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…]

Blue-Green Algae Bloom Season is Here

Webinar about the health risks to be held July 16

MADISON — Heavy rains and high temperature are fueling the growth of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, in water bodies around the state, so the Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources and Health Services are teaming up to present an informational webinar about the health risks of blue-green algae. Some blue-green algae can cause illnesses for people and animals who accidentally ingest or inhale it, or have prolonged skin contact with the algae.

The webinar will take place July 16 at noon. Participants can log on to learn more about blue-green algae and its health effects, how to differentiate blue-green algae from other algae, and ways to stay safe this summer when spending time on the water. People may participate through the DNR media website. [Read more…]

Floods in Northwestern Wisconsin will Result in Some Long-Term Closures at State Properties

Many properties across the north unaffected and remain open

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Heavy rains across northwestern Wisconsin in mid-June will result in some long-term closures of roads and other state facilities. Water has begun receding and state park and transportation officials have a better picture of repairs that will be needed at a number of properties. According to the National Weather Service the area has received 7 to 12 inches of rain from June 15-18. [Read more…]

Private Well Owners Encouraged to Check Wells After Recent Flooding in Northern Wisconsin

MADISON – Recent heavy rains in many northern Wisconsin counties have affected private property owners and state properties.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is offering the guidance below as many property owners will begin assessing damage, checking wells and septic systems and removing storm related debris. In particular, heavy rains can create conditions that affect private wells and drinking water. [Read more…]

WISCONSIN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT RELEASE: Northwestern Wisconsin Flooding

Absentee landowners may want to make time to head to their properties and check for any potential damage caused by these storms.

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Incident Report #3 – 06/19/18 4:00 pm

Recovery and assessment efforts are underway in northwestern Wisconsin, after historic flooding caused widespread damage to roads and properties across the region in recent days.

Governor Scott Walker has declared a state of emergency for Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, and Iron Counties. The governor has directed all state agencies to assist with the response to the flooding. He has also called members of the Wisconsin National Guard to active duty as Major General Don Dunbar, the state’s adjutant general, deems necessary. The governor viewed flood damage in the region on Monday evening and met with local officials who are leading the response.

Property owners in the northwest region who experienced flood damage should contact 2-1-1 to file a report. Information gathered will be passed on to county officials, as they work to assess damage done in their areas. [Read more…]

Marshfield Clinic Research Institute Lyme Disease Scientists Looking for Research Participants

Marshfield Clinic Research Institute (MCRI) is looking for patients suspected to be in the early stages of Lyme disease to aid in the research of the disease. The research is in participation with the Lyme Disease Biobank, a program that collects blood and urine samples of people with early Lyme disease in multiple regions across the country, including the East Coast, Wisconsin, and California. One of the ultimate goals is to help researchers develop a better diagnostic test for confirming the presence of Lyme disease and in turn improve patient care. Participants will be compensated for participating. See more information in this press release.