Got Nature? Blog

The tax filing due date is closing in. If you have not already done so, it is time to collect information and plan for your return. Woodland owners may be able to take advantage of some parts of the tax code to reduce their bill if they know what to look for, how to file and how to receive the best treatment of their income under the law. Several resources are available to help you drill down to those parts of the code that could provide you with some tax breaks.

Sale of Timber
For those who have sold timber in 2018, depending on your individual situation, you may be able to deduct the costs associated with selling timber and the cost basis of the harvested timber from gross income. Basis is the amount you paid for the timber when you purchased the land or the value of the timber when you inherited it. Since timberland is normally sold at a value per acre combining both the bare land and timber value, some information on the amount and value of standing timber needs to be collected and some calculations done to determine basis. A professional forester can help you collect this information and calculate your basis.

The best time to figure timber basis is when the land is purchased or inherited, but a forester can help you determine timber basis years after the property was acquired. Since basis represents the value at the time of acquisition, as the years pass and the trees grow, basis becomes a smaller percentage of the total timber value for the property. The basis for gifted properties is normally the basis of the person making the gift. The basis for inherited properties is recalculated to the value of the land and timber at the time of the inheritance. This provides an opportunity for families to pass appreciated timberland to heirs with a stepped-up basis representing the growth in value over that ownership period. If the heirs decide to have a harvest after that date, they have a significant basis value to apply against income, reducing income tax liability.
Timber Stacked and Chopped up

Tree Planting for Timber Production
Costs associated with planting at least one acre of trees for timber production may be eligible for deductions that could reduce your tax bill. Taxpayers may deduct up to $10,000 ($5,000 for married couples filing separately) per year of reforestation costs per qualified timber property. Any amount over $10,000 per year per qualified timber property may be deducted (amortized) over a period of 84 months.

The tax rules pertaining to timber management and tree planting are dependent on the personal use, investment, or business status of your property and your individual circumstances. Foresters and tax advisors familiar with rules for timberlands can help you develop an appropriate tax management approach.

The National Timber Tax website is a clearinghouse for information related to understanding and managing the taxation of timberlands and tree plantations, as well as changes to the tax laws. Visit  National Timber Tax to see how the resources and tools on this site may help you manage your taxes.

The information in this article is intended to help you find resources to answer tax questions but should not be considered individual tax advice. Consult appropriate tax codes and professionals about your individual circumstances.

Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for the 2018 Tax Year

Find a professional forester

Resources:
Financial and Tax Aspects of Tree Planting, The Education Store
How to Treat Timber Sale Income, The Education Store
Determining Tax Basis of Timber, The Education Store
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store

Lenny D Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Kristol in Tippicanoe county sent in question to the Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources experts (Ask an ExpertGarden) asking what resources are available to help with landscaping for a front yard and sidewalk area that accumulates water after a hard rain. She also asked for resources to improve drainage.

Purdue Extension has several articles and resources to help with this type of situation.

The resources in our Rainscaping and Master Gardeners Program shares several neat options:
Rain Gardens Go with the Flow, Indiana Yard and Garden, Purdue Horticulture
Rainscaping Program
Master Gardeners Program

Don’t miss the publications located in the Purdue Extension resource center, The Education Store, relating to the topic:
Tree Installation: Process and Practices
Planting Forest Trees and Shrubs in Indiana
Climate Change: How will you manage stormwater runoff?

For Midwest Landscapes, have a look at the Purdue Landscape Report:
Purdue Landscape Report

Try this app developed by experts at Purdue University to with tree identification and tree problems caused by a variety of factors:
Tree Doctor, Purdue Extension-The Education Store

Check out upcoming workshops available for land and woodland owners, to talk with an expert:
Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources Calendar

Check out our Got Nature? posts as well, as this is always a great resource for new information:
Got Nature?, Forestry and Natural Resources-Purdue Extension

These resources give you lots of options that match what your looking for along with experts in the field to contact if needed.

We always appreciate the questions coming in, so keep them coming. Our experts will respond quickly and give you the guidance you need for your next steps.

Diana Evans, Extension Information Coordinator
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


Not sure when hunting season starts for you? This year’s Indiana Department of Natural Resources Hunting and Trapping Open Season Schedule is now available. Below are a few of the dates in each game category when season opens. See PDF for full list of dates and details Hunting Season (pdf)

For license information, youth hunting information, private land permission form and more check out IDNR Hunting and Trapping.

