Snowy Owls are Back

 

Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus)

snowy owl

Snowy owls rank among the most charismatic wildlife species in the world. The heaviest of all North American owls, tipping the scales at 3 to 6 pounds, their bright white plumage, large yellow eyes, massive feathered feet and diurnal tendencies appeal to even the most casual nature lover. Equally appealing to some are their unpredictable movement patterns and the remote arctic wilderness they represent.

As their name suggests snowy owls are generally a northern species, nesting worldwide on the treeless tundra above the Arctic Circle. During a typical winter some remain close to their breeding areas while others head south into southern Canada and the northern United States. At least small numbers reach Wisconsin each year. Every handful of years, however, large numbers move into the state, an event known as an “irruption”.

Learn about the Snowy Owls visiting Wisconsin.

Boxwood Wreaths Warning

Plant Health Experts: Don’t Compost Those Boxwood Wreaths

Contact:   Donna Gilson (608) 224-5130, donna.gilson@wi.gov
                Bill Cosh, Communications Director, (608) 224-5020, William2.Cosh@wi.gov

MADISON – If you’re decorating with boxwood wreaths or boughs this holiday season, watch where you place them and be sure to dispose of them properly when January rolls around.

“If you decorate with boxwood, keep it away from boxwood or Pachysandra plantings in your yard,” says Brian Kuhn, director of the Plant Industry Bureau in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “At the end of the season, don’t compost the decorations. Place them in sealed plastic bags and put them in your garbage.”

The reason to take these precautions is boxwood blight, a fungal disease found in Wisconsin for the first time this past July. Although it’s been detected in only one nursery in southeastern Wisconsin, boxwood decorations may come from other states that have the disease. State plant health officials are on the lookout and would like holiday decorators to do the same. [Read more…]

Qualified Charitable Distributions from your Individual Retirement Account

If you are over 70 ½ years old you are required to take money out of your individual retirement account (IRA). Normally when you take money out of your IRA this becomes a taxable event and raises your adjusted gross income. If you intend to give this money to charity, your taxable income is reduced by the amount of the gift after the donation. However, your adjusted gross income remains higher.

A way around this is through a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). [Read more…]

Brush Piles for Wildlife

Have you ever watched a startled rabbit dart across your yard and
suddenly disappear as if by magic? No magic. Chances are the wily
critter escaped into a strategically located den or tangled grove. You
can create this kind of habitat—“rabbitat” if you will—by building
brush piles. When you do, you’ll find that brush piles are important for
many other kinds of wildlife too…. (read more)

Leaf-browning on white and burr oaks

During late August and September of this year, Forest Health staff received several comments about problems with white and burr oaks. (read more…)

Oak branch tips laying on the ground this fall

Forest health specialists in the northern part of the state recently received reports of oak trees suddenly losing branch tips (complete with attached leaves). (read more…)

Celebrate Wisconsin Forest Products Week

Wisconsin has 17.1 million acres of forestland covering nearly half of the state and is home to more than 1,200 forest products companies producing a variety of products that we use daily. In recognition of the importance of forest products to Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker proclaimed the third week of October (October 21-27, 2018) as Wisconsin Forest Products Week.

The proclamation encourages citizens to recognize the many products that come from forests and the people and businesses that work in and care for forests. Forest businesses and organizations are encouraged to host an event or open house to commemorate this event. For ideas or suggestions or to learn more about hosting an event, please contact a member of the DNR forest products team.

Let’s celebrate Wisconsin’s diverse forest products sector during Forest Products Week on October 21-27, 2018!

Emerald Ash Borer Detected in Kewaunee County for 1st Time

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has detected emerald ash borer for the first time in Kewaunee County. This is the second new county detection of 2018 for Wisconsin.  On August 15, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources employee noticed infested trees along Rangeline Road, extending into portions of the Town of Carlton and the Town of Franklin, in a 1- by 1.5-mile area in southern Kewaunee County. On August 23, a resident reported to the DNR infested trees in a rural woodlot in the Town of Casco. 

 To date, DATCP has found EAB in 50 of the state’s 72 counties. The entire state is now part of the federally quarantined area.

Wild Cucumber Growing on Trees

Flowering wild cucumber covering a dead spruce tree.

Anyone who has driven down a country road or even on an interstate in Wisconsin recently has likely seen a white-flowered vine creeping up into the trees. While you may be concerned about the fate of the trees, we have good news. The plant in question is the native wild cucumber vine and it doesn’t present a serious threat to most trees or shrubs. It is flourishing this summer with the excess rain, and is prominent right now statewide, but the vine is an annual plant and will die back in fall.

If you have wild cucumber vine on your property and want to attempt to control it, you can cut it off near the ground and the rest will die. Pulling the vine off of trees could cause damage to the trees. The plant can reseed itself. So, next spring when the plants are still small they can be controlled more readily by pulling the small seedlings out at the root. For more information, check out the Wisconsin Master Gardener page: https://wimastergardener.org/article/wild-cucumber-echinocystis-lobata/

Become a Tree Seed Collector

The WDNR Reforestation Program continues to purchase seed from private collectors. Over the years, seedling demands have changed; thus, so does the need for seed.  In 2018, WDNR will be purchasing seeds for the following species: butternut, cherry- black and choke, balsam fir, hackberry, American hazelnut, eastern hemlock, hickory- bitternut & shagbark, sugar (hard) maple, oak- bur, red, southern pin, swamp white, and white, red pine, American plum, spruce- black and white, tamarack, and black walnut. 

Please read the following information carefully to understand changes in 2018. 

Before collecting any seed, please contact the nursery first to ensure purchasing is still open for species you intend to collect.

Nursery staff can assist with species identification. If you have any questions, call the nursery before you begin to collect seed!