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Spring Cleaning: Storm Damage Cleanup Brings Oak Wilt Risk

By Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0665 & Paul Cigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Hayward, Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov, 715-416-4920.

Spring cleanup is always a busy time in the Northwoods as those with second homes and cabins make the trek northward to prepare for a summer of fun. For many, this will mean cleaning up trees and branches damaged by winter storms.

A forested scene with broken branches at the base of a white pine tree.

Large white pines (pictured here) and young birch growing on forest edges were most heavily impacted by winter’s storms. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

Continue reading “Spring Cleaning: Storm Damage Cleanup Brings Oak Wilt Risk”

April Showers Bring May Garlic Mustard

By Brenna DeNamur, DNR Forest Health Outreach Specialist, Madison, Brenna.DeNamur@wisconsin.gov; Jaqi Christopher, DNR Forest Invasive Plant Specialist, Rhinelander, Jacquelyn.Christopher@wisconsin.gov; & Mary Bartkowiak, DNR Forest Invasive Plant Coordinator, Rhinelander, Mary.Bartkowiak@wisconsin.gov

Spring is here! Invasive plants, like garlic mustard, are often among the first green life to emerge in the new season.

A dense population of garlic mustard carpets a forest floor.

Garlic mustard is an invasive plant that appears early in spring. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

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Help Protect Oak Trees From Oak Wilt

Contact: Paul Cigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist

Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov or 715-416-4920

As April brings a high risk of the often-fatal oak wilt disease, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recommends not pruning or cutting oaks from April through July.

A large oak tree in a wooded area has fresh wounds from branches being sawed off.

Do not prune, cut or wound oaks April through July.
Photo: Linda Williams

Continue reading “Help Protect Oak Trees From Oak Wilt”

Squirrel Damage Mayhem

By Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff

Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665

Finger pointing at tooth marks on the wood of a maple that squirrels stripped of bark.

Narrow grooves are left when squirrels chew the bark off a young tree or a branch.
Photo: Wisconsin DNR

In late winter, it’s common to see tree branches that have been freshly stripped of their bark. Damage can be extensive where entire branches, and sometimes entire small trees, can be stripped of bark. This damage, believe it or not, is from squirrels! While primarily found on sugar maples, you can also find squirrel damage on red maples and the occasional oak. So far this year, the damage has been noted in Langlade, Shawano, Oneida and Vilas Counties. 

On sunny days, the pale wood of branches where the bark has been stripped off stands out in the forest. This type of feeding can remove enough bark to girdle the branches or the main stem, causing the tree to die from that point to the end of the branch. Branches that are not entirely girdled will continue to grow, and callus tissue will begin to grow over the wounds. If branches are nearly girdled, they may leaf out in the spring only to have the leaves suddenly wilt and die as hot weather hits because the tree can’t move enough water to keep the leaves alive. Continue reading “Squirrel Damage Mayhem”

Garden Planning – Avoid Invasive Plants

By Jaqi Christopher, DNR Forest Invasive Plant Specialist, Rhinelander, Jacquelyn.Christopher@wisconsin.gov and Mary Bartkowiak, DNR Forest Invasive Plant Coordinator, Rhinelander, Mary.Bartkowiak@wisconsin.gov

With winter in full swing, many gardeners dream of spring and begin planning what plants to add to their gardens. Now is a great time to brush up on what not to plant to avoid invasive species that might be hiding in plain sight.

Woodlot in fall, most trees have lost their leaves which are covering the ground. Several burning bush shrubs still with their bright red leaves stick out against the brown backdrop.

Burning bush as a forest invasive.
Photo: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org

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Prune Oak Trees In Winter To Help Prevent Oak Wilt

By Kyoko Scanlon, DNR Forest Pathologist, Fitchburg, Kyoko.Scanlon@wisconsin.gov; and Paul Cigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Hayward, Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov

Person uses branch cutters to prune oak tree with brown leaves during the winter.

Prune oak trees during winter when oak wilt disease-carrying insects are inactive. Photo credit: Wisconsin DNR

Start the year off by pruning your trees to protect them from harmful pests that emerge after the thaw. Continue reading “Prune Oak Trees In Winter To Help Prevent Oak Wilt”

Will A Fire Truck Fit Down Your Driveway?

In the event of a wildfire in your area, firefighters may need to reach your home. If firefighters cannot safely access your home, they will find an alternative way to get to you that may take longer – and when fighting fire, every second counts.

Help Firefighters Reach You

You are the first line of defense when it comes to helping your home survive a wildfire. To enable firefighters and other emergency vehicles to locate and reach your residence quickly it’s important to establish a safe route with adequate driveway access.

Continue reading “Will A Fire Truck Fit Down Your Driveway?”

Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin

Wisconsin forests are incredibly diverse in species composition and structure, mainly due to glaciation that occurred until 11,500 years ago across much of the state. Glaciation in Wisconsin reached its maximum extent nearly 21,000 years ago.

To help guide management decisions and considerations, Wisconsin is divided into 16 ecological landscapes defined by the vegetation, climate, geology and hydrology in each ecological unit. Information about each ecological landscape is available on the DNR website in the landscapes topic.

Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin. Credit: Wisconsin DNR

The Forestry Bubble

The middle-aged bubble does not only pertain to the baby boomer generation. Wisconsin forests are experiencing this age phenomenon as well.  Wisconsin forest data shows a significant bubble of acreage in the middle age class (60-80 years old) with lesser amounts in the very young and very old age classes. This middle age bubble can be attributed in part to the cutover period when many of these forests originated.

Total acreage of timberland between 1983 and 2017 distributed by stand age class. Error bars represent the 68% confidence interval. Source: Forest Inventory and Analysis, 2017.