West Central WI forest health

Educational HRD video now available

By Kyoko Scanlon, forest pathologist, Kyoko.Scanlon@wisconsin.gov, 608-235-7532

The Wisconsin DNR recently created a short video on Heterobasidion root disease (HRD) to compliment the updated guidelines that were released in 2019. The 5-minute educational video covers HRD biology, its significance as a tree disease, signs and symptoms, as well as preventative measures that landowners can take to reduce its introduction and spread. This is a great video for forestry professionals, landowners and the general public to learn more about HRD. Continue reading “Educational HRD video now available”

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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Proposed guidance available for public comment

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

The DNR Forest Health Program currently has proposed guidance, “Organizing an aerial spray for forest pests: Recommendations and regulations,” available for public comment until May 25. The document can be found on the proposed DNR program guidance webpage under “new proposed program guidance.” Comments can be submitted through this webpage.

Cover page of proposed aerial spray guide.

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DATCP pesticide certifications during COVID-19

By Becky Gray, forest health team leader, Fitchburg, Rebecca.Gray@wisconsin.gov, 608-220-3022

Due to COVID-19, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is extending pesticide certifications. If your pesticide certification will expire between January 31st and September 30th, then your certification is now valid until October 31st. Please refer to DATCP’s press release for more details.

If you were planning to take the test for pesticide certification this spring, DATCP is offering online pesticide exams for certain categories, including Forestry Category 2.0. The online exams are only for a temporary pesticide applicator certification which will be good until October 31st. Please refer to DATCP’s press release explaining the online pesticide exams for more information.

Two-lined chestnut borer in flooded oak stands

By Mike Hillstrom, forest health specialist, Fitchburg, Michael.Hillstrom@wisconsin.gov, 608-513-7690

2019 was the wettest year ever recorded in Wisconsin. Four of Wisconsin’s top five wettest years have taken place in the last decade, three of them in the last five years: 2019, 2018 and 2016. Flooding can be stressful for trees, and with flooding occurring over the past few years in many parts of the state, forest health staff expect the impacts to forests to continue to escalate. Continue reading “Two-lined chestnut borer in flooded oak stands”

White pine blister rust can girdle branches

By Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0665

White pine branches that suddenly turn red may be a sign of white pine blister rust. White pine blister rust is a fungal infection that creates expanding “dead spots” or cankers on the branches or main stem of host trees. Eventually the fungus grows enough to girdle the branch or main stem and the needles fade from green to pale green to rusty red. Orange, spore-producing pustules erupt around the edges of the canker in the spring.

Orange pustules erupt through the bark and around the margins of a white pine blister rust canker. Photo by Jean Romback-Bartels.

Orange pustules erupt through the bark and around the margins of a white pine blister rust canker. Photo by Jean Romback-Bartels.

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Gypsy moth spray program begins in May

The 2020 gypsy moth slow-the-spread program, operated by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is expected to begin aerial spraying in the second half of May to slow the westward spread of gypsy moth.

Map of counties to be sprayed in 2020.

Map of counties where slow-the-spread treatments will occur in 2020.

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Gall rusts on jack pine

By Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0665

There are three things you may find interesting about gall rusts on jack pine at this time of year. The first is that as winter recedes, closer examination of the galls on jack pine shows that squirrels like to chew on them. The squirrels seem to prefer the smaller galls, with most chewing marks being observed on galls less than 2” in diameter. They eat the galls by scraping off the outer layers, leaving behind telltale teeth marks.

Chewing marks on a branch gall caused by gall rust.

Squirrels sometimes feed on galls, scraping away the outer layers and leaving teeth marks behind.

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Damage from heavy winter snow and ice

By Linda Williams, forest health specialist, Woodruff, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0665

Heavy ice and snow loads can cause significant problems for trees. Branches can break under heavy loads, and entire tree tops loaded with snow can come crashing down in windy conditions. Trees that are repeatedly weighed down or tipped over by snow, only to have more snow pile up on them, can be further impacted.

Four images of winter damage to jack pine, including stem failure from gall damage, root failure due to Armillaria root disease.

Clockwise from top left: jack pine broken at site of gall on main stem; trees that break at their base due to heavy snow loads are not able to recover; previous attack from pine root collar weevil (yellow arrow) weakened this tree near its base; heavy snow load and a major root weakened by Armillaria caused this tree to break (yellow arrow) and tip over.

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Mouse, rabbit and squirrel damage from winter

By Todd Lanigan, forest health specialist, Eau Claire, Todd.Lanigan@wisconsin.gov, 715-210-0150

With the onset of spring and snow melt, you may have noticed bark missing at the base of trees and shrubs. This is most commonly noticed on sections of bark that were below the snow line. This damage, known as girdling, was caused by mice and rabbits feeding on the bark during the winter.

Girdling damage at base of tree surrounded by older greyish black wound.

Mouse girdling damage at base of tree surrounded by older greyish-black wound.

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