Care for your woods

Upcoming webinars: EAB University, Urban Wood Network and more

As winter melts into spring, two new webinar series are getting underway.

The schedule for the spring semester of EAB University can be found here. Topics include beech leaf disease, the future of North American ash, hemlock wooly adelgid management, and more. CEU credits will be offered, and all webinars are recorded and posted online after the talks.

The Urban Wood Network kicks off its 2020 webinar series this month. This “Future Visioning” series is held on the second Wednesday of each month at noon and includes topics such as urban lumber standards, urban lumber business, and what to do with the rest of the tree.

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Fighting invasives together through responsible firewood practices

By Marguerite Rapp, forest health communications specialist, marguerite.rapp@wisconsin.gov, Andrea Diss Torrance, invasive insects program coordinator, andrea.disstorrance@wisconsin.gov, and Tim Allen, DATCP forest pest program coordinator and nursery inspector, timothy.allen@wisconsin.gov, 715-891-8158

This time of year, many Wisconsinites warm up with firewood, whether that’s in a wood stove for the home or a bonfire with family and friends. While firewood is one of the most sustainable heat sources available, the forests that produce it are threatened when firewood infested by invasive species is moved long distances. Fortunately, we can reduce this threat together through responsible use, movement and sale of firewood and wood products.

Man loads firewood into arms from back of truck. Continue reading “Fighting invasives together through responsible firewood practices”

Check your trees for EAB and plan for spring

By Bill McNee, forest health specialist, Oshkosh, bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0942

The cold winter months are a great time to think about emerald ash borer and whether ash trees in your yard are suitable for treatment. The pest is currently the most damaging threat to trees in Wisconsin, killing more than 99 percent of the ash trees it infests.

Two side-by-side images depicting different stages of flecking on ash trees - on left side is light flecking in the upper canopy of a tree, on the right side is more severe flecking that extends down the trunk of the tree

Woodpecker flecking is an early sign of EAB infestation when it appears in the tops of trees (left). As the infestation progresses, flecking continues down the trunk and into lower parts of the crown (right).

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Upcoming forest health events

Learn more about forestry and forest health issues with these upcoming events in February and March! We link to conference brochures and webpages where you can find detailed information, including registration prices and deadlines where applicable. Continue reading “Upcoming forest health events”

From ashes to oaks

Dealing with the loss of ash trees to the emerald ash borer (EAB) can be disheartening, and the idea of replanting can seem overwhelming. But Tom Zagar, Muskego City Forester, saw a chance to try something new.

Tom manages a younger-growth woodland that had lost significant canopy due to EAB. After mowing down the invasive shrubs that blanketed parts of the woodland, “I recognized these areas as a prime opportunity to try to reestablish oak trees,” said Tom. “I especially wanted to plant white oak of local genotype.”

Early last spring, Tom and his team sprang into action. They collected loads of white oak acorns, most of which had pushed a root into the ground, with a gentle tug and a small shovel. They planted them in the cleared areas and protected them with tree tubes. Later on, when it was necessary to spray the invasive buckthorn shrubs that had re-sprouted, the tree tubes shielded the seedling oaks from herbicide.

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Tree Owner’s Manual available in English and Spanish

Published by the USDA Forest Service, the Tree Owner’s Manual is a concise yet comprehensive guide to tree care basics. Playfully modeling itself on owner’s manuals that accompany automobiles and appliances, the Manual covers the following topics:

  • Model Information and Parts Diagram (broad-leaf trees, palms and conifers)
  • Packaging (balled and burlapped, containerized, and bare root)
  • Installation (planting)
  • Maintenance Instructions (watering, mulching, pruning, and more)
  • Protecting Trees from Construction Damage
  • Service and Repair (how to hire an arborist)
  • Troubleshooting (common pests, diseases, and structural issues)
  • Removal and Disposal
  • Buying a New Tree
  • and more!

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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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New map illustrates damage from EAB

Forest health staff recently produced a map that highlights a gradient of damage from southeastern to northwestern Wisconsin, which roughly corresponds to the length of time EAB has been present in these parts of the state. Whatever the level of damage, homeowners and landowners should consider treating healthy ash, including trees that have responded well to previous treatments, or removing declining, untreated ash before they become hazardous and even more costly to remove.

County-level map of damage from EAB to ash tree populations in 2019

County-level assessment of damage to ash population by emerald ash borer, 2019.

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Slow the spread by sole and tread – revisited!

By Mary Bartkowiak, invasive plants specialist, Rhinelander, Mary.Bartkowiak@wisconsin.gov, 715-493-0920

There’s so much to enjoy about fall and so many activities to take in before the blanket of snow changes our landscape. Something to keep in mind is that the introduction of invasive plants can play a role in changing the landscape, too.

Slow the spread by sole and tread - logo and image of boots that could carry invasive seed Continue reading “Slow the spread by sole and tread – revisited!”

Fall is a great time to look for HRD

By Mike Hillstrom, forest health specialist, Fitchburg, Michael.Hillstrom@wisconsin.gov, 608-513-7690

Considered one of the most destructive diseases of conifers in the northern hemisphere, HRD is very difficult to eradicate once established. Infestation of a conifer stand may significantly impact stand management, making early detection of the disease extremely important.

new white growth on old HRD conk

HRD fruit body with new white growth on infested stump. Credit: DNR Forest Health.

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