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On The Lookout For Oak Wilt Fruiting Bodies

By Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff
Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0665

Have you ever seen an oak wilt fruiting body? Oak wilt is a fungal disease that kills trees in the red oak group (northern red oak, northern pin oak, black oak and other oaks with points on their leaves). Trees in the white oak group (white oak, burr oak, swamp white oak and other oaks with rounded leaves) are more resistant to the disease, but branches or branch tips can still be killed.

A small crack in tree bark that indicates an oak wilt pressure pad is underneath.

Oak wilt pressure pads can create a crack in the bark, allowing beetles to get into the spores. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

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I Spy… Browning White Pine Stands Along Roads

By Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff
Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665.

As you begin your summer travel, you may notice that many white pine trees along northern Wisconsin roadways have a lot of brown needles on them. Although it may seem concerning, most of these trees are sending out new needles as we speak.

Three young conifers with varying levels of browning needles

Different conifer species can be impacted differently by salt spray. The white pine in the middle also shows lower branches that are green because they were protected by snow. Photo: Wisconsin DNR.

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Slow Oaks And Maples With Too Many Seeds And Not Enough Leaves

By Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff
Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665.

Maples

Have you noticed any maple trees that appear brown or reddish and have fewer leaves than usual? The seeds, not the leaves, make the tan/red color. Those seeds are so plentiful this year that they can easily be spotted from a distance.

Reddish tan maple trees with thin canopies.

Maples with heavy seed crops may appear tan or reddish due to the color of the seeds and having very few green leaves in the canopy. Photo: Wisconsin DNR.

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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

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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

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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.

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