Hunting Season Open

Handling Harvested Game, FNR-555-WV, video

Click the image to be redirected to Handling Harvested Game.

Furbearers
Red and Gray Fox, October 15

Woodland Big Game
Deer Youth, September 28

Woodland Small Game
Gray and Fox Squirrel, August 15

Upland Game
Pheasant, November 1

Miscellaneous Game
Crow, July 1

Hunting Season (pdf)

Resources
Handling Harvested Game: Field Dressing (Deer), The Education Store

Wild Bulletin E-newsletter, Division of Fish & Wildlife
Indiana Department of Natural Resources


Woodland owners interested in learning more about the ecology and management of their woodlands may enroll in this Purdue Extension course providing eight weekly meetings and two half-day Saturday field tours. Topics covered include tree identification, forest biology, management planning and practices, economics and financial aspects of woodland ownership, marketing timber, wildlife management, and where to find information and assistance. Participants will be provided with a flash drive containing over 100 reference publications, a tree measuring stick, and additional handout materials at each meeting. Registration is $50 for individuals and $30 for each additional family member.
Forest trees
Dates: Thursdays March 7 to April 25
Time: 6 to 9 pm
Location: Vermillion County Fairgrounds, Cayuga, IN

You can find additional program details and registration information by viewing the Purdue Extension-FNR Calendar. For any questions feel free to contact Lenny Farlee, Extension Forester at lfarlee@purdue.edu or call him at 765 494-2153.

Resources
New Issue of Indiana Woodland Steward now Available, Got Nature? Purdue Extension FNR
Tax Information For Woodland Owners, Got Nature? Purdue Extension FNR
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources Department


This looks to be shaping up as a tough winter for us and our trees. Lots of snow and ice are predicted for the Hoosier state and this can be a challenge for our trees and shrubs.

After a heavy snowfall, protect your trees and property with these simple tips:

Heavy limbs

Limbs bending from ice loading.

Ice on Trees

Ice accretion on hawthorn branches.

Do not shake limbs to try to remove snow or ice.
When you find your trees are bending or drooping as a result of ice or snow accumulation, your first instinct is probably to shake the branches or knock the weight off with a broom or something similar. This may cause worse damage or actually cause the branch to snap off. Stop right there! Healthy tree branches are flexible, so knocking off the accumulation of snow or ice accretion may cause them to “snap” back, potentially damaging their food and water transport system. The results of the damage may not be evident until next spring.

Trees that tend to suffer the worst damage as a result of snow and ice are upright evergreens, like arborvitae and juniper, and clump trees, like birch. And, when it comes to ice, age does not make a tree stronger; younger trees are better at actually overcoming damage in ice storms.

Hire a Professional.

Snow on Trees

Snow weighing down spruce branches.

Safely remove broken limbs.
Broken and hanging branches can be a threat to people and property. If a limb breaks off from the weight of ice or snow and remains in the tree canopy, have it removed and the remaining stub properly pruned to the branch collar as soon as weather allows. The tree will recover better when properly pruned. For undamaged limbs bending under the weight of ice or snow, don’t prune as a means of correcting the situation. Be patient. It takes time for wood fibers in the limbs to return to its natural position.

Always be mindful of walking or parking under branches loaded down by snow or ice as they may snap and fall, causing injury or damage. If a limb breaks and becomes entangled in power lines, notify your utility company immediately. Never approach a downed power line or a branch touching a utility line.

If there is substantial damage to your tree, have an arborist examine damaged branches and limbs for signs of weakness and injury for reparations. It is best to always hire an ISA Certified Arborist. To find an arborist in your area, visit the website, www.treesaregood.org

How can you help prevent ice damage to trees? Proper pruning is one way. Particularly important is the removal of poor branch attachments and weak branch structure in the tree, prior to winter. For more information on pruning, download the publication, Tree Pruning Essentials.

Full article published in the Purdue Landscape Report.

