Did you know?

Arbor Day Foundation now accepting Tree City USA applications!

Wisconsin may be best known for our cheese, lakes and beer, but did you know that we are second in the country for number of Tree City USA communities?! Last year 195 Wisconsin communities achieved Tree City USA status, and those communities are home to nearly 60% of Wisconsinites. Wouldn’t it be something if we were number one in the country this year?! Well, here’s our chance – the application period for Arbor Day Foundation’s (ADF) recognition programs, including Tree City USA and Tree Campus USA, is now open!  Continue reading “Arbor Day Foundation now accepting Tree City USA applications!”

Native vine thrives with wet Wisconsin summer

Have you noticed a fast-growing vine with fragrant flowers on your trees and shrubs this summer? The plant began to flower a few weeks ago, drawing attention and concern from residents around the state.

Wild cucumber blooms with yellowish-white fragrant flowers. Credit: Susan Mahr.

Wild cucumber blooms in mid- to late summer with yellowish-white fragrant flowers. Credit: Susan Mahr.

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Barklice are nothing to worry about

By Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov,  920-360-0665

Barklice tend to congregate in large groups on trees, which can lead some people to worry about tree health, but they are actually quite harmless.

Immature barklice congregated on bark. Striped abdomens are easy to see before the insects mature into adults and develop wings.

Immature barklice congregated on bark. Striped abdomens are easy to see before the insects mature into adults and develop wings.

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Heavy seed crop leads to sparse-looking trees

Todd Lanigan, forest health specialist, Eau Claire, Todd.Lanigan@wisconsin.gov, 715-839-1632

You may have noticed some of the elms and maples had a lot of brown in them at the end of May and early June. Some elms and maples produced a lot of seed this spring, which reduced the amount of energy available for producing leaves. With fewer leaves and more of the brown, papery seeds, the trees can take on a thin, brown appearance.

Heavy seed years can occur for many reasons. It happens naturally from time to time and it can also be stimulated by environmental stressors. A couple of examples of environmental stressors are: excessive moisture, winter injury and frost damage to roots.

The cause of this year’s heavy seed production is anyone’s guess. There does not appear to be a common pattern between the affected trees to indicate whether it was simply a normal heavy seed year or related to an environmental factor.


Protect yourself from ticks and tickborne illnesses

Bill McNee, forest health specialist, Oshkosh, Bill.McNee@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0942

Adult deer tick. Credit: Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service, bugwood.org.

So far this spring we are off to a busy tick season, with many reports and photos being sent in to DNR staff. Ticks can be found year-round in Wisconsin but are most active from May to September. Some species, including the deer tick responsible for Lyme disease, carry infectious diseases that elevate them from mere nuisance to serious health threat.  Lyme disease is most often spread by very small, immature ticks known as “nymphs.” Adult deer ticks can also transmit Lyme disease, but because they are larger, they are more likely to be discovered and removed compared to the tiny nymphs which can be as small as a chia or sesame seed.

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Trees clean the air and prevent respiratory illness

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. Did you know trees help prevent asthma and other respiratory diseases? Trees filter particles out of the air we breathe, which decreases our risk of respiratory illnesses, including asthma. One study found that in 2010, trees removed 17.4 million tons of air pollution across the US, which prevented 850 human deaths and 670,000 cases of acute respiratory symptoms. Continue reading “Trees clean the air and prevent respiratory illness”

Urban tree identification tool available

By Dan Buckler, Urban Forestry Assessment Specialist

Many guides help you distinguish between a black and a northern red oak, or between a beech and a musclewood. But for many people just trying to identify a tree outside their door, these guides might not be appropriate. Some include too many trees from out-of-state, some focus on trees only found in rural areas, and some others are weighed down by detail.  Continue reading “Urban tree identification tool available”