Did you know?

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month, But Trees Provide Benefits All Year Long

Over the years, a growing body of research has proven that regular access to trees makes us happier and healthier. They restore our sense of calm from head to toe — improving memory and attention span, enhancing cognitive functioning, lowering blood pressure, and reducing cortisol levels.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, here are just a few ways trees can support your mental well-being. Continue reading “May Is Mental Health Awareness Month, But Trees Provide Benefits All Year Long”

Botanical Sexism: Fact Or Fiction?

pink tree flowers

Photo Credit: Delisa White

By Elton Rogers, Urban Forestry Coordinator

The DNR was recently contacted by a local news station to comment on a theory that tends to pop up alongside the tulips every spring: “botanical sexism,” a theory attributed to horticulturist Tom Ogren.

As a theory, botanical sexism is rather simple. It states that over time, humans have preferentially propagated and planted male trees, thus leading to increases in pollen production and subsequent allergens in our cities. The hypothesis is simple, and the term is catchy, so it is no surprise that it has made its way into the world of social media, having gone viral on several platforms over the last few years. The question remains, however, whether this concept is indeed factual. Continue reading “Botanical Sexism: Fact Or Fiction?”

Wisconsin Expands Trillion Trees Pledge

By Carmen Hardin, DNR Applied Forestry Bureau Director;

Photo of seed cleaning equipment at Hayward State Nursery

Existing seed cleaning equipment at Hayward State Nursery is scheduled for an update.

Landowners across the state have stepped up in a big way when it comes to planting trees.

At the end of 2023, more than 32 million trees had been planted and tallied as part of Wisconsin’s Trillion Trees Pledge. The program started in 2021 when Governor Tony Evers committed the state to planting 75 million trees and conserving 125,000 acres of forestland by 2030. Continue reading “Wisconsin Expands Trillion Trees Pledge”

Avoid Hitchhikers This Summer

By Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR invasive plant program specialist, Oshkosh
Erika.SegersonMueller@wisconsin.gov or 715-492-0391

Invasive jumping worms have a light-colored clitellum, while most worm species have a raised, pink clitellum. / Photo Credit: Brad Herrick, UW-Madison Arboretum

To reiterate some advice you may have heard long ago from your parents: Don’t give rides to hitchhikers. They may have been thinking about people, but hitchhiking invasive plants, insects and pathogens are also worthy of concern.

As you dream of days spent at the cabin up north, planting your garden or wandering in the woods, here are a few reminders to help you avoid bringing hitchhiking invasives along as you enjoy your spring and summer activities. Continue reading “Avoid Hitchhikers This Summer”

Emerald Ash Borer Detected In Washburn, Taylor Counties

By Paul Cigan, DNR forest health specialist, Hayward;
Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov or 715-634-9232

Photo of an emerald ash borer on a tree

The emerald ash borer was detected in the Wisconsin counties of Taylor and Washburn in April, making them No. 70 and No. 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties that have confirmed presence of the invasive insect.

The emerald ash borer (EAB) has been detected for the first time in Washburn and Taylor counties, making them the No. 70 and No. 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties to have a confirmed detection of the invasive insect.

Here are the details of the most recent discoveries: Continue reading “Emerald Ash Borer Detected In Washburn, Taylor Counties”

UW-Madison Launches Website About Cicadas

By Krista Hamilton, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection;

Photo of cicadas on a plant.

Hungry cicadas are expected to emerge from their 17-year dormancy this month to feed and mate. In past emergences, Brood XIII cicadas have been documented in 11 southern Wisconsin counties. / Photo Credit: Jim Occi, BugPics, Bugwood.org

In anticipation of the emergence of the Brood XIII periodical cicada this spring, the University of Wisconsin-Madison introduced a new Wisconsin Periodical Cicada website.

Information on the site covers the biology, ecology and distribution of these insects using photos, historical videos and other useful resources.

UW-Madison entomologist PJ Liesch sifted through 150 years of books, newspaper articles, university studies, government records and specimens in the Wisconsin Insect Research Collection to develop an updated map of Wisconsin periodical cicada reports.

Continue reading “UW-Madison Launches Website About Cicadas”

The Scourge Of Spurge, Both Cypress And Leafy

By Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR invasive plant program specialist, Oshkosh;
Erika.SegersonMueller@wisconsin.gov or 715-492-0391

Photo showing the white milky sap of spurge plants, sometimes called “wolf’s milk.”

The white milky sap of spurge plants, sometimes called “wolf’s milk,” can be toxic to cattle and irritating to human skin. / Photo Credit: Norman E. Rees, USDA Agricultural Research Service Retired, Bugwood.org

Managing invasive plant species can really be a pain. When the plants you are targeting can potentially harm human health, that pain can become quite literal.

Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) and Cypress spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias) are restricted invasive plants under Wisconsin’s Invasive Species Rule NR40. Aside from their tendency to spread aggressively and displace native species, both plants contain a white milky sap that can cause skin irritation in some humans and is potentially toxic to cattle and horses. Continue reading “The Scourge Of Spurge, Both Cypress And Leafy”

Phomopsis Galls Found On Northern Red Oak

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

Photo showing large Phomopsis galls on a tree before it has leafed out in the spring.

It is often easier to spot large Phomopsis galls before leaves come out in the spring.

Phomopsis galls are large woody swellings on the branches or main stem caused by a fungus. Across Wisconsin, Phomopsis galls can grow on hickory, especially bitternut hickory. However, in some areas of Wisconsin, they can occur on northern red oak.

Northern red oaks sometimes have hundreds of Phomopsis galls on the branches, ranging from as small as a tennis ball to as large as a basketball. Continue reading “Phomopsis Galls Found On Northern Red Oak”

Celebrate Arbor Day Using Social Media (See Our Suggested Posts Below)

For the last few years, our urban forestry team has been writing social media posts for Wisconsin communities to post during Arbor Week. We encourage you to use social media to celebrate the many benefits of trees and inform the public about the importance of tree care.

Feel free to use the suggested messages provided below or develop your own create tree campaign.

Continue reading “Celebrate Arbor Day Using Social Media (See Our Suggested Posts Below)”

A Taste Of Tree City USA In Wisconsin

Started in 1976, Tree City USA is one of the Arbor Day Foundation’s oldest programs. The founders had a vision for a greener, healthier America and hoped this initiative would inspire change on a nationwide level. The first Tree City USA cohort was comprised of 42 communities in 16 states. Today, the program includes more than 3,600 communities from all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Publicly demonstrating commitment to the environment is a great way to build pride among residents, as well as position your community as an attractive place to live. The Tree City USA program provides communities with a four-step framework to maintain and grow their tree cover. It also gives them an avenue to celebrate their work, showing residents, visitors and the entire country that they’re committed to the mission of environmental change.

Here are just a few examples of the 193 Tree Cities in Wisconsin.

Continue reading “A Taste Of Tree City USA In Wisconsin”