Woodland owners

Avoid Hitchhikers This Summer

By Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR invasive plant program specialist, Oshkosh
Erika.SegersonMueller@wisconsin.gov or 715-492-0391

Invasive jumping worms have a light-colored clitellum, while most worm species have a raised, pink clitellum. / Photo Credit: Brad Herrick, UW-Madison Arboretum

To reiterate some advice you may have heard long ago from your parents: Don’t give rides to hitchhikers. They may have been thinking about people, but hitchhiking invasive plants, insects and pathogens are also worthy of concern.

As you dream of days spent at the cabin up north, planting your garden or wandering in the woods, here are a few reminders to help you avoid bringing hitchhiking invasives along as you enjoy your spring and summer activities. Continue reading “Avoid Hitchhikers This Summer”

Phomopsis Galls Found On Northern Red Oak

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

Photo showing large Phomopsis galls on a tree before it has leafed out in the spring.

It is often easier to spot large Phomopsis galls before leaves come out in the spring.

Phomopsis galls are large woody swellings on the branches or main stem caused by a fungus. Across Wisconsin, Phomopsis galls can grow on hickory, especially bitternut hickory. However, in some areas of Wisconsin, they can occur on northern red oak.

Northern red oaks sometimes have hundreds of Phomopsis galls on the branches, ranging from as small as a tennis ball to as large as a basketball. Continue reading “Phomopsis Galls Found On Northern Red Oak”

Weed Management Area Grant Deadline Nears

By Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR Invasive Plant Program Specialist, Oshkosh Service Center;
Erika.SegersonMueller@wisconsin.gov or 715-492-0391

Controlling invasive plants on your forested property can be a challenging and costly endeavor. The Weed Management Area – Private Forest Grant Program (WMA-PFGP) helps make this process easier for its recipients. Though the April 1 application deadline is quickly approaching, there is still time to apply for funding for your forest.

Continue reading “Weed Management Area Grant Deadline Nears”

Watch For Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

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

Landowners with hemlock and anyone who walks through or works in hemlock stands can help watch for signs of hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA).

This invasive insect has not yet been identified in Wisconsin, but it has been found in seven counties in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The insect sucks the sap of hemlock trees, and large populations can cause the decline and mortality of hemlock over 4 to 10 years, depending on the health of the tree and population levels of HWA. It’s vital to find infestations as early as possible to allow multiple options for control and management.

Continue reading “Watch For Hemlock Woolly Adelgid”

Invasive Species Find The Spotlight In February

By Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR Invasive Plant Program Specialist, Oshkosh Service Center;
erika.segersonmueller@wisconsin.gov or 715-492-0391

Graphic showing home page for NISAW.org-slash-forest, titled Invasive Species Are Damaging Our Forests

One focus for policy development during NISAW 2024 is forest health and invasive plants. NAISMA has created an easy way to contact your elected officials to let them know you support the Invasive Species Prevention and Forest Restoration Act. / Image Credit: NAISMA.org

While February in Wisconsin may bring to mind snow-covered ground and little new plant growth, it’s quite a big month for action in the invasive species world. The last week of February brings National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW), an international event that focuses on legislation, policies and funding for the prevention and management of invasive species.

Continue reading “Invasive Species Find The Spotlight In February”

Squirrel Damage To Maple Trees Showing Up Earlier This Winter

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

Photo of a maple tree with some bark removed by squirrel feeding.

Squirrels have stripped off the bark of this maple tree to get at the sweet cambium layer under the bark. / Photo Credit: Linda Williams, Wisconsin DNR

Typically in the spring, squirrels can cause damage to maple trees by removing bark from branches and the main stem after the trees have been frozen all winter and the weather starts to warm up. This fall, before the January cold spell, temperatures had warmed up by mid-November and remained warm throughout December.

As a result, starting in late November fresh squirrel damage was being noted on some scattered maples in north central Wisconsin. Damage progressed throughout December and some trees have more than half of the bark removed from branches and the main stem. The sight of scattered bits of bark around the base of these trees is another sign of squirrel activity.

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Woodpecker Damage On Ash Trees May Indicate Emerald Ash Borer

By Bill McNee; DNR Forest Health specialist, Oshkosh;
Bill.McNee@wisconsin.gov or 920-360-0942

Photo showing woodpecker damage on an ash tree trunk, an early sign the tree might be infested with emerald ash borer.

Woodpecker damage is an early sign an ash tree might be infested with emerald ash borer. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages property owners to watch for woodpecker damage to their ash trees this winter. If damage is found, property owners should make plans to take action in the spring.

Woodpecker damage, often called “flecking,” happens when birds peck away some of a tree’s bark to access the larvae underneath. Flecking is a common early sign that an ash tree might be infested with emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive insect. EAB is the most damaging threat to Wisconsin trees, killing more than 99% of the untreated ash trees it infests.

Continue reading “Woodpecker Damage On Ash Trees May Indicate Emerald Ash Borer”

Forest Health Forecast For 2024

Paul Cigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist, Hayward;
Paul.Cigan@wisconsin.gov or 715-416-4920

An aerial photo of oak and aspen forests showing heavy defoliation from spongy moth.

Oak and aspen forests with heavy defoliation from spongy moth. Additional defoliation coupled with ongoing drought in the upcoming 2024 growing season is expected to put significant stress on affected forests. / Photo Credit: Paul Cigan, Wisconsin DNR

Maintaining a healthy and productive forest often requires — more than ever before — a working knowledge of how to anticipate, prevent and mitigate environmental stressors that threaten to undermine it. The list of stressors includes drought, impact of forest insects and diseases.

In a recent and timely article, Denise Thornton of My Wisconsin Woods taps the expansive knowledge of the DNR’s Forest Health team and a state climatologist to bring focus to the threats facing forests this year.

She also lists steps that can be taken to ensure health and proactivity are maintained in your forests.

Bronze Birch Borer Attacks Stressed Birch

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

Photo of a white birch tree with its top half dying from bronze birch borer attack.

Bronze birch borer has attacked these trees, and parts of the tree above the attack site are thin and declining. / Photo Credit: Linda Williams, Wisconsin DNR

Bronze birch borer (Agrilus anxius) is a native beetle that attacks birch trees. As adults emerge from the bark, they create small, D-shaped exit holes, similar to emerald ash borer but smaller.

Bronze birch borer attacks stressed trees, and the source of the stress can be anything from drought, flooding, defoliation or old age.

Continue reading “Bronze Birch Borer Attacks Stressed Birch”

Don’t Let Japanese Barberry ‘Tick’ You Off

By Erika Segerson-Mueller, DNR Invasive Plant Program Specialist, Oshkosh Service Center;
erika.segersonmueller@wisconsin.gov or 715-492-0391

Photo showing Japanese barberry quickly growing into a dense infestations in a forest.

Japanese barberry can quickly grow into dense infestations in forests, outcompeting native plants and providing ideal hiding places for white-footed mice that serve as hosts for blacklegged ticks. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

Most small talk in Wisconsin revolves around three things: the weather, the Green Bay Packers … and in the summer months, how darn bad the ticks are.

If you spend time working or playing outside, you likely know firsthand that ticks in Wisconsin are serious business. Because most of us prefer to minimize our interactions with the tiny arachnids, here’s another tick prevention tactic to add to your arsenal — along with clothing treated with permethrin, long socks and frequent tick checks: Rid your property of Japanese barberry.

Continue reading “Don’t Let Japanese Barberry ‘Tick’ You Off”