Got Nature? Blog

Posted on June 15th, 2016 in Forestry, Invasive Plant Species | No Comments »

callerpear_buttonPurdue Extension-FNR now has another expert-reviewed video to help spread awareness of invasive plant species in Indiana. This video discusses the callery pear, an exotic tree from East Asia that is moving from ornamental plantings to fields and woodlands.

Check out Invasive Plant Species: Callery Pear to learn how to identify the callery pear and how you can join the fight to stop it from spreading further. To learn more about invasive plant species, check out the videos covering oriental bittersweet and wintercreeper, or visit the Invasive Species section of the Purdue Extension website.

Resources:
Invasive Plant Species: Callery Pear – The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Invasive Plant Species: Oriental Bittersweet – The Education Store
Invasive Plant Species: Wintercreeper – The Education Store
Invasive Species – Purdue Extension
Indiana’s “Most Unwanted” Invasive Plant Pest List – Indiana Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) Program

Danny Thomas, Purdue Extension-FNR intern
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

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


ziptrip video

Purdue zipTrips – Plant Science: The Green Machine (High School)

Purdue zipTrips offer a new and unique way to learn in the classroom. Students engage with Purdue scientists through a live webcast and are taken through “virtual electronic field trips” of labs, greenhouses, and other interesting Purdue facilities. After each live event, the webcast is archived and can be viewed online. ZipTrips covers a variety of topics, including genetics, nutrition, diseases, and more. One zipTrip that may be of particular interest to those thinking of joining the field of forestry and natural resources is all about plant science.

Plant science isn’t just growing plants! There are enormous problems facing an increasingly complicated world including: invasive species; genetically modified organisms; climate change; and feeding an increasing world population. These are just a few of the many issues plant scientists are working on. Check out “Plant Sciences: The Green Machine (High School)” highlighting Forestry and Natural Resources Mike Jenkins, associate professor of forest ecology, and Jeff Dukes, professor of biological Sciences and director of Purdue Climate Change Research Center, to learn about the incredible diversity in the field of plant science — everything from invasive species to GMOs to the carbon cycle and climate change.

To check out other zipTrips or register for the next trip, visit the zipTrips website. Archived zipTrips can also be viewed on Purdue Agriculture’s zipTrip Youtube playlist.

Resources:
Plant Sciences: The Green Machine (High School) – Purdue Agriculture
Plant Sciences Initiative – Purdue Agriculture
Invasive Species – Purdue Extension
Indy Star shares article on backyard bullies, invasive plant species – Got Nature?
Plant Science II – The Education Store (Purdue Extension Resource Center)

Purdue Agriculture


Ornamental plants provide many environmental and ecological benefits to landscapes and urban areas. They can be aesthetically pleasing, reduce stormwater Invasive Plant Species, pear treerunoff, lower carbon dioxide and pollutants, alleviate the urban “heat island” effect, and provide habitats to pollinators, birds, and mammals. Unfortunately, a few of these landscape species can escape into wild areas and create ecological problems in unintended areas such as forests and woodlands.

The Indy Star shares article titled, “Bradford pears and other backyard bullies to avoid in Indiana” listing some of the invasive species that are taking over Indiana woodlands. If you are planning on adding trees or shrubs to your property this spring, you will want to view this article before planting.

Author:
Cara Anthony, cara.anthony@indystar.com
Release date of article April 2, 2016.
IndyStar

Resources from The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center:
Commercial Greenhouse and Nursery Production: Alternative Options for Invasive Landscape Plants
Invasive Plant Species in Hardwood Tree Plantations
Invasive Plant Species Fact Sheets: Poison Hemlock
Mile-a-minute Vine
Native Trees of the Midwest
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest: Identification, Wildlife Values, and Landscaping Use

Videos:
Invasive Plant Species: Callery Pear
Invasive Plant Species: Oriental Bittersweet
Invasive Plant Species: Wintercreeper


Posted on March 8th, 2016 in Invasive Plant Species, Plants | No Comments »

Oriental Bittersweet videoPurdue Extension-FNR now has two new expert-reviewed videos to help spread awareness of two significant invasive plant species in Indiana: the oriental bittersweet  and wintercreeper. These videos share plant characteristics, their effect on forests, and alternative native species that can be utilized.

Oriental bittersweet is a vine that was brought over from Asia in the 1960’s. It is a pleasant looking plant that is popular in landscaping and home decor items. However, they can be harmful to trees as they wrap around them and cut off their access to light and are also problematic on the forest floor.

Wintercreeper was brought over as an ornamental ground cover in 1907 and is still planted for landscaping today. As birds eat its seeds, wintercreeper spreads from urban areas into the forests where it grows earlier in the spring than native plants and prevents new growth from emerging.Wintercreeper video

Check out the oriental bittersweet and wintercreeper videos to learn more about these invasive species and to how to join the fight to stop them from spreading further.

