Balsam Fir Mortality Similar To 2018 And 2020

Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff 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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Comments on draft Forest Action Plan due March 23

Wisconsin’s forestry community worked together over the past year to draft Wisconsin’s 2020 Forest Action Plan. The purpose of the Forest Action Plan is to provide long‐term, comprehensive, coordinated strategies to help the forestry community refine how it collectively invests state, federal and leveraged partner resources to address major management and landscape priorities. The Forest Action Plan should be useful for all interested parties, so we value your input.  This effort is a complete redesign of Wisconsin’s 2010 Forest Action Plan.

We are now sharing the entire draft 2020 plan for final review. The Forest Action Plan has multiple parts. We have incorporated the feedback received through prior review periods and worked with operational partner groups to develop draft strategies. The final Wisconsin Forest Action Plan is due to the U.S. Forest Service in June 2020.

At this time, we are requesting input on the draft 2020 WI Forest Action Plan. You can find the draft here:

Please provide feedback to Amanda Koch ( by March 23.

You can find more information on the 2020 Forest Action Plan, and what has been done so far by visiting and searching keywords: Forest Action Plan

If you have any questions, please reach out to Amanda Koch (