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!

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…]