Woodland owners

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”

On The Lookout For Oak Wilt Fruiting Bodies

By Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff
Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0665

Have you ever seen an oak wilt fruiting body? Oak wilt is a fungal disease that kills trees in the red oak group (northern red oak, northern pin oak, black oak and other oaks with points on their leaves). Trees in the white oak group (white oak, burr oak, swamp white oak and other oaks with rounded leaves) are more resistant to the disease, but branches or branch tips can still be killed.

A small crack in tree bark that indicates an oak wilt pressure pad is underneath.

Oak wilt pressure pads can create a crack in the bark, allowing beetles to get into the spores. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

Continue reading “On The Lookout For Oak Wilt Fruiting Bodies”

EAB Identified For The First Time In Forest And Ashland County

By Linda Williams, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff, Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0665 & Paul Cigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Hayward, Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov, 715-416-4920

Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been detected for the first time in Forest County in the Town of Armstrong Creek and Ashland County in the City of Ashland. The Forest County detection was most likely a natural expansion of other infestations in Florence and Marinette counties.

Bark has been removed from an ash tree to show EAB tunnels present near the base of the tree.

This Forest County tree was infested with EAB top to bottom. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

The Ashland County detections appear to be isolated infestations likely spread through the transportation of firewood or logs. Several large green ash stands in the City of Ashland show advanced infestation signs.

EAB was first found in Wisconsin in 2008. There are now just seven counties where EAB has not yet been identified. EAB was federally deregulated as of January 2021. In 2018, Wisconsin instituted a state-wide quarantine. This discovery in Forest and Ashland counties will result in no regulatory changes.

Please visit the interactive Wisconsin EAB detections map to see where EAB has been reported. Follow the map’s instructions if you know of an infested area not on the map. Continue reading “EAB Identified For The First Time In Forest And Ashland County”

Emerald Ash Borer Found In Bayfield County

By Paul Cigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist

Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov or 715-416-4920

Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been discovered in Bayfield County for the first time in both the city of Bayfield and Bayview township to the south. This marks the 63rd out of Wisconsin’s 72 counties to have an EAB discovery since its initial detection in 2008.

Dead white ash with woodpecker damage in a park

Figure 1: First known infested ash tree in Bayfield County with characteristic woodpecker damage (i.e., flecking).
Photo: Wisconsin DNR

Several white ash trees (Fig 1.) were observed in and around a roadside park in the city of Bayfield, and larval specimens were subsequently lab-confirmed. In Bayview, a black ash swamp had several infested black ash (Fig 2). 

After introduction, EAB populations remain low for at least several years as most larvae in newly infested, healthy ash require two years to complete their life cycle. The abundance of healthy ash at each site suggests EAB populations have remained low since their introduction at least three years ago. However, EAB will kill ash more quickly as beetle numbers mount and more larvae transform from egg to adult in a single year. Unfortunately, many ash in the area are expected to die within four to seven years based on detection-to-impact timeframes observed from the Superior and Duluth area and research conducted in midwestern states. Continue reading “Emerald Ash Borer Found In Bayfield County”

Seeking Input to Proposed Changes in Chapter 1 of Private Forestry Handbook

Chapter 1 of the Private Forestry Handbook is available for stakeholder review and comment through April 4, 2022.

This chapter covers program guidelines for DNR forestry staff regarding their work with private woodland owners, including establishing walk-through service standards and a property walk-through policy. We’re updating this chapter to establish a property walk-through policy since there was no set standard for this important interaction with private woodland owners.

To review and provide feedback on this document, please visit the DNR Forestry Stakeholder Input Page.

Document Title: Private Forestry Handbook HB2470.5

Contact Person: Kristin Lambert

Due Date: April 4, 2022

Click here to view a detailed description of document updates.

EAB Identified In Lincoln County For The First Time, Continues Spread Into Northern Wisconsin

By Linda Williams, WI DNR Forest Health Specialist, Woodruff
Linda.Williams@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0665

Emerald ash borer (EAB) continues to spread into areas of Northern Wisconsin and was detected for the first time in Lincoln County, in the Town of Harrison and the City of Tomahawk. EAB was first identified in Wisconsin in 2008, only 14 years ago. It is now in 62 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.

S-shaped markings in an ash tree trunk where a hatchet has removed the bark.

S-shaped galleries under the bark of this ash were created by EAB larvae. You can also see epicormic branches (water sprouts) coming out of the trunk. These are a sign of significant stress in the tree. Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

Continue reading “EAB Identified In Lincoln County For The First Time, Continues Spread Into Northern Wisconsin”

Got Buckthorn?

Article By: Jaqi Christopher, DNR Forest Invasive Plant Specialist, Rhinelander, Jacquelyn.Christopher@wisconsin.gov

Common buckthorn with green leaves and dark purple/black berries.

Common Buckthorn leaves with berries. Notice the prominent leaf veins and small thorns at the end of the branches.
Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

You can find buckthorn just about anywhere these days. It can sneak into the tidiest of gardens, as well as woodlots and forests. It aggressively outcompetes native plants and even tricks wildlife into spreading it to new areas. For example, birds are enticed to eat the berries, but buckthorn berries have a laxative effect, robbing birds of nutrition and ensuring the seeds are spread quickly across the landscape. 

There are two species of buckthorn in the state: common buckthorn and glossy buckthorn. The plants are similar in appearance and equally harmful to native ecosystems. Common buckthorn and glossy buckthorn grow to be 20-25 feet tall. Glossy buckthorn has round, glossy leaves with prominent leaf veins and a smooth margin, while common buckthorn has dull green leaves with small teeth on the margin. The branches of common buckthorn will have a small thorn at the tip of the twig. The bark is similar in both species, being rough and flakey. Native cherry and plum trees have similar bark, but buckthorn can be identified by leaf appearance andby cutting into the bark to expose the bright yellow and orange wood underneath.

Continue reading “Got Buckthorn?”

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”

Protect Oak Trees From Oak Wilt By Pruning After July, Not Before

By Don Kissinger, DNR Urban Forester, 715-348-5746 or Don.Kissinger@wisconsin.gov; Paul Cigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist, 715-416-4920 or Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urban and forest health specialists recommend not pruning or cutting oaks from April through July to protect oak trees from the often fatal oak wilt disease.

The spring season often draws property owners outdoors to soak up rays of long-awaited sunlight, breathe in some fresh air and begin seasonal yard maintenance and cleanup projects. While spring is a time to dust off yard tools like rakes, shovels and weed clippers, when it comes to the health of oak trees, keeping those chainsaws and trimming tools a safe distance away will go a long way to ensure that your trees stay healthy for many more spring seasons to come.

Sap-feeding beetle on a diseased oak tree in Sawyer County.

Sap-feeding beetle on a diseased oak tree in Sawyer County.

Continue reading “Protect Oak Trees From Oak Wilt By Pruning After July, Not Before”

New emerald ash borer county detections: an update from DATCP and DNR

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), in partnership with the Wisconsin DNR, has detected emerald ash borer in four new counties (Dunn, Oconto, Pepin and Shawano). Please read this DATCP article for more information.

Adult emerald ash borer beetle.

Adult emerald ash borer beetle.

If you are a landowner and have questions about ash trees in your woodlot, contact your local DNR forester using the Forestry Assistance Locator.