Foresters

DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator Don Kissinger Retires

By Jeff Roe, DNR Urban Forestry Team Leader, Madison, jeffrey.roe@wisconsin.gov or 608-535-7582

Don Kissinger, Urban Forestry Coordinator for the north-central region, is retiring after nearly 29 years at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR). His last day in the office was May 21, 2021.

Don’s contributions are significant.  His best days were spent out in the field working and conversing with community forestry managers in his 18-county service area. Don never missed an opportunity to share his passion for urban forestry and arboriculture.

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Wisconsin DNR 2020 Forest Health Annual Report

By Elly Voigt, DNR Forest Lab Technician and Communications Specialist, Eleanor.Voigt@wisconsin.gov

The cover page of the 2020 Annual ReportThe Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Health team recently completed the 2020 Forest Health Annual Report. The report summarizes impacts from pests, diseases and weather on the health of Wisconsin’s forests. Highlights from 2020 include:

• An update on emerald ash borer in Wisconsin, including newly confirmed counties
• New township detections of oak wilt
• Flooding and tornado damage
• Summary of state nursery studies

For access to the report, visit the link here.

What does a DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator do?

By Olivia Witthun, DNR urban forestry coordinator, Plymouth, olivia.witthun@wisconsin.gov, 414-750-8744 

Wisconsin’s urban forests provide a wide range of ecological, economic and social benefits. Urban areas contain nearly 27 million trees with an estimated total replacement value of almost $11 billion. Many don’t realize all the services urban forests provide. They reduce air pollution, mitigate storm water runoff, conserve energy, provide wildlife habitat, increase property values, and attract businesses, tourists and residents. They even improve public health and well-being. The Wisconsin DNR’s Urban Forestry Team seeks to maximize these benefits derived from our state’s community tree canopies. 

Thirteen people are part of the DNR Urban Forestry Team, and six of those are Urban Forestry Coordinators (UFCs).  Each UFC serves a different region, and within that region, we mainly serve city foresters, local government tree managers and other partners.  (UW Extension serves homeowners.)  Your UFC is your go-to contact for all things urban forestry. 

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DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator Brad Johnson retires

By Christopher Tall, WDNR

After a long and fruitful career with the Wisconsin DNR, Brad Johnson’s last day in the office was September 4, 2020.  He started his DNR career as an integrated forestry team leader for Douglas County from 1993 to 2002 and transferred to the same position for Barron and Washburn County from 2002-2017.  Since 2017, he has served as an Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator covering 19 counties along the west side of the state from the Spooner ​Ranger Station.

Urban Forestry Team Leader Jeff Roe says, “It has been my pleasure to supervise Brad for the last few years. His positive attitude and passion for the work have left an indelible impression on both staff and partners. He has been a great team member, willing to learn and to offer his input in a friendly way.”

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USDA seeks ash trees to battle EAB

Emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive insect from Asia that was first introduced into the United States in 2002. Since its discovery, EAB has caused the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees. Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is using ash trees against the pest to help preserve and protect the tree species. Staff in the USDA EAB biological control (biocontrol) program are asking Wisconsin landowners in Sheboygan, Fond du Lac and Door counties to help by donating infested ash trees for use in raising wasps that attack and kill EAB.

A square window of bark is removed from green ash to uncover EAB larvae underneath.

USDA staff cut a “bark window” in green ash to uncover signs of EAB.

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Welcome new Urban Forestry team member

By Jeff Roe, Urban Forestry Team Leader, Madison, Jeffrey.Roe@wisconsin.gov, 608-535-7582

I am very pleased to announce that Patricia Lindquist has accepted the Urban Forestry Communications and Outreach positions in our program. Patricia’s first day was on October 14, and she is based in Madison. She is very excited to be joining our team and working with all of you.

Nicknamed “woodsy girl” in college by her Austrian host family, Patricia has loved spending time in nature since childhood. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from UW-Madison, she spent six years working in urban forestry education and outreach at two local nonprofits, Community GroundWorks and Urban Tree Alliance. In her free time, Patricia can be found running, hiking, gardening, and traveling to the far corners of the globe with her trusty backpack.

She can be reached at patricia.lindquist@wisconsin.gov and 608-843-6248.

Professionally-designed HRD guidelines now available

Cover page of HRD guidelines documentThe professionally-designed version of the Heterobasidion root disease (HRD) stump treatment guidelines is now posted on the DNR’s HRD webpage. The revised stump treatment guidelines, developed to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of HRD in Wisconsin, were implemented January 1, 2019. The content is the same as the guidelines that were approved last year, but this document has a layout that is much more user-friendly. Explore the new look of the HRD guidelines.

 

EAB found in third Douglas County township

By Paul Cigan, forest health specialist, Hayward, Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov, 715-416-4920

Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been confirmed in Highland Township in Douglas County, making it the third township with a known EAB infestation in this county. Utility line professionals reported white ash with heavy woodpecker damage, or “flecking,” that was later confirmed to be an EAB infestation. The extent of damage to the tree suggests that the infestation is approximately 4 years old. Surrounding black ash do not display signs or symptoms of EAB. Nevertheless, based on EAB’s natural rate of spread, there is likely to be a low-density population for about 15 miles around the infested tree in all directions. The nearest previous EAB detection, made in the Town of Amnicon in 2017, is located 23 miles away. Firewood transport is the most likely source of this latest outlying introduction.