Resources
Avoid Deadly Risk of Dying Ash Trees with Timely Tree Removal, Got Nature? Purdue Extension-FNR
New Hope for Fighting Ash Borer, Got Nature? Purdue Extension-FNR
Invasive Pest Species: Tools for Staging and Managing EAB in the Urban Forest, Got Nature?
Emerald Ash Borer, Purdue Extension-Entomology
Emerald Ash Borer Cost Calculator – Purdue Extension Entomology
Corrective Pruning for Deciduous Trees, The Education Store, Extension Publications

Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


GroundhogGroundhogs are good at many things, said Brian MacGowan, Purdue University Extension wildlife specialist and Forestry and Natural Resources Extension coordinator, but predicting the weather definitely isn’t one of them.

The lore surrounding Groundhog Day originated in Germany where people used the reactions of badgers and hedgehogs to gauge weather patterns. When the tradition eventually migrated to America, Jarred Brooke, Extension wildlife specialist, said hedgehogs, which can be found throughout the United States, became the mammalian forecaster of choice.

“They’re crafty little critters,” McGowan explains, “which is why they’re found in so many different places. They’re habitat generalists and can live in open woodlands, grasslands, what have you.”

While MacGowan and Brooke agreed groundhogs don’t have a great track-record of weather prediction, other facts make groundhogs one of the more interesting members of the squirrel-family.

For full article see: Groundhogs can’t predict the weather but they do poop underground.

Resources:
Selecting a Nuisance Wildlife Control Professional – The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Preventing Wildlife Damage – Do You Need a Permit? – The Education Store
The Basics of Managing Wildlife on Agricultural Lands – The Education Store
Nuisance Wildlife – Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Dealing with nuisance geese this spring – Got Nature?
Animal Damage Management: Woodchucks, The Education Store

Brian MacGowan, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Purdue University, Forestry and Natural Resources

Jarred Brooke, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Purdue University, Forestry and Natural Resources


How do I remedy poor branching? Is my tree at risk of splitting, and how can pruning prevent that? Corrective pruning has many implications for tree structure, health, and longevity. Developing a strong, central branch structure in a deciduous tree is critical for preventing structural failure caused by storms, wind, and ice. This 8-page publication explains the problems resulting from a co-dominant stem structure and addresses pruning strategies for correcting poor structure.

To view this full publication please go to Corrective Pruning for Deciduous Trees located in The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center.

Resources
Preparations to Prevent Southwest Tree Injury, Got Nature? Blog
When do you stake a tree?, Got Nature? Blog
Top 5 List for Tree Selection and Planting, Got Nature? Blog
Tree Selection for the “Un-natural” Environment, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Tree Support Systems, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Tree Installation: Process and Practices, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Planting Your Tree Part 1: Choosing Your Tree, video, The Education Store, Purdue Extension

Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on November 8th, 2018 in Forestry, How To, Wildlife | No Comments »
Sandhill Cranes stopped at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area during fall migration. Photo: Indiana DNR

Sandhill Cranes stopped at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area during fall migration. Photo: Indiana DNR

The latest Wildlife Bulletin, provided by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources-Division of Fish and Wildlife, has all the Indiana hunting information you need to know along with upcoming events and resources. Topics include: Get your deer licenses now; Deer hunting checklist; Deer processing videos on YouTube; Hunting seasons dates; Four options to check in game; Sandhill crane migration at Jasper-Pulaski; and much more.

The Wild Bulletin is a free email newsletter offering information about Indiana’s fish and wildlife resources and recreation opportunities. Subjects covered include profiles, information about hunting and fishing season dates, regulation updates, wildlife and fisheries research status reports, tips on wildlife watching and reminders about important dates for Hoosier outdoor enthusiasts.

To subscribe to this free e-newsletter visit Wild Bulletin, Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Other resources:
State Parks, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR)
Outdoor Indiana, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR)
Deer YouTube Video List, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources and IN DNR

Indiana Department of Natural Resources


Posted on October 26th, 2018 in Forestry, Plants | No Comments »
Figure 1

Figure 1. Bark cracking due to Southwest injury.

The time is now to start protecting your trees!  Now that your ears are perked up, let’s talk a bit about Southwest injury on trees.

Bark cracking (Fig.1) is a phenomenon that occurs in many species of trees and can have many causes. One of the most common types of bark cracking is termed Southwest injury. Southwest injury occurs during the winter months on the lower section of the trunk on the southwest side. This happens when there is a sudden temperature drop, for example, the sun going behind a cloud during the winter. The freeze-thaw cycle happens very quickly when there is a change from very warm to cold conditions, which results in a crack. If there is a snow pack, the reflection of sunlight on the bark will actually increase the temperature in the bark.

