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!

July 2018 Forest Health News

Click HERE to read more about the topics below:

  • Beech leaf disease
  • Balsam fir mortality around the state
  • Widespread crown dieback and delayed leaf-out of bur oak 
  • Defoliation of black cherry trees by cherry scallop shell moth
  • Fall webworms starting to appear
  • Defoliation by spruce budworm in NE Wisconsin
  • White pine bast scale and fungus
  • Aspen blotch miner caterpillars
  • Rose chafer an Japanese beetle populations 

Snapshot Wisconsin Opens Statewide

For four years, the wildlife monitoring program Snapshot Wisconsin has been bringing Wisconsin’s wildlife into homes and classrooms across the state. Bobcats, herons, elk and even flying squirrels have made appearances. It’s all happened without disturbing any dens or ruffling a single feather. That’s because Snapshot Wisconsin isn’t your typical wildlife monitoring program. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is using Snapshot Wisconsin to capture animals digitally using a statewide network of volunteer-hosted trail cameras.

Snapshot Wisconsin has grown from a pilot project to a 26-county network of wildlife-monitoring trail cameras. On August 9, Snapshot Wisconsin is launching statewide, with openings for volunteers in each of the state’s 72 counties.

“We couldn’t have gotten here without the help of our amazing volunteers. We’re thrilled to see what we can learn once we start seeing trail camera photos from every corner of the state,” said the program’s coordinator, Susan Frett.

Individuals and educators have signed up to host cameras and send in batch after batch of wildlife photos for classification on the project’s crowd-sourcing website, Zooniverse. The project currently has 1,012 volunteers monitoring 1,243 cameras, and together, they’ve taken more than 22 million photos of Wisconsin wildlife. It’s the largest volunteer-supported wildlife study that the state has ever seen, and it’s become a national leader in the emerging field of camera-based wildlife monitoring. [Read more…]

Boxwood Blight Found in Wisconsin for First Time

MADISON – Boxwood blight, a serious fungal disease that attacks a popular garden shrub, has been found in Wisconsin for the first time at a nursery grower in Kenosha County, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced today.

Department nursery inspectors found it during a routine annual inspection and sent samples for laboratory testing. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed July 19 that the samples carried a fungus that causes boxwood blight. This fungus can also infect Pachysandra

Boxwood and Pachysandra are common in home and public gardens. Boxwood is used for hedges and foundation plantings, and in holiday decorations. Pachysandra is a groundcover. 

“We commend the grower for their close cooperation, hard work and willingness to take measures to prevent and control any further spread,” said Brian Kuhn, director of the department’s Bureau of Plant Industry. “We have a number of large nursery operations that grow the plant for wholesale and landscaping sales. This disease threatens our nursery industry and landscaping industries, as well as consumers.” 

The fungus causes brown spots on the plant’s leaves. The spots enlarge until they merge and the leaves drop off. Black lesions also form on the plant’s woody stems. It thrives in warm, humid conditions. It is most often spread by moving infected plants, but may also be carried on garden tools, clothing, and vehicles. Even when infected plants are removed, reproductive spores may remain in the soil for up to 6 years. While fungicides may help prevent the disease, they cannot cure it. Once infected, plants and leaf litter must be burned, buried at least 2 feet deep, or double-bagged and landfilled.  [Read more…]

Fall Webworms Start Making An Appearance

Fall webworms typically form nests of loose webbing over the tips of tree branches. A rake or pole may also be used to roll up nests and remove them from the tree. Detached nests should be placed in a container of soapy water overnight to drown caterpillars. - Photo credit: DNR

[photo credit: WDNR]

MADISON–Web-like nests of fall webworm caterpillars, a common native pest active from July through September in Wisconsin, are beginning to appear in parts of the state.

“Fall webworms are rarely large enough to cause lasting damage to trees, but the presence of nests and feeding damage from caterpillars can greatly affect how the tree looks,” says Todd Lanigan, forest health specialist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The fall webworm (Hyphantrea cunea) feeds on leaves of almost all shade, fruit, and ornamental trees and shrubs, except for conifers, throughout most of the U.S. and southern Canada. They typically form nests of loose webbing over the tips of tree branches.

“Trees typically recover from feeding damage on their own, but defoliation for more than two or three years in a row could make trees more susceptible to diseases and other problems,” he says.

If intervention becomes necessary, one of the easiest ways to manage fall webworms is to simply tear open the nests with a rake or pole. [Read more…]

2018 NRCS Conservation Local Work Group Meeting Schedule Announced

Madison, Wis. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Wisconsin has announced the schedule for 2018 Local Working Group (LWG) meetings. Eighteen meetings will be held across Wisconsin in August to gather input and help set priorities for U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs under the Farm Bill.

“Local Working Groups offer a seat at the table for interested individuals and groups to advise NRCS on how best to set priorities and locally implement conservation programs,” said Angela Biggs, Wisconsin State Conservationist. “Members are diverse, with an interest and focus on local agriculture and various natural resource issues,” added Biggs. Farmers representing a variety of crops and livestock raised within the local area, private woodland owners, representatives of agricultural and environmental organizations, and representatives of other agriculture and natural resource agencies are welcome and should be represented.

Wisconsin LWGs represent two or more counties grouped together by geography, similar land use, resources, and type of agriculture. See a map of Local Working Groups. This will allow greater flexibility and access to funding for the groups.

One of the main programs discussed at the meetings will be the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a federal conservation program that helps agricultural producers in a manner that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. EQIP offers technical and financial assistance to help landowners with needed conservation practices for water quality, soil health, wildlife and other natural resources. The program was re-authorized through 2018 in the federal Farm Bill, which was passed in February 2014.

[Read more…]

First Ever Reported Death From Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Wisconsin

A La Crosse woman in her late 50s died from Rocky Mountain Spotted (RMSF) fever in June. She was bit while camping in western Wisconsin in early May. RMSF is considered rare in the Midwest and is more common in central and southeastern regions of the United States. It is spread by the wood (or American dog) tick, whereas most tickborne diseases transmitted in Wisconsin are spread by the deer (or blacklegged) tick. [Read more…]

Forest Fest 2018

 Bring Your Family For A Day Of Fun, Celebrate The Logging Industry And Its History At Forest Fest

EAGLE RIVER, Wis. – Trees For Tomorrow (TFT), an accredited natural resources specialty school in Eagle River, WI invites the public to celebrate Wisconsin’s forests during its 8th annual Forest Fest on Saturday, July 28, 2018. This is a free family fun day that takes place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Trees For Tomorrow’s campus in the heart of Eagle River.

Learn about the ecology of our forests and see how the modern forestry industry helps to sustain them with equipment demos. Tour an interactive native village, take a horse-drawn wagon ride, fish for live trout, try your hand at papermaking and crosscut sawing, see if you can light a match with a hatchet and meet the forest’s spokesperson, Smokey Bear. [Read more…]