By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh, Bill.McNee@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0942
Spongy moth (formerly known as gypsy moth) egg masses typically begin to hatch in April as temperatures warm. Each mass that hatches may produce up to 1,000 leaf-eating caterpillars.
Now is a great time to inspect your trees for egg masses and treat or remove any masses within reach. Wisconsin weather has been favorable for this pest over the last three years and populations have grown.
Three spongy moth egg masses on the underside of a pine branch in Walworth County. Photo: Bill McNee, Wisconsin DNR.
Continue reading “Make Plans To Control Spongy Moth Before The Eggs Hatch” →
By Bill McNee, Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh, Bill.McNee@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0942
Property owners with healthy, valuable ash trees are encouraged to treat them with insecticide this spring to protect against emerald ash borer (EAB). The pest is currently the most damaging threat to trees in Wisconsin, killing more than 99% of the ash trees it infests.
Woodpecker damage during the winter is often the first sign that an ash tree is infested. The birds remove pieces of bark while feeding on EAB larvae inside the tree. Insecticide treatment of infested ash trees is more likely to be successful if the trees have low or moderate levels of woodpecker damage.
Now is a good time to consider insecticide protection, because the treatments are typically done between mid-April and mid-May. Ash (in the genus Fraxinus) is the only type of tree that needs protection against EAB. Mountain ash and prickly ash do not need protection because the insect does not attack them.
This ash tree branch in West Allis has been damaged by woodpeckers feeding on EAB larvae beneath the bark.
Photo: Bill McNee, Wisconsin DNR.
Continue reading “Treat Your Valuable Ash Trees Against Emerald Ash Borer This Spring” →
Invasive plants are a major threat to Wisconsin’s forests, highlighted in the forest health chapter of Wisconsin’s Forest Action Plan. Invasive plants limit tree regeneration, reduce plant diversity and increase management costs. Recent Forest Inventory and Analysis data from the USDA Forest Service found that more than half of forest sites surveyed in Wisconsin had two or more invasive plant species. Forest landowners should learn to recognize common invasive plants like buckthorns, honeysuckles and garlic mustard. Mobile applications are a handy tool for landowners to learn to identify the plant species in their woods (e.g., PlantNet, iNaturalist) and report invasives (e.g., EDDMapS). For information about the regulated invasive plants in Wisconsin visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Terrestrial Invasive Species page.
Continue reading “Fighting Invasive Plants” →
Climate change may impact forest insects in a variety of ways that will likely put stress on the forest. Warmer temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, more frequent extreme weather events and longer growing seasons are a few consequences of climate change that may shape the effects of insects in future forests. A changing climate may impact insects as:
- Warmer temperatures accelerate larval development and increase insect populations.
- Extended growing seasons allow for more generations of insects each year.
- Altered leaf chemistry modifies insect host plant preferences.
- Extreme weather events damage and stress forests, resulting in attacks by native and non-native insects.
- Warmer temperatures allow insects to expand their range and occupy new areas.
Many examples of insects responding to climate change have already been documented. Two examples are:
1) Mountain pine beetle expanding its geographic range in the western U.S. and infesting a new host tree species during the most recent outbreak; and
2) Eastern larch beetle having an additional generation each year that has resulted in an unprecedented 20-year outbreak in Minnesota. Continue reading “Climate Impacts On Forest Insects” →
Forest health experts from federal and state government, tribes and universities worked together to create the two goals and numerous strategies featured in the forest health chapter of Wisconsin’s 2020-2030 Statewide Forest Action Plan. Many goals and strategies in other chapters are also relevant to forest health efforts.
These goals are high-level statements about the desired future conditions of Wisconsin forests. The forest health chapter goals are:
- Forested land and ecosystem functions are maximized, while losses due to forest health threats are minimized
- Forest health threats are identified and managed in a fashion that is adaptive and responsive to multiple values
Continue reading “Statewide Forest Action Plan Strategies” →
The forest health chapter of Wisconsin’s 2020-2030 Statewide Forest Action Plan, completed in June 2020, highlights the impacts of insects, diseases, invasive plants and worms in Wisconsin’s forests.
Forest health experts from government agencies, universities and tribes worked together to evaluate these current impacts. They then developed goals and strategies to help the forestry community refine how it will invest state, federal and partner resources to address major forest health management and landscape priorities over the next ten years.
Forest health is a critical component of the plan because native and non-native pests increase tree mortality to a level that negatively affects forest stocking levels, clean water, wildlife habitat and raw material for wood products. This causes economic losses and undesirable management outcomes. Continue reading “Forest Health In The Statewide Forest Action Plan” →
Article By: Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff
Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665
Have you seen small round holes in acorns? These holes are a sign of acorn weevil damage that can occur in all Wisconsin oak species.
Two acorns show exit holes of acorn weevils. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR
Continue reading “Acorn Weevils Make Acorns Float” →
Article By: Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh
email@example.com or 920-360-0942
In 2021, gypsy moth populations increased for a second consecutive summer due to favorable weather conditions. Populations typically increase with an average or mild winter, below average spring precipitation and above average May through June temperatures.
Regional variation in weather can result in significant differences in populations. If weather conditions are favorable again in 2022, the most noticeable increase in caterpillar numbers would likely occur in southern counties, where conditions were driest during this past spring and summer.
Populations experience the fastest growth rate and are first noticed on:
- Dry sites with sandy soil and abundant oak
- Mowed lawns with preferred tree species (oak, crabapple, birch, etc.)
- Large oaks (bur, in particular) with rough bark, especially on or adjacent to mowed lawns
Gypsy moth egg masses found in Walworth County in fall 2021.
Photo Credit: Gypsy moth egg masses KMSU
Continue reading “Take Action! Look For Gypsy Moth Egg Masses” →
Written By: Todd Lanigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Eau Claire, Todd.Lanigan@wisconsin.gov or 715-210-0150
As we head into September, fall webworm is starting to make its presence known. This native insect feeds on deciduous trees and shrubs and appears every year in yards and forests. Fall webworm forms loose webbing over branch tips and can completely cover a small tree with webbing. You will find both live and dead caterpillars, partially eaten leaves and frass (caterpillar poop) inside the webbing.
Fall webworm larvae inside webbing. Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR
Continue reading “Fall Webworm Is Active” →
By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh, firstname.lastname@example.org or 920-360-0942
Heterobasidion root disease (HRD), formerly known as annosum root rot, was recently found in Fond du Lac and Racine counties for the first time. Thinned pine stands were surveyed by DNR forestry staff in four eastern counties where the disease had not been previously found (Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, Racine and Winnebago counties).
Counties where Heterobasidion root disease (HRD) has been found as of August 2021 are shown in green.
Continue reading “Heterobasidion Root Disease (HRD) Found In Fond Du Lac And Racine Counties” →