Got Nature? Blog

The bright, crisp colors of summer begin to fade with the arrival of fall, revealing a riot of new colors on our foliage. These colors range from vivid reds and golds to deep oranges and browns before finally falling from the trees. For decades, travelers have chased the rainbow of colors across the United States in hopes of taking breathtaking photos or just for personal gratification.

Weather conditions throughout the year contribute to autumn colors but the primary driving factor is day length. Numerous warm, sunny days and cool evenings seem to be the harbingers of the best fall colors. Idyllic weather conditions allow trees to produce significantly higher volumes of sugar in leaves and the cool nights slow sugar export.

Surplus leaf sugars stimulate anthocyanin (red and purple) pigment production. Carotenoid (yellow and gold) pigment levels tend to remain steady throughout the growing season though masked by chlorophyll until autumn. Chlorophyll In addition to sunshine, soil moisture also contributes to leaf color. Predictors of vibrant fall color: spring (warm, wet); summer (warm/hot with sufficient rain); fall (warm sunny days, cool nights). Delayed spring showers or an extended summer drought can delay fall color for weeks.

2017 GotNature Fall Color Fig 1a

Color change is initiated in the northeastern United States before continuing southward and can be species-specific. Aspens and hickories (primarily bronze, gold, and yellow), dogwood and oaks (ranging from deep red to dark brown), and maples (most often bright red to yellow-orange) represent the wide range of hues. In contrast, some species (elm) rarely exhibit any fall color. The map below, currently pinpointed to November 5th, can be used to visualize progression of fall color nationwide. For details of fall color across the nation, a fall color hotline 1-800-354-4595 has been created by the Forest Service to give travelers updates.

Fall foliage prediction act, smokymountains.com.

References:
Figure 1- Fall leaf photo
Figure 2- Fall foliage prediction act, smokymountains.com

Resources:
Autumn Leaves – what influences the color? – Got Nature?, Purdue FNR-Extension
Why Leaves Change Color, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Why Leaves Change Color, USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area

Shaneka Lawson, USDA Forest Service/HTIRC Research Plant Physiologist/Adjunct Assistant Professor
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Red maple tree, fall red leaves. Photo by: Lenny Farlee

Red maple tree with leaves turning red in fall. Photo by: Lenny Farlee

​The calendar flipping over to October is a reminder the annual Autumn leaf color display is on its way. The perennial question is “how will the color be this year?” Predicting the quality of the fall display requires weighing several factors that may vary over time and across the landscape. In general, Indiana started the growing season wet and is ending it dry. The good growing conditions early this year have produced abundant leaf area on many trees. As we have dried out late in the season, some trees are experiencing stress that may cause leaves to turn color and drop early, or to simply turn brown. Drought may also delay the color change by a week or more in some cases. Leaves that were attacked by insects or disease may also drop early or provide very little color. I noticed Japanese beetles seemed to be more active than normal this year, skeletonizing leaves on preferred plants like linden and Virginia creeper. Local weather patterns can also influence color intensity in a positive way. Sunny days and cool nights late in the summer and early fall can enhance the production of anthocyanin – a pigment produced in some trees that provides bright red, maroon and purple tones to the fall color palate.

Hop hornbeam tree with yellow fall leaves. Photo by: Lenny Farlee

Hop hornbeam tree with yellow fall leaves. Photo by: Lenny Farlee.

This brings us to another variable: different species of trees may produce different colors, timing, and duration of fall color. Some species like sassafras, sumac, black and sweet gum, and sugar and red maple are famous for bright fall color. Some species like elms, buckeye and walnut may simply turn brown or drop early with little color display. Different individual trees may also vary due to genetic differences, growing conditions and tree health. For example, some sugar maple located in open areas or on the edge of a woodlot, receiving lots of sunlight, may regularly produce vibrant oranges and reds, while nearby sugar maple in the shade of the forest will turn a subdued yellow, lacking the sugar reserves produced by their neighbors in the sun.

Leaf color change is also the result of a very predictable process based on the longer night period as summer slips into fall. The production of green chlorophyll pigments slows and finally stops as the nights become longer and cooler, exposing the yellows and oranges of carotenoids and reds and maroons of anthocyanins. This process also starts forming a zone of separation between the leaf and branch that ultimately brings the leaves to the ground, often with the help of wind and rain.

My best answer to those asking for a fall color prediction is another set of questions: how was your weather, what species of trees do you have, and how much sunlight do they receive?

Resources:
Why Leaves Change Color, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Why Leaves Change Color, USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area
Fifty Trees of the Midwest App for the iPhone, The Education Store
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
Shrubs of Indiana CD: Their Identification and Uses, The Education Store
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest: Identification, Wildlife Values and Landscaping Use, The Education Store
Trees of Indiana CD, The Education Store

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


Tree Planted in BackyardSpring and Fall is prime time for improving your property with new trees. They provide many benefits which everyone can share. Trees mean more attractive landscapes, lower energy bills and a healthier environment. However, just planting a tree without some thought and planning can create a liability rather than an asset to your site. Wise planning is essential to ensure the new trees meet your design needs and functional solutions as well. Follow these basic tips to get your tree started right and make it a long-lasting sustainable planting. For more information, download the free publication Tree Installation: Process and Practice.

