Best Management Practices

USDA Seeks Donated Ash Trees To Battle Emerald Ash Borer

By Caleb Burden, Acting Field Lead Technician, USDA APHIS PPQ; or 734-732-0025

Photo of a green ash tree with a small piece of bark cut back shows emerald ash borer larvae feeding on the tree.

A green ash tree with a small piece of bark cut back shows emerald ash borer larvae feeding on the tree. / Photo Credit: USDA APHIS PPS

In the fight against emerald ash borer (EAB), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) again asks Wisconsin landowners to donate live, EAB-infested ash trees for use in a biological control program.

The emerald ash borer is an invasive insect from Asia first detected in the United States in 2002. Following its discovery, EAB has caused the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees.

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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”

Green Light On For Oak Tree Work

Photo of fallen leaves from a red oak that show discoloration, an indication that the tree is infected with oak wilt.

Discolored fallen leaves from a red oak tree indicate that the tree is infected with oak wilt. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

By Art Kabelowsky, DNR Forest Health Outreach and Communications, Fitchburg Service Center; or 608-335-0167

With the weather taking its time to turn wintry, it’s a good time to remind landowners and work crews that now through the end of March is an ideal time to perform pruning, trimming and brush removal on and near oak trees.

This is a low-risk period for the trees to be infected with oak wilt, a fungal disease spread by beetles. When a red oak is infected with oak wilt, it will die that year. The disease also stresses white oaks, often proving fatal.

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Mielke’s Home Is Where His Heart Is

Photo of Dick Mielke at the sign on the edge of his property christening it 'Legacy Hills.'

Dick Mielke was born and raised on farmland east of the city of Baraboo, and still lives on the land. He has converted much of it into carefully tended Managed Forest Law property he and his wife call “Legacy Hills.” / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

By Art Kabelowsky, DNR Forest Health Outreach/Communications, Fitchburg;; 608-335-0167

BARABOO TOWNSHIP — This land has been Dick Mielke’s legacy since the day he was born.

On a warm October morning, Mielke gave a visitor a tour of his property located four miles west of the city of Baraboo in Sauk County. Along the way, he pointed out landmarks that have played pivotal roles in the story of his life.

“If you look over there, you can barely see the house I grew up in, behind those trees. There’s a window. Oops, now it’s gone,” Mielke said while driving an ATV along a logging path on the edge of a tree stand. He and his wife, Melanie, now live in a comfortable ranch-style home they built on the property in 1990.

“My grandfather settled here from Germany right around 1900 … My family has been on the property ever since,” Mielke said.

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2023 MFL Audit A Success

Map showing Managed Forest Law management zones

This map shows the Managed Forest Law management zones. / Map Credit: Wisconsin DNR

Back in August, a team of third-party forest certification auditors made their annual trip to Wisconsin to evaluate the performance and administration of the MFL Certified Group to American Tree Farm System® and Forest Stewardship Council® standards.

Over the week of Aug. 12, auditors visited 85 sites in the counties served by the Northeast Tax Law Team. This audit was even more successful than last year, with only a single audit finding and no corrective actions needed. That marks the first annual audit in the history of the MFL Certified Group (dating back to 2005) which resulted in zero corrective action requests!

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White Pine Weevil Damage And Management Options

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

Photo of a white pine tree showing weevil damage.

A dead terminal leader, resulting from an attack by white pine weevil. Photo: Linda Williams, Wisconsin DNR.

White pine weevil (Pissodes strobi) is a native insect that can kill the terminal leader of white pine, jack pine and spruce. Wisconsinites often refer to this insect as Tip Weevil.

The insects prefer to attack stout terminal leaders. When the terminal leader dies, lateral branches grow upward and compete to take over apical dominance. This can leave a noticeable crook for decades. If two or more lateral branches take over, forking can occur. New terminal leaders may be attacked in subsequent years, causing more crook or forking.

Spruce and jack pine tend to recover better from weevil damage than white pine because the lateral branch that takes over apical dominance often creates a less prominent crook.

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Is it Invasive Giant Hogweed?

Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR Forest Health invasive plants program specialist, Oshkosh or 715-492-0391

Photo of umbel of a giant hogweed plant.

Umbel of a giant hogweed plant. This invasive plant can grow stems 2-4 inches in diameter and can grow as tall as 15 feet. Photo: USDA APHIS PPQ, Oxford, North Carolina;

This time of year, calls start rolling in about potential sightings of the invasive plant giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum). Although occurrences of the plant remain rare in Wisconsin, from late May through early July giant hogweed is often confused with a native plant, cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum).

Both are large plants with similar habitat preferences. They prefer shady areas and are often found along stream banks, roadsides and ditches. Giant hogweed is a prohibited species under Wisconsin’s Invasive Species Rule NR40. Its fast growth rate crowds out native vegetation and erodes soil, and skin contact can potentially cause irritation.

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Eastern Tent Caterpillar Webs Common

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

Photo of web of eastern tent caterpillars.

Eastern tent caterpillars and their webs start out small but grow quickly. Photo: Linda Williams, Wisconsin DNR.

Have you seen trees along roadsides with white webs in them? Eastern tent caterpillars (ETC) are hatching and beginning to feed on host trees, including cherry, apple and crabapple.

Landowners and homeowners may notice the white silken tents forming in branch forks. Although they form unsightly nests, ETC is a native insect, so management is not typically necessary. Even completely defoliated trees will produce new leaves within a few weeks.

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ATCP 21 Rule Changes Coming

Art Kabelowsky, DNR Forest Health outreach and communications specialist or 608-335-0167

Photo of an adult emerald ash borer.

The statewide quarantine for emerald ash borer will end July 1, as one of several permanent rule changes proposed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Changes are coming to some of Wisconsin’s rules for plant inspection and plant control, following legislative approval of a proposal from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

The rule changes for ATCP 21 (Clearinghouse Rule CR 22-022), in the works since 2020, will go into effect on July 1.

One of the permanent rule changes involves the end of the state quarantine for emerald ash borer. Other quarantines to be rescinded are those for pine shoot beetle and thousand cankers disease of walnut trees.

The changes were recommended by DATCP for one or more of the following reasons: a lack of serious pest impacts, the quarantine outliving its ability to contain the pest, and/or federal deregulation.

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DNR Silviculturists Create Podcast

Photo of goats grazing in a woodlot.

Grazing goats can reach as high as six feet to munch on leaves, which they prefer to grasses and stems. Photo: Wisconsin DNR.

Art Kabelowsky, DNR Forest Health outreach and communications specialist or 608-335-0167

“Who do you know wants to rent a goat?”

Milwaukee television viewers of a certain age might recognize that twist on the old commercial slogan of automobile dealer Ernie Von Schledorn: “Who do you know wants to buy a car?”

Although Ernie is no longer around, the idea of having foresters use goat grazing to control interfering vegetation remains in use.

It’s a discussion worth talking about — and listening to.

Goat grazing was the topic of a recent edition of SilviCast, a monthly podcast about silviculture produced as part of a collaborative effort between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Wisconsin Forestry Center, based at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

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