Discolored fallen leaves from a red oak tree indicate that the tree is infected with oak wilt. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR
By Art Kabelowsky, DNR Forest Health Outreach and Communications, Fitchburg Service Center;
Arthur.Kabelowsky@wisconsin.gov or 608-335-0167
With the weather taking its time to turn wintry, it’s a good time to remind landowners and work crews that now through the end of March is an ideal time to perform pruning, trimming and brush removal on and near oak trees.
This is a low-risk period for the trees to be infected with oak wilt, a fungal disease spread by beetles. When a red oak is infected with oak wilt, it will die that year. The disease also stresses white oaks, often proving fatal.
Continue reading “Green Light On For Oak Tree Work”
With the addition of Ashland County, oak wilt has now been detected in 66 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. / Map Credit: Wisconsin DNR.
By Paul Cigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Hayward
Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov or 715-416-4920
Oak wilt, a deadly disease of oaks, has been found for the first time in Ashland County.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed the find in wood samples from a red oak tree in the town of Gordon.
“There is always risk of oak wilt spread into new and relatively uninfested areas in northern Wisconsin, such as Ashland County, so it’s always best to practice oak wilt prevention wherever possible to significantly reduce that risk,” said Paul Cigan, a DNR forest health specialist based in Hayward.
Continue reading “Oak Wilt Confirmed In Ashland County”
A pair of spongy moth egg masses attached to a piece of firewood. Moving this firewood to another site could put trees at that site at risk in the spring. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR
By Art Kabelowsky, DNR Forest Health Outreach/Communications
Arthur.Kabelowsky@wisconsin.gov or 608-335-0167
Are you generally hesitant to give hitchhikers a free ride?
October was National Firewood Awareness Month, and even though November has arrived, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) continues to urge residents and visitors to follow the same line of thinking when it comes to moving firewood.
That’s because tree-killing hitchhikers often lurk on or in firewood — including spongy moth, emerald ash borer, the fungus that causes oak wilt and other invasive insects and fungi. When untreated, infested firewood is transported away from where the tree died, those pests and fungi can later emerge to attack trees at the new site. This can happen whether that new location is in the next town or hundreds of miles away.
Continue reading “Don’t Let Tree Trouble Hitch A Ride On Firewood”
A bur oak more than 100 years old exhibits canopy dieback and epicormic branching caused by twolined chestnut borer. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR
By Michael Hillstrom, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Fitchburg
White, red and bur oaks have been experiencing increased mortality in Wisconsin and neighboring states over the last few years.
The causes of mortality are varied, but two-lined chestnut borer (TLCB) is the most common culprit. Wisconsin has switched from a period of historically wet years (2017-2020) to drought conditions that have become more severe each year (2021-2023). Add in frost damage, storm damage, increased growing season length and aging forests and the environmental recipe exists for stressed oaks that are more susceptible to attack by insects and diseases.
Continue reading “Oak Mortality Increases In 2023”
Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff
Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665
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.
Continue reading “Balsam Fir Mortality Similar To 2018 And 2020”
White pine with yellowing needles; new growth is not affected. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR.
By Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff; Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665
White pine in north central Wisconsin, as well as scattered areas elsewhere in the state, have many needles that are bright yellow. Brown spot needle blight (Lecanosticta acicula, previously known as Mycosphaerella dearnessii) is the primary suspect, although samples have been sent to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forest Health laboratory to determine if other fungal species are present.
Continue reading “Watch For Brown Spot Needle Blight”
By Alex Feltmeyer, Forest Health Specialist, Plover, Alexandra.Feltmeyer@wisconsin.gov or 715-340-3810
A Heterobasidion root disease fruiting body is found at the base of a white pine sapling in the understory. Photo: Wisconsin DNR Forest Health
Heterobasidion Root Disease (formerly annosum root rot or Fomes root rot) is a serious disease of conifers that causes reduced height, shoot and diameter growth along with thin and yellowish/red foliage, ultimately causing mortality.
The disease becomes established in a new stand when spores of the fungus land on freshly cut stumps made by any forest management that creates cut stumps. After the disease becomes established, it spreads underground through root systems into adjacent trees. In this way, we often find pockets or groups of trees in various stages of decline.
Movement through the root systems contributes to significant spread throughout stands of conifers, impacting the regeneration of conifers within these pockets.
Mortality usually starts occurring three to eight years after a thinning operation. During this time, perennial fruiting bodies of the fungus begin to develop around the base of cut stumps or dead trees.
Continue reading “Heterobasidion Root Disease Approaches”
By Becky Gray, Forest Health Team Leader, Rebecca.Gray@wisconsin.gov
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Health team recently completed the 2022 Forest Health Annual Report. The report summarizes impacts from pests, diseases and weather on the health of Wisconsin’s forests. Highlights from 2022 include:
- Spongy moth’s rising numbers and evaluation of control techniques;
- emerald ash borer continuing to spread and kill ash trees;
- possible new biological control of buckthorn; and
- drought and flooding impacts alongside insect infestations.
Read the report here.
By Kyoko Scanlon, Forest Pathologist, Fitchburg, Kyoko.Scanlon@wisconsin.gov or 608-235-7532
Oak wilt is a serious disease that occurs when insects carrying oak wilt fungal spores land on a healthy oak tree’s fresh wound. To prevent oak wilt infections, it is important to avoid pruning, wounding and harvesting oaks when these insects are abundant, generally from April through July. Predicting exactly when these insects start to emerge in the spring can be difficult as their emergence is highly weather-dependent, and spring weather varies significantly from year to year.
In 2021, the Oak Wilt Vectors Emergence Thermal Model tool, a unique estimation tool, was developed as a collaborative project between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin DNR to help with these predictions. This online tool offers localized recommendations about the emergence status of the two most important insects that transmit oak wilt in Wisconsin. The interface uses a degree-day model (Jagemann et al., 2018) constructed from insect trapping data and actual weather data, which helps refine the beginning of the periods when you should avoid pruning, wounding or harvesting oaks.
UW Extension’s Oak Wilt Vectors Emergence Thermal Model can help predict when oak wilt vectors may be coming. Photo Credit: UW Extension
Continue reading “Sign Up For Oak Wilt Vector Emergence Estimate Daily Email Notification”
By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh, firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent lab examination has confirmed bur oak blight in Fond du Lac County. The disease affects only bur oaks and is caused by the fungus, Tubakia iowensis.
Map of counties where bur oak blight has been confirmed. Map credit: Wisconsin DNR.
Continue reading “Bur Oak Blight Confirmed In Fond du Lac County”