Figure 2

Figure 2. Snow can increase the reflection of sunlight to the tree, thus increasing the likelihood of Southwest injury.

Usually Southwest injury occurs on thin-barked trees, such as Acer spp., Cercis spp., Malus spp., and many others (Fig. 3). A thin-barked tree lacks the amount of cork cells in thicker-barked trees, thus allowing the vascular tissue to be located very close to the bark.  Thick bark trees tend to be more resistant to cracking due to a greater lag in the freeze/thaw cycle. Trees that are under stress due to environmental factors, herbicide injury, and/or insect and disease are more susceptible to cracking.

No matter the initial cause of the crack, the common denominator of a crack in the bark is a pre-set wound. The freeze-thaw cycle during the cold months causes the point of injury to expand and contract. Like with your vehicle windshield, a small point of injury in bark will expand and contract due to sudden heating or cooling, thus causing a large crack.

Figure 3

Figure 3. Bark cracking on thin-barked species, such as maple, is common due to Southwest injury.

Any type of cracking that occurs, originates from a point of injury, such as a pruning or other mechanical injury. These are horizontal cracks that can range from <1” to the entire length of the trunk, though are usually localized near the bottom of the trunk (Fig. 4).

Once trees are greater than about four inch caliper, the likelihood of Southwest injury is diminished.  On trees four inches or less, tree guards (also called tree wraps) should be installed over each trunk.

White tree guards may help prevent this from occurring due to the reflection of the sun, preventing overheating on the bottom of the trunk (Fig. 5) In order to prevent cracking, try to prevent any type of mechanical damage that could cause cracking in the winter. Bark cracks become visible most often during the late winter/early spring. Tree guards should be removed in the spring, because the guards become a problem with disease due to moisture within the guard.

Figure 4

Figure 4. Southwest injury typically causes cracking up the trunk from close to the root flare

In some circumstances a healthy plant may heal, partitioning off the damaged area, but the bark on a plant under stress, due to drought, herbicide damage, etc., may last the entire life of the tree.

For full article, check out the Landscape Report

Figure 5

Figure 5. White tree guards can help minimize Southwest injury by reflecting sunlight. Joseph OBrien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org.

Resources
Trees and Storms, The Education Store
Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs, The Education Store
Why Hire an Arborist, The Education Store
Why Is My Tree Dying? The Education Store
Weeping Cherry Trees Appear to be Damaged or Dead. Was This Past Winter Hard on These Types of Trees?, Got Nature? Blog

Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on October 22nd, 2018 in Forestry, How To, Wildlife | No Comments »

Deer in woods.Hunting is an outdoor sport many enjoy while learning new skills, receiving fitness benefits and bringing healthy food options to their table. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program, reported 36,825 licences for 2017 as hunting continues to be a recognized and respected sport.

Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources has recently increased their resources for handling harvested game. This new video series shares step by step instructions starting with field dressing and continuing all the way through to packaging.

Video Series:
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 1, Field Dressing
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 2, Hanging & Skinning
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 3, Deboning
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 4, Cutting, Grinding & Packaging

Free handling harvested game workshops are held every year in September by Purdue Extension. If you would like to attend any of the available workshops please contact Jonathan Ferris, Wayne County Extension Director, or Dave Osborne, Ripley County Extension Director.  Feel free to view the Purdue Extension Calendar or the Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources’ Calendar for future scheduled workshops.

Other resources:
How to Score Your White-tailed Deer, video, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
White-Tailed Deer Post Harvest Collection, video, The Education Store
Age Determination in White-tailed Deer, video, The Education Store,
How to Build a Plastic Mesh Deer Exclusion Fence, The Education Store,
Bovine Tuberculosis in Wild White-tailed Deer, The Education Store,
Maine Hunting License and Rules, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

More resources with Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and Purdue Extension:
Deer Tips 5: Location, Location
Deer Tips 6: Etiquette
Deer Tips 7: Tracking
Deer Tips 8: After the Harvest
Deer Tips 9: Final Thoughts
Deer Processing 1: Skinning

Bob Cordes, Wildlife Biologist
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Brandon Fields, Meat Science Manager
Pig Improvement Company (PIC)

Rod N Williams, Engagement Faculty Fellow & Associate Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Got Nature?

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