Woodland owners

Make Your 2023 Spongy Moth Treatment Plans Early

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

As long as weather conditions are favorable for the spongy moth* (formerly known as gypsy moth) population, the current outbreak is predicted to continue and spread to other parts of Wisconsin in 2023. Property owners are encouraged to examine susceptible host trees (including oak, birch, crabapple, aspen and willow) and plan ahead.

Spongy moth egg masses on a tree next to a penny for size comparison.

Spongy moth egg masses are tan-colored lumps that are larger than a penny, about the size of a nickel or quarter. Photo: Wisconsin DNR

Continue reading “Make Your 2023 Spongy Moth Treatment Plans Early”

Harvest Timing Affected By Spongy Moth

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

Numerous spongy moth egg masses on a bur oak in southern Waukesha County, November 2022.

Numerous spongy moth egg masses on a bur oak in southern Waukesha County, November 2022. Photo: Bill McNee, Wisconsin DNR.

Forest managers planning silvicultural treatments in spongy moth susceptible stands (containing a large proportion of host species including oak, birch, aspen and basswood) are encouraged to annually conduct egg mass surveys in the few years prior to the scheduled treatment to predict if heavy defoliation is likely. The results may indicate that management activities should be altered or delayed until an outbreak has ended. At present, stands that were heavily defoliated in 2022 or are predicted to be heavily defoliated in 2023 are most likely to need a management delay or alteration.

It is recommended that a time interval be left between a stress agent (such as heavy defoliation or significant drought) and stand thinning so that the trees can recover from pre-existing stress before being subjected to additional stress. One growing season is a common interval for healthy stands that are not being subjected to drought or other stresses. A longer interval is suggested if the tree stress has been more severe or if the stand was not healthy and vigorously growing at the time of defoliation. The same interval is probably appropriate regardless of which stress agent is the pre-existing one. A protective aerial spray may prevent tree stress from defoliation but is usually not economically viable due to the high cost of an aerial treatment.

Continue reading “Harvest Timing Affected By Spongy Moth”

Bur Oak Blight Confirmed In Fond du Lac County

By Bill McNee, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Oshkosh, bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov

Recent lab examination has confirmed bur oak blight in Fond du Lac County. The disease affects only bur oaks and is caused by the fungus, Tubakia iowensis.

Map of Wisconsin counties where bur oak blight has been confirmed.

Map of counties where bur oak blight has been confirmed. Map credit: Wisconsin DNR.

Continue reading “Bur Oak Blight Confirmed In Fond du Lac County”

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

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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?”