Right Tree-Right Place.
Location, location, location! Planning before planting can help ensure that the right tree is planted in the right place. Proper tree selection and placement enhances your property value, prevents costly and sometimes unsightly maintenance with trimming, and lowers the risk of damage to your home and property. In some instances, trees are the innocent victim of poor planting locations and must be removed. Always allow room for growth! Also, consider native trees or those trees with fewer pests which can attack your tree. Large trees include Kentucky Coffeetree, Bur Oak and Hardy Rubber Tree. Medium-sized trees can include Japanese Pagoda Tree, Sourwood, Katsura Tree and Golden Raintree. Finally, for areas with less room, consider Serviceberry, Ironwood, Amur Maackia or Hop Tree. These are just a few of the many trees which can be chosen for your situation.

Look Up, Look Down, and Look All Around!
Regardless if the planting is in the front yard or the back yard of the home or business, be sure there will be no interference with utilities; Call 811 before you dig. It will prevent costly mistakes and maybe a life. In addition, if the tree is going to be planted along the street, typically, there is an ordinance requiring a permit to plant in the right of way. This helps Urban Forestry administration keep up the street tree inventory and allows the ISA Certified Arborists on staff a chance to offer free advice to help in the planting decisions.

It Comes from Good Stock…
Choose the tree twice, meaning get the right species for your location; then, make an informed choice on the nursery stock. Be sure the function of the tree is understood and choose the right tree for the location. Shade? Flowers? Screening? Sound Barrier? Trees can be used as tools to work for you on the site. “You get what you pay for” applies to nursery stock as well. Purchase plant material from a reputable source and get a professional opinion on the tree species for your application. One hint, if it is a fast growing tree, it probably won’t last long. See our video for tree selection tips.

This Hole is a Home!
It is a permanent home for the trees… understand the planting site prior to planting. Determine soil type and pH, drainage and exposure to the sun. If the tree isn’t naturally suited to the planting place, it doesn’t have a chance. Planting depth is a major tree planting concern. Be sure to find the “root flare” when establishing the final grade of the tree. Drainage is crucial to survival. Use the two-hour test. Dig the hole, fill it with water. If the hole is empty upon returning, there is suitable drainage for any tree. Plant the tree properly and at the proper depth, you only get one chance… Don’t dig a $10 hole for a $100 tree. See our video on tree planting tips.

Keep Good Care of the Investment.
Once the tree is in the ground, take good care of it. At least an inch of water per week to keep it growing vigorously, apply clean, hardwood mulch on the root zone to keep soils cool and moist, but never exceed three inches in depth. Remember to remove any tags on the tree and don’t forget to remove the twine from around the trunk. Don’t worry about the fertilizer at planting time, wait until next year, after the tree has gotten settled in to its new home. Enjoy your new addition to the home and landscape!

Resources:
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 University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Adult Emerald Ash BorerThe Emerald Ash Borer University  is a collaborative effort of Michigan State University, Purdue University, the Ohio State University, Michigan University and Ohio University to provide comprehensive, accurate and timely information on the emerald ash borer to it’s viewers. As of September 21st, it has launched it’s Fall 2017 Webinar in order for the public to become more informed on Emerald Ash Borers. The schedule is as follows:

9/28/2017 “EAB for Homeowners: Managing EAB, Individuals to Neighborhoods” – Cliff Sadof, Purdue University
10/5/2017 “EAB Management and Pollinator Safety” – Reed Johnson, Ohio State University
10/12/2017 “After EAB: Encouraging Regrowth of a Healthy Forest” – Kathy Smith, Ohio State University
10/19/2017 “Thousand Cankers Disease: Threatening the Nation’s Walnut Trees” – Matthew Ginzel, Purdue University

All past Webinars are now available on the EABU YouTube Channel.

Resources:
Question: What options do we have to treat our ash trees against the Emerald Ash Borer?, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-FNR
Invasive Pest Species: Tools for Staging and Managing EAB in the Urban Forest, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-FNR
Emerald Ash Borer, Purdue Extension-Entomology
Emerald Ash Borer Cost Calculator – Purdue Extension Entomology

Cliff Sadof, Professor
Purdue University Department of Entomology


Emerald Ash BorersImidacloprid, the active ingredient works by killing adults when they feed in the summer before they lay eggs. It slowly kills the two youngest stages of grubs that feed beneath the bark. The later and larger two stages are not killed. Material applied in the fall does not start killing beetles til spring. It takes twice the dose in the fall to get the same effect as a spring application. Trees with a trunk diameter of >20 inches at 4.5 ft above the ground can’t be controlled with imidacloprid.

So if your trees are starting to die I would suggest you skip the fall application of imidacloprid and switch to a professional injection of emamectin benzoate. See Protecting Ash Trees with Insecticides, Purdue Extension Emerald Ash Borer, for more information.

Cliff Sadof, Coordinator of Extension
Purdue University Department of Entomology

Resources:
What to do about emerald ash borer, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-FNR
Emerald Ash Borer, Purdue Extension-Entomology
EAB research: Saving trees early less costly than replacing them, Purdue Agriculture News



FNR-547-W Cover PageTrees establish themselves quite well in normal situations. However, in special situations, staking, guying, or a similar system may be needed to hold trees upright until adequate root growth anchors them firmly in the soil. The Publication