Known EAB detections as of April 25, 2019.

Known EAB detections as of April 25, 2019.

Forest managers working with ash should become familiar with the revised EAB Silviculture Guidelines, and landowners and managers in northern counties are encouraged to report EAB suspect trees to their regional forest health specialist.

EAB-infested white ash with heavy woodpecker flecking and dead epicormic sprouts.

EAB-infested white ash with heavy woodpecker flecking and dead epicormic sprouts.

Dense EAB larval galleries on the wood surface of infested white ash.

Dense EAB larval galleries on the wood surface of infested white ash.

Revised emerald ash borer guidelines now available

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

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released updated guidelines to aid woodland owners and managers in managing ash stands in light of the invasive emerald ash borer (EAB). The guidelines that became effective on January 1, 2019 reflect new research, increased pest detections and the anticipated transition to a statewide EAB quarantine (which occurred in March 2018).

Forestry professional and landowner standing in hardwood stand assessing conditions.

Landowners should work with professional foresters to make management decisions related to EAB on their land.

The silvicultural guidelines are intended to help make informed stand-level decisions regarding management of stands that are not yet infested by EAB and stands that are already impacted by the tree-killing beetle. They should be used along with other materials, including best management practices and other guidance documents, to develop appropriate management plans. 

The revised guidelines include recommendations to:

  • Implement management plans as soon as practical, across all of Wisconsin, to reduce a stand’s ash component to no more than 20%. More management options are likely to be available by taking immediate action
  • Review existing management plans to determine if they need revision due to changes in EAB distribution, stand condition, market prices, etc.
  • Diversify woodlands with site-appropriate tree species
  • Utilize merchantable ash before trees are infested or killed. It may be appropriate to retain some live ash on site for ecological benefits, species diversity, wildlife habitat, temporary cover or seed production

The guidelines also place a greater emphasis on assessing stand and site conditions before making management decisions. The document offers stand management alternatives for both upland and lowland stands, while recognizing that conversion of lowland ash stands to other forest types will be impractical in many cases.

If you would like more information about emerald ash borer or these guidelines, visit the DNR EAB webpage or talk to your regional forest health specialist.

Revised Heterobasidion root disease guidelines now available

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released updated guidelines to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of Heterobasidion root disease (HRD) in Wisconsin through preventive stump treatments. The revised guidelines became effective on January 1, 2019, and a professionally designed version will be available soon. Woodland owners are strongly encouraged to work with a professional forester to make management decisions about HRD and preventive stump treatments.

Pocket of HRD-caused thinning and mortality in red pine plantation, Grant County.

Pocket of HRD-caused thinning and mortality in red pine plantation, Grant County.

Heterobasidion root disease is one of the most destructive diseases affecting conifers in the Northern Hemisphere. In Wisconsin, HRD is most commonly found in pine and spruce plantations. Infection by the wood-decaying Heterobasidion irregulare fungus kills living tissues and leads to growth loss and tree mortality. Spores landing on a fresh cut pine or spruce stump will infect that stump and root system and spread via root contact to neighboring trees, killing them as it invades their root systems. This pattern of spread creates pockets of dead and dying trees that expand outward. Growth reduction of trees leads to economic losses for plantation owners, and mortality of trees, including seedlings and saplings, has long-term implications for future stand composition and management.

The HRD stump treatment guidelines are designed to help make decisions about the use of preventive stump treatments when harvesting a stand. These treatments limit disease introduction by preventing fungal spores from developing on the exposed surfaces of newly cut stumps.

Cutting bar on logging equipment spraying blue chemical used in HRD stump treatments.

Pesticides used in stump treatments can be applied using logging equipment (blue mist exiting through nozzles in saw bar) or backpack sprayer.

Stump treatments are typically recommended between April 1 and November 30 if a stand is within 25 miles of a known HRD infection site and the stand is more than 50% pine and/or spruce. However, there are other factors to consider when deciding whether to use the preventive stump treatments. Certain situations when you may not need to treat stumps, referred to as “Exceptions” and “Modifications” in the guidelines, consider variables such as economic feasibility, landowner risk tolerance, unexpected weather patterns and future desired stand composition. Highlights of the revised stump treatment guidelines include:

  • Timing of treatments and general distance recommendations did not change from older guidance
  • Addition of spruce as a species recommended for stump treatment
  • Additional Exceptions and Modifications where treatment may not be necessary
  • For private landowners with a higher risk tolerance, a 6-mile radius from known infection sites can be considered when evaluating whether to apply treatments
  • Even if a stand is considered at low risk for HRD infection, woodland owners should carefully consider the potential impacts to their stand if preventive treatments are not used and HRD becomes established

Along with the guidelines, a web-based HRD map viewer has been launched. This interactive map displays confirmed HRD locations and 25-mile and 6-mile radius buffers around HRD locations. The purpose of this map is to help users determine whether a stand is within either the 25 or 6-mile buffers where stump treatments are recommended. You can enter an address or GPS location, turn map layers on and off, and zoom in and out to an area of interest.

If you would like more information about HRD or these guidelines, visit the DNR HRD webpage or talk to your regional forest health specialist.