Sauk Prairie Bald Eagle Watching Days Jan. 18-19

MADISON – Bald eagle lovers can watch up to three rehabilitated eagles released to the wild, see other eagles perching or soaring above the Wisconsin River, and view eagles up close indoors during live raptor shows as the 33rd annual Bald Eagle Watching Days lands Jan. 18-19 in Sauk Prairie. (read more…)

New Farm Bill: What’s in it for Forestry?

President Trump recently signed the new Farm Bill which lasts through 2023 and reauthorizes $400 billion in agricultural subsidies, food stamps, conservation programs and key safety programs for agricultural producers.  While the bill deals primarily with food and farm issues, there are a several significant that directly influence forest owners. (read more…)

Evergreen Inspections Find New Insect Pest; Burn or Bag Decorations, Officials Say

 

Note:  High-resolution photo available: https://www.flickr.com/photos/widatcp/32486931208/in/dateposted/.

MADISON – Plant health officials are cautioning consumers to burn wreaths and other evergreen decorations, or bag them and put them in the trash, after inspectors found invasive insects on many such items sold at large chain stores in Wisconsin this holiday season. 

Inspectors found an insect called elongate hemlock scale, or EHS, on wreaths, swags and boughs, and in arrangements of evergreen boughs in hanging baskets, porch pots, mugs, and sleighs. EHS saps nutrients as it feeds on the underside of conifer needles, and threatens Wisconsin’s Christmas tree farms, native hemlock and balsam fir forests, and ornamental conifers in yards and parks. 

“It’s fine to keep your decorations up for the holiday season, but when it’s time to dispose of them, don’t put them on the compost pile or set the greens out for brush collection. Burn them if you can. If you can’t do that, bag them and send them to the landfill,” advised Brian Kuhn, director of the Plant Industry Bureau in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “EHS has survived in the northeastern U.S., so winter weather will not kill it. As a result, if you compost this material, the insects may well attack conifers in your yard or neighborhood, and spread from there.” 

[Read more…]

Looking at Forest Fires from a forestry point of view

We have all heard about the terrible forest fires in the West in the past few years, and especially the Camp Fire in November 2018. Let’s look at forest fires from a forestry point of view. But before beginning, we do want to voice our cares and concerns for those who lost family and friends and to those that lost homes, belongings and a lifetime of irreplaceable items in the Camp Fire and all wildfires. (read more…)

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…)