Resources:
Invasive Plants of the Eastern U.S.: An Introduction to the Problematic Non-Native Species – The Education Store
Invasive Plants – Purdue University, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
Invasive Plants – Indiana Invasive Species Council
Purdue Extension-FNR Internship Program – Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Danny Thomas, Purdue Extension-FNR intern
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

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


Posted on March 1st, 2016 in Invasive Plant Species | No Comments »

SICIMSouthern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management (SICIM) is holding its annual meeting on March 8th from 9:30 to 3:30 at the Spring Mill State Park. This year’s keynote speaker will be Lisa Brush, Executive Director and co-founder of The Stewardship Network. Join us for a day dedicated to celebrating the power of partnerships and a ‘how to’ develop local CWMAs and conservation groups though partnerships, projects, and shared vision. MC IRIS and Brown County Native Woodlands Project, both county level CWMAs, will also share their stories, challenges, and successes.

Registration is $25 and includes a lunch. Please check out the SICIM website for more information, and for further questions contact SICIM at sicim.info@gmail.com or Cheryl Coon at ccoon@fs.fed.us.

Resources:
Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management (SICIM)
Registration – SICIM
Invasive Species – Purdue Extension
Invasive Plant Species in Hardwood Tree Plantations – The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
2016 Weed Control Guide for Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois – The Education Store


Purdue Boat

Photo credit: Tom Campbell

As boats enter and exit public bodies of water, they risk transferring aquatic plants, mussels or invertebrates that attach themselves to the bottom of the boat. While this might seem pretty harmless at first, this spreading of aquatic species runs the risk of introducing invasive species into new environments.

Invasive species cause harm to local ecosystems by reproducing exponentially when they are outside of their usual habitat and the organisms that keep their populations in check. They can then cause great damage by feeding on local species and the food they depend on. Once an invasive species is detected, it is oftentimes very expensive and difficult to control. For example, around 1991, the U.S. and Canada spent an estimated $20 million per year to control invasive sea lampreys and restore the trout populations that were damaged by them. In Indiana alone, we spend around $800,000 a year to attempt to control the growth of Eurasian watermilfoil, another nuisance invasive species.

In an attempt to avoid more cases like this in the future, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (INDNR) is looking for help. Volunteers can sign up to record information about boats and their potential aquatic hitchhikers entering and leaving lakes during times of heavy use. The DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife can take this data and use it for public outreach and planning species management.

Those interested are highly encouraged to sign up on INDNR’s Volunteer Program page.

Resources
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), Indiana Department of Natural Resources
DNR Seeks Help Gathering Info on Spread of Aquatic Species, WSBT22
Indiana Invasive Species Council, Purdue Entomology Extension
Invasive Plants, Purdue Agriculture Weed Science
The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center (search “invasive”)

Indiana Department of Natural Resources


Tree of Heaven Seedling

Tree-of-heaven seedling

​Invasive plant species threaten many habitats including forests across Indiana. The introduced Asian tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) is one of these aggressive and troublesome invaders. Tree-of-heaven grows very quickly on a wide variety of sites from seed and sprouts and can rapidly out-compete native trees and shrubs. There are areas in Indiana forests already dominated by this unwelcome invader. Controlling large infestations of this tree can be very expensive and even dangerous. The sap and wet sawdust of this tree can trigger an allergic reaction in some people.

There is some hope on the horizon. Research work done by the U.S. Forest Service and universities in Pennsylvania and Ohio has identified a fungus that can kill tree-of-heaven and has minimal or no impact on surrounding plants. Verticillium nonalfalfae or Ailanthus verticillium wilt is a soil fungus that has been identified so far in Pennsylvania and Ohio that can rapidly kill large patches of tree-of-heaven. Tests with this naturally occurring soil fungus have shown it to be very effective at killing tree-of-heaven without having significant impacts on surrounding native plants.

This naturally-occurring killer of tree-of-heaven could be an important tool in managing this invasive problem in Indiana. The quickest way to get started with natural bio-control of tree-of-heaven is to locate the fungus here in Indiana. Citizens and resource professionals can help us locate ailanthus verticullium wilt by identifying patches of tree-of-heaven that are being impacted by the fungus. This requires familiarity with the identification of both tree-of-heaven and the symptoms of the wilt disease on the tree.

Tree of Heaven Closeup

Close-up of the “teeth” on the leaves of tree-of-heaven

Tree of Heaven has long, compound leaves resembling sumac or black walnut but possessing small notches or teeth at the base of the leaflets. The plant parts have a very unpleasant burnt nut odor when crushed or bruised. The bark is smooth and grey with light grey or white fissures running vertically in the bark. Twigs are very stout with a light tan spongy pith in the center.

Ailanthus wilt causes rapid death of the tree, often within one season, so look for patches of tree-of-heaven where most trees are showing wilting foliage or are already dead. The mortality will often be radiating out from a central group of dead or dying trees. Trees with wilt will have a yellow to yellow-brown discoloration of the wood directly beneath the bark. Healthy tree-of-heaven will have nearly white wood under the bark. The mortality will almost always be groups of trees, not scattered individuals. Several resources are included below to help you identify tree-of-heaven and ailanthus wilt.

