Taking action

Document Trees Planted This Year

Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist, Milwaukee, daniel.buckler@wisconsin.gov or 608-445-4578

As there is every glorious spring, there has been a flurry of tree planting in Wisconsin. Each little tree, from seed to sapling, is a hope and prayer that we make for the future. But as each reader knows, that future might be many years away.

While you nurture these arboreal miracles, why not take a couple minutes to document the trees in the Wisconsin Tree Planting Map? The map was designed to help track trees planted to advance the state’s pledge to the Trillion Trees Initiative.

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USDA Biological Control Facility Seeks Ash Trees To Battle Emerald Ash Borer

Asks Landowners To Donate Infested Ash Trees

USDA staff cut a ‘bark window’ in green ash to uncover signs of emerald ash borer. Photo credit: USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is asking Wisconsin landowners for their help. 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. USDA uses ash trees to combat the pest to help preserve and protect the tree species.

Wisconsin landowners have donated live, infested ash trees to USDA’s EAB biological control program. The wood is used to grow EAB’s natural enemies and release them in Wisconsin and 31 other infested States as well as D.C. where they are attacking and killing EAB. USDA needs more ash trees to continue this work and is hoping more Wisconsin residents will consider donating their ash trees this year.

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Photo Collage Of Arbor Day Celebrations

Scroll down to see how communities around the state celebrated Arbor Day in 2023!

Governor Tony Evers attended the village of Germantown’s Arbor Day celebration on Friday, April 28. Village Park and Recreation staff organized the event with help from Wendland Nursery and the Wisconsin DNR. In addition to village staff and leaders, there were approximately 35 elementary students in attendance, all part of the Kids Club (an after-school program at County Line School). DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator Olivia Witthun spoke with the students and presented the community with their 19th annual Tree City USA award. Olivia was assisted by DNR Forestry staff Mike Warnke and Kim Sebastian. The local nursery provided a planting demonstration and gave each student a plant or vegetable to go home with.

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Douglas County Joins Spongy Moth Quarantine

A spongy moth larva eats a leaf.

A spongy moth larva eats a leaf.

By Paul Cigan, DNR plant pest and disease specialist
Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov or 715-416-4920

In early April, Douglas County became the 53rd Wisconsin county added to the state’s spongy moth quarantine list after a discovery that the invasive insect (formerly known as gypsy moth) had become established in the county.

The United States Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) made the determination based on results of a monitoring program of adult moths and other life stages.

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Prepare — Spongy Moth Caterpillars To Return

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

Spongy moth caterpillars clustered below a sticky barrier.

Spongy moth caterpillars clustered below a sticky barrier. Photo: Mark Guthmiller, Wisconsin DNR

This June and July, spongy moth populations are predicted to reach damaging levels in parts of Wisconsin. Populations began to rise in 2020, and this is likely to be the third year of the pest outbreak in some regions of southern Wisconsin.

At present, damaging populations are expected to be most noticeable in southern counties, counties to the north of the city of Green Bay, and in far northern Wisconsin near Lake Superior. Additional areas are likely to have high populations that are more concentrated in size.

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Tips For Arbor Day 2023

This year, Arbor Day will be observed in Wisconsin on Friday, April 28. Please see below for some tips for planning your own celebration.

Add Your Event To A Compilation Of Arbor Day Celebrations Nationwide

Spread the word about your celebration by adding your event to this Arbor Day Foundation webpage. Use this link to submit the details of your event.

Contribute To Wisconsin’s Trillion Trees Pledge

Encourage landowners and homeowners to contribute to Wisconsin’s Trillion Tree Pledge with a goal of planting 1 million trees in Wisconsin’s cities and villages by 2030. Record the trees you plant on Wisconsin’s Tree Planting Map!

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Arbor Day Communications Ideas

Need Ideas To Talk With Your Community About Arbor Day? Let Us Help!

Keep reading for a variety of ideas with differing levels of involvement, from in-person events to social media and more. Feel free to use none of these ideas or all of them and change them in any way you like. Use them as a starting point and make them your own or post them as-is.

You may tag the Wisconsin DNR in your social media posts – we’d be happy to engage with them – but please know it is not necessary.

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Wisconsin Forestry Center Seeks Industry Input

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point are seeking the opinions of Wisconsin’s forestry professionals.

Researchers are conducting an online survey to understand the professional development and training needs of Wisconsin practitioners in fields including forest management, timber harvesting, forest products, and urban forestry. By participating, you will help inform the development of more relevant, accessible, and valuable training opportunities.

The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete, and your response is anonymous. Visit this link to participate and share your thoughts in their online survey. The deadline to participate is April 28. 

If you have questions related to this study, please contact Zoe Kaminsky, graduate research assistant, at zkaminsk@uwsp.edu.

Make Plans To Control Spongy Moth Before The Eggs Hatch

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.

Photo of three spongy moth egg masses on the underside of a pine branch in Walworth County.

Three spongy moth egg masses on the underside of a pine branch in Walworth County. Photo: Bill McNee, Wisconsin DNR.

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Spongy Moth Management Webinar: March 8 at 6 p.m.

By Michael Hillstrom, Forest Health Specialist, Fitchburg, Michael.Hillstrom@wisconsin.gov

Spongy moth populations increased dramatically in 2022 and the outbreak is expected to continue in 2023.

Landowners interested in learning more about spongy moth management options are encouraged to attend an upcoming webinar hosted by UW Extension at 6 p.m. on March 8, 2023.

This is a free event, but registration is required. DNR Forest Health Specialist Mike Hillstrom and UW-Madison Insect Diagnostic Lab entomologist PJ Liesch will discuss a variety of effective management tactics for reducing spongy moth damage in varied settings from high value urban trees to forests.

A flyer for an upcoming webinar about spongy moth management that will take place virtually at 6pm on March 8, 2023.

UW Extension’s spongy moth management webinar can help you prepare to care for your land this spring.