Did you know?

Learning at home

Our thoughts are with the families who are grappling with school closures, while balancing work and facilitating their children’s school days. There have been many online sources for continued education for all levels of schooling and we encourage you to check them out in addition to those provided by your local schools.

We’ve recently become aware of The Forest Where Ashley Lives, a wonderful children’s book (free online), explaining various urban forestry concepts in a fun, engaging way. To find the story, go to https://www.uwsp.edu/cnr-ap/leaf/Documents/ForestWhereAshleyLives.pdf

Severe spruce needle diseases expected in 2020

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

Wet weather in 2019 created ideal conditions for Rhizosphaera kalkhoffii and other needle cast fungi to infect spruce needles. Since it takes about a year for the needles to show symptoms, heavy and widespread needle diseases are expected to be seen on spruce trees in 2020. 

Lower branches of an infected spruce tree have lots of missing needles and some that are browning.

Loss of older needles on an infected spruce.

Continue reading “Severe spruce needle diseases expected in 2020”

Common tree myths – and why you shouldn’t believe

By Kim Sebastian, DNR urban forestry coordinator, Milwaukee, Kim.Sebastian@wisconsin.gov, 414-294-8675 

Click on “continue reading” or scroll down for the truth about these common myths:

Myth #1: A tree’s root system is a mirror image of what is above ground.

Myth #2: Tree roots are responsible for damaging and blocking sewer lines.

Myth #3: When removing a branch, cut as close (flush) to the trunk as possible.

Myth #4: The branches on a tree move up as the tree grows taller.

Myth #5: Topping is a necessary evil – otherwise the tree will get too big.

Myth #6: If a little fertilizer is good, a lot is better.

Myth #7: After a pruning cut, wound dressing (pruning paint) is necessary.

Myth #8: All newly planted trees must be staked.

Continue reading “Common tree myths – and why you shouldn’t believe”

From asthma to ADHD: statistics on the health benefits of trees

Looking for some hard numbers on how urban trees affect health conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and ADHD?

Click on the links below to read the original research studies:

•     An increase of 888 street trees per square mile is associated with a 29% lower rate of childhood asthma. Children Living in Areas with More Street Trees Have Lower Prevalence of Asthma, 2008.

•     Loss of trees to the emerald ash borer is associated with an additional 15,080 deaths from cardiovascular disease and 6113 deaths from lower respiratory disease during the study period (1990- 2007). The Relationship Between Trees and Human Health: Evidence from the Spread of the Emerald Ash Borer, 2013.

Continue reading “From asthma to ADHD: statistics on the health benefits of trees”

Snow fleas spring to surface in early December

By Todd Lanigan, forest health specialist, Eau Claire. todd.lanigan@wisconsin.gov; 715-210-0150

Snow fleas are a species of springtails that are active during winter and are generally found in groups where their dark-colored bodies stand out against the white snow. While often observed in late winter or early spring, they also come to the surface on warm winter days, making an early December appearance in west central Wisconsin something to note but not altogether unusual given the relatively warm weather in the area. 

Tiny flecks against an impression in snow are hundreds of snow fleas at surface.

Easily mistaken for specks of dirt or debris, snow fleas are tiny soil-dwelling animals that gather on the surface of snow on warm winter and spring days.

Continue reading “Snow fleas spring to surface in early December”

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”. 

Continue reading “What’s up with trees that haven’t lost their leaves yet?”

Invasive plants, ticks and you

Most people are familiar with the impacts of invasive plants to natural areas, but did you know that invasive plants can be hazardous to human health? Did you also know there is a new app available to learn about tick activity near you and help researchers by recording your own tick encounters?Forested setting with tree in foreground and sign attached to tree that says beware of ticks. Continue reading “Invasive plants, ticks and you”

Dead and dying ash are hunting hazard

By Bill McNee, forest health specialist, Bill.McNee@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0942 and Andrea Diss-Torrance, invasive forest insects program coordinator, Andrea.DissTorrance@wisconsin.gov, 608-264-9247

Hunters should avoid placing tree stands in or near ash trees, especially in the southern half of Wisconsin, the Mississippi River region and in Door County. Many ash trees in these areas are dead or dying from attack by emerald ash borer (EAB), becoming weaker and more likely to break even with little to no added weight. Continue reading “Dead and dying ash are hunting hazard”

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!”