If you encounter what you think is ailanthus wilt in Indiana, please contact:
Lenny Farlee, Hardwood Ecosystem Extension Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources
Email: lfarlee@purdue.edu
Phone: 765-494-2153

Joanne Rebbeck, Plant Physiologist
USFS, Northern Research Station
Email: jrebbeck@fs.fed.us
Phone: 740-368-0054

Resources
Ailanthus Verticillium Wilt Photoguide, United States Department of Agriculture
Tree-of-heaven Images, Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health
Scientists Using Fungi to Stop an Invader​, The Columbus Dispatch
Ailanthus and Verticillium nonalfalfae Research, USDA Forest Service
Invasive Species, Purdue Extension​
The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center (search “invasive”)

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


Pond Nature Scene​Indiana DNR (INDNR) has been awarded nearly $500,000 in grants for its Lake and River Enhancement program. This huge initiative to fight against invasive aquatic vegetation is spread among 36 projects covering 13 counties and 55 lakes. The largest of these projects is the Tippecanoe Lake Chain project, an effort including Tippecanoe, James and Oswego lakes in Kosciusko County and totaling $31,500 of work. Specifically targeted with INDNR’s newly-aquired grant are Eurasian watermilfoil, curly-leaf pondweed and starry stonewort, all non-native species that can be problematic as they take over lakes. The program aims to improve the aquatic habitat as well as recreational activities like fishing and boating. To learn more about this program, please visit the INDNR website.

​Resources
Lake & River Enhancement Program, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
​Indiana DNR to Use Grant Money in Fight Against Invasive Aquatic Vegetation in State’s Lakes, Fox28
Aquatic Plant Management, The Education Store
Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources, Purdue FNR Extension (search ‘aquatics’ in the search field)​
Aquaponics Video​, Purdue FNR Extension
Indiana Department of Natural Resources


Commercial Greenhouse and Nursery Production: Alternative Options for Invasive Landscape Plants​Ornamental plants provide many environmental and ecological benefits to landscapes and urban areas. They can be aesthetically pleasing, reduce stormwater runoff, lower carbon dioxide and pollutants, alleviate the urban “heat island” effect and provide habitats to pollinators, birds and mammals. And in the last 20 years, consumers and the general public have become much more aware of these benefits.The urban environment is different than most locations in a plant’s native range. It is an ecosystem unlike any other due to extreme environmental pressures, so landscapers and homeowners must use a wide range of plant material that will survive in these unique and often harsh environments. Horticulturalists have continued to discover and introduce plants to broaden the plant palette. Unfortunately, a few of these landscape species can escape into wild areas and create ecological problems in unintended areas such as forests and woodlands. In Indiana, a few frequently used landscape plant species have invaded these natural areas and are displacing native species.

For these reasons, the green industry must begin to produce and use different landscape plants that can replace the invasive species. This publication lists potential alternatives to some of the most notorious and damaging invasive plants in Indiana.

For a free download of the full publication, visit Commercial Greenhouse and Nursery Production: Alternative Options for Invasive Landscape Plants.

Resources
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest: Identification, Wildlife Values, and Landscaping Use, The Education Store
FNR/Purdue Extension YouTube Video Playlist, Asian Bush Honeysuckle, Burning Bush and Multiflora Rose
Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory (PPDL) (Send in samples or photos)

Lindsey Purcell​, Urban Forestry Specialist
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University

Rosie Lerner, Extension Consumer Horticulturist
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University


Providing timely information to woodland owners and other rural landowners can be a challenging task. Developing partnerships is an important way that Purdue helps meet this challenge. One of our best steward.JPGexamples is the Woodland Steward Institute, a 23-year partnership among many member organizations, whose purpose is to promote the wise use of Indiana’s forest resources. The primary way the Institute achieves its mission is through The WOODland Steward, a 16-page, two-color publication that includes information on forest stewardship and health, wildlife habitat and management, invasive species, forest policy, pests and diseases, and much more. Three issues are printed and mailed to about 32,000 forest owners throughout the state each year.

The latest issue is now available online. Visitors can also browse or search for past articles and issues. Articles in the current issue include:

  • 2014 Timber Price Report
  • Calendar of Events
  • Regeneration Cutting on Private Woodlands
  • MyLandPlan.org
  • Water Bar for Continuous Road Use
  • Forestry Best Management Practices
  • Invasive Species: Best Management Practices – Part 1
  • Ask the Steward
  • Days Gone By

The WOODland Steward is a unique and high-quality resource for Indiana. Subscribers think enough of it that they donate money to the Institute which pays for the printing and mailing of one issue each year. In a recent survey of readers, 54 percent regularly utilize information from the Steward, and 51 percent, who own an estimated 1.2 million acres of woodlands, have implemented at least one practice they learned from The WOODland Steward.

Anyone can subscribe to the electronic version of the newsletter here. If you wish, you may also sign up to receive a printed version by sending your name and mailing address to me at macgowan@purdue.edu.

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


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