Technical assistance

Look For Spongy Moth Egg Masses – Larger Outbreak Possible in 2023

By: Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh

bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0942

Three tan-colored spongy moth egg masses on a single tree branch in Walworth County.

Three spongy moth egg masses on a branch in Walworth County. Photo Credit: Bill McNee, Wisconsin DNR

Now that spongy moth* (formerly known as gypsy moth) egg laying is complete for 2022, it’s a good time to look for and dispose of egg masses produced by adult moths over the past two months.

Spongy moth egg masses are tan-colored lumps about the size of a nickel or quarter, and are found on trees, buildings and other outdoor objects. They may also be found in protected places such as firewood piles and birdhouses. Newly produced egg masses will feel firm and appear darker in color than older egg masses, which appear faded, feel spongy and do not contain viable eggs. The current-year egg masses will not hatch until next spring.

In 2022, Wisconsin’s spongy moth population grew for a third consecutive summer due to favorable weather conditions and limited caterpillar mortality from diseases. The outbreak was most dramatic in opposite ends of the state. In southern and southeast Wisconsin, several thousand oak-dominated acres were heavily defoliated and very large numbers of property owner reports were received by DNR staff. In Bayfield County, about 80,000 acres of rural defoliation was reported from aspen-dominated forests. Smaller patches of defoliation were also reported from several other counties. Continue reading “Look For Spongy Moth Egg Masses – Larger Outbreak Possible in 2023”

Tree Ordinances: Why They’re Important, How To Write Them, And Resources For Help

By: Abigail Krause, DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator

Trees contribute to a community’s character and livability. Improved air quality, stormwater management, energy savings, and increased aesthetics are just a few of the frequently referenced benefits provided by trees. However, as with any community infrastructure, trees also need to be managed and maintained.

Ordinances are one step communities can take to shift from reactive to proactive management and avoid large, unexpected maintenance costs. 

Continue reading “Tree Ordinances: Why They’re Important, How To Write Them, And Resources For Help”

Take Action! Look For Gypsy Moth Egg Masses

Article By:  Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh
bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov 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
Five small gypsy moth egg tan masses on a single tree branch in Walworth County.

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”

Tree Inventory Accounts Available

By Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist, Madison, Daniel.Buckler@wisconsin.gov or 608-445-4578

Do you have a tree inventory but have had a hard time keeping it current, or you’re interested in inventorying some trees of your own? The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is funding several accounts for communities or organizations to edit data within the Wisconsin Community Tree Map, a compilation of tree inventories from around the state. The map shows where trees are located and includes information about each tree, such as diameter, health condition and street address.

Continue reading “Tree Inventory Accounts Available”

Free Tree Inventory Software Pilot Opportunity

By Dan Buckler, DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist based in Madison, daniel.buckler@wisconsin.gov or 608-445-4578

Do you have a tree inventory but have had a hard time keeping it current? The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) maintains the Wisconsin Community Tree Map, a compilation of tree inventories from around the state. The map shows where trees are located in different communities and includes information about each tree, such as diameter, health condition and street address.

The DNR recently acquired a few extra accounts to distribute to communities on a pilot basis. We would like to distribute these accounts to communities that would make use of the tree map functionality and actively use the tool to add or remove trees in the inventory or to edit current data (e.g. change the diameter, mark the tree as pruned). If you already have a tree inventory tool that you use and like, then this option is probably not for you. But if you don’t have a tool, then you might be interested in this free account. It could be accessed with a smart phone, tablet or computer, provided there is an internet connection. The DNR can help provide training on the tool for interested communities.

Continue reading “Free Tree Inventory Software Pilot Opportunity”

Four Communities Kick-Start Urban Forestry Programs With DNR Assistance

By Don Kissinger, DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator based in Wausau, Don.Kissinger@wisconsin.gov or 715-348-5746 

In 2018, I had been covering the Northwest part of the state for three years due to a vacancy and saw first-hand a lack of proactive community forestry management in some areas, but also a lot of potential.

To help kick-start new urban forestry programs in the region, I proposed that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) use some of our US Forest Service funding to contract an urban forestry consultant to work one-on-one with selected communities. The consultant would meet with community staff, collect tree inventory data and develop individual operations plans.

The selected communities would then agree to apply for our 50-50 matching Startup Grants to implement the developed plan. A similar strategy (minus the startup grant commitment) had worked well in southern Wisconsin in 2012: out of five selected communities (Adams, Elroy, Hillsboro, Mauston and Necedah), four have become Tree City USA communities, three have had staff complete the Community Tree Management Institute (CTMI) and one has hired a full-time forester responsible for their community’s street, park, and cemetery trees.

Continue reading “Four Communities Kick-Start Urban Forestry Programs With DNR Assistance”

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. 

Continue reading “What does a DNR Urban Forestry Coordinator do?”

CTMI postponed until Fall 2021

After much deliberation, WI DNR Urban Forestry has decided to postpone the Community Tree Management Institute (CTMI) for one year.  The health and safety of others is paramount.  Due to the pandemic, it’s just not feasible to come together in person for this training.  Group interaction and networking are an integral part of the CTMI experience, so we will look forward to coming together in the fall of 2021 with the start of the next CTMI class (exact dates to be determined). 

For more information, please contact Olivia Witthun, 414-750-8744 or Olivia.Witthun@wisconsin.gov.

Updated emerald ash borer silviculture guidelines now available

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

The Division of Forestry has completed a revision of the emerald ash borer silviculture guidelines to help foresters prepare for and respond to the arrival of emerald ash borer (EAB) in a forest stand.

Cover page of new guidelines. Continue reading “Updated emerald ash borer silviculture guidelines now available”

Large-scale urban tree removal using mechanized logging equipment

By Don Peterson, Wisconsin Urban Wood

With thousands of trees on their properties, municipalities and other urban ownerships sometimes need to remove a large volume of trees at once, such as after an insect or disease outbreak (i.e., emerald ash borer) or a catastrophic weather event (wind/tornadoes or ice/snow damage).  When this need arises, what are the options available to remove these trees efficiently, safely, cost effectively and quickly? 

Mechanized logging equipment has become the standard for traditional tree harvests in most of the country’s rural forests.  Using this type of equipment in urban tree removal projects is in its infancy, but it can be a very effective tool in the right circumstances.

Advantages of tree removal by mechanized logging equipment include:

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