped off the bark of this maple tree to get at the sweet cambium layer under the bark. / Photo Credit: Linda Williams, Wisconsin DNR

Typically in the spring, squirrels can cause damage to maple trees by removing bark from branches and the main stem after the trees have been frozen all winter and the weather starts to warm up. This fall, before the January cold spell, temperatures had warmed up by mid-November and remained warm throughout December.

As a result, starting in late November fresh squirrel damage was being noted on some scattered maples in north central Wisconsin. Damage progressed throughout December and some trees have more than half of the bark removed from branches and the main stem. The sight of scattered bits of bark around the base of these trees is another sign of squirrel activity.

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Woodpecker Damage On Ash Trees May Indicate Emerald Ash Borer

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

Photo showing woodpecker damage on an ash tree trunk, an early sign the tree might be infested with emerald ash borer.

Woodpecker damage is an early sign an ash tree might be infested with emerald ash borer. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages property owners to watch for woodpecker damage to their ash trees this winter. If damage is found, property owners should make plans to take action in the spring.

Woodpecker damage, often called “flecking,” happens when birds peck away some of a tree’s bark to access the larvae underneath. Flecking is a common early sign that an ash tree might be infested with emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive insect. EAB is the most damaging threat to Wisconsin trees, killing more than 99% of the untreated ash trees it infests.

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Leafminer Creates Green Bay Packers Colors On Aspen Leaves

Photo of an aspen leaf that fell in the fall showing a “green island” due to leafminer feeding.

An aspen leaf that fell in the fall showing a “green island” due to leafminer feeding. / Photo Credit: Linda Williams, Wisconsin DNR

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

Most aspen leaves that fell this fall were a beautiful yellow gold color, but every so often some could be found that were yellow with a green strip on them. Were the aspen trees supporting the Green Bay Packers? No. The green stripe was an indication of the presence of a tiny leafmining caterpillar.

Leafminers are tiny caterpillars that live and feed within a leaf. These tiny caterpillars may produce blotch mines or serpentine mines that create lines on the leaf.

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Forest Health Forecast For 2024

Paul Cigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Hayward; or 715-416-4920

An aerial photo of oak and aspen forests showing heavy defoliation from spongy moth.

Oak and aspen forests with heavy defoliation from spongy moth. Additional defoliation coupled with ongoing drought in the upcoming 2024 growing season is expected to put significant stress on affected forests. / Photo Credit: Paul Cigan, Wisconsin DNR

Maintaining a healthy and productive forest often requires — more than ever before — a working knowledge of how to anticipate, prevent and mitigate environmental stressors that threaten to undermine it. The list of stressors includes drought, impact of forest insects and diseases.

In a recent and timely article, Denise Thornton of My Wisconsin Woods taps the expansive knowledge of the DNR’s Forest Health team and a state climatologist to bring focus to the threats facing forests this year.

She also lists steps that can be taken to ensure health and proactivity are maintained in your forests.