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Pink-Striped Oakworm Population Remains Low

Photo of a pink-striked oakworm caterpillar on a hand.

This large caterpillar, a pink-striped oakworm, has great camouflage and blends in with oak twigs very well. / Photo Credit: Linda Williams, Wisconsin DNR

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

Pink-striped oakworm is a native fall defoliator. Fall defoliators affect the health of trees less than defoliators that occur in the spring.

Although literature states that high populations of this caterpillar can create significant defoliation, no defoliation was noted in the area this caterpillar was observed in Oneida County.

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Not-So-Notorious Native Buckthorn

Photo of alder-leaved buckthorn, a native species in Wisconsin.

The native alder-leaved buckthorn is much smaller than its invasive counterparts and prefers wet areas such as fens. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

By Mary Bartkowiak, DNR Invasive Plant Program Coordinator, Rhinelander Service Center;
Mary.Bartkowiak@wisconsin.gov or 715-493-0920
and Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR Invasive Plant Program Specialist, Oshkosh Service Center;
Erika.Segersonmueller@wisconsin.gov or 715-492-0391

Most of the rather frequent buzz about buckthorn revolves around the two non-native, invasive types: common and glossy. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds the public that while these aggressive plants and serial invaders are common in Wisconsin forests, there is also a benign and native buckthorn that gets much less attention.

Many people are surprised to learn about this small shrub that has eluded notoriety, unlike its close relatives. Native buckthorn, also known as alder-leaved buckthorn (Rhamnus alnifolia), is a demure shrub that doesn’t grow much taller than 3 feet and prefers wet areas with calcium in the soil.

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Beware Of Bittersweet In Fall Decor

Photo of round leaf bittersweet berries

The berries of round leaf bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) grow in clusters at each leaf axil. The highly invasive nature of this plant makes it unsuitable for use in fall decorations. / Photo Credit: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org

By Erika Segerson-Mueller, Invasive Plant Program Specialist, Oshkosh Service Center;
Erika.Segersonmueller@wisconsin.gov or 715-492-0391

When temperatures begin to cool and back-to-school sales emerge, our thoughts turn to pumpkin spice, sweater weather and all things fall décor.

But as you gear up for spooky season this year, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds you to beware of using invasive plants in your decorations.

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Aphids Make Sticky Situation For Oak, Beech Trees

 

Photo of Myzocallis oak aphids on a leaf, with an adult at the left.

Myzocallis aphids feed on the top side of oak leaves. An adult is pictured on the left. / Photo Credit: Linda Williams, Wisconsin DNR

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

and Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh; bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0942

Aphids — and the honeydew they produce — have made their mark on trees in Wisconsin during 2023.

Midway through the summer, oak trees in areas of Vilas and Oneida counties were buzzing with activity. During September, beech trees in eastern Wisconsin became busy with a different species of aphid.

A look at the two situations:

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Don’t Spread Invasive Plants This Hunting Season

Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR Invasive Plant Program Specialist, Oshkosh Service Center Erika.SegersonMueller@wisconsin.gov or 715-492-0391

Photo of a hunter walking through a field.

Whether you are headed out to a tree stand in your favorite local forest or a duck blind on the shore of your nearby pond, you can take a few easy precautions to help minimize the spread of invasive plants in your favorite hunting spots. / Photo Credit: NAISMA.org

Heading out to your tree stand or hunting blind this fall? Avoid adding invasive species to your hunting party by taking a few simple steps to help protect your woods.

Non-native invasive plants often outcompete native plants in forest environments, degrading diversity and destroying wildlife habitat. Invasive plants can replace local forest species and may interfere with or decrease tree regeneration. They may take over woodlands, prairies and wetlands, and many provide ideal habitats for pests that harm wildlife and people alike.

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Balsam Fir Mortality Similar To 2018 And 2020

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

Photo of balsam fir tree prematurely turning brown and red.

Scattered balsam fir trees in the Northwoods have suddenly turned brown and red this spring. / Photo Credit: Linda Williams, Wisconsin DNR

Scattered balsam fir trees in some areas of northern Wisconsin have suddenly turned rusty red to brown and are dying. These trees are not being impacted by spruce budworm and typically die with a full complement of needles.

The symptoms resemble what was observed in 2018 and 2020. So far, the number of trees being reported is smaller than what was seen in 2018 or 2020. Reports are still coming in, but they seem to be concentrated in northern areas of the state where we had extensive snowfall in late winter.

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Yard Waste: Not For The Woods

Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR Invasive Plant Program Specialist, Oshkosh Service Center Erika.SegersonMueller@wisconsin.gov or 715-492-0391

Photo of garden waste dumped along an ATV trail in a Wisconsin state forest.

This garden waste was dumped along an ATV trail in a state forest and can be a pathway for invasive plants and diseases that affect our public lands. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

When a pile of more than 500 pounds of uncooked pasta was found in the woods in New Jersey in early May, no one was quite sure why or how the piles had appeared — but it was clear that they didn’t belong there.

Whether spaghetti noodles, broken electronics or old furniture, some things shouldn’t be in our woods, waters or roadsides, no matter the reason.

Though it may seem obvious that you should avoid dumping these types of waste in your local woods, some items aren’t as straightforward.

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Balsam Fir Mortality Similar To 2018 And 2020

Picture of dying balsam fir in Northwoods of Wisconsin.

Scattered balsam fir trees in the Northwoods have suddenly turned brown and red this spring. Photo Credit: Linda Williams, Wisconsin DNR

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

Scattered balsam fir trees in some areas of northern Wisconsin have suddenly turned a rusty red or brown color and are dying. These trees are not being impacted by spruce budworm and typically die with a full complement of needles.

These symptoms are similar to those observed in 2018 and 2020. So far, the number of impacted trees reported is smaller than what was seen in 2018 or 2020. While reports of affected trees are still coming in, they seem to be concentrated in northern areas of the state that experienced extensive snowfall in late winter.

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Hemlock Being Defoliated By Spruce Budworm

Photo of spruce budworm eating hemlock needles.

Spruce budworm defoliation this spring on hemlock makes the trees look thin. Photo Credit: Linda Williams, Wisconsin DNR

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

Spruce budworm is finished feeding for the year, but the damage from the insects is still being observed.

Spruce budworm prefers to feed on balsam fir and spruce, but a previous newsletter article noted that tamarack had been observed as 100% defoliated by spruce budworm. More recently, stands of hemlock with moderate to severe defoliation were also identified.

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