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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.

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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”. 

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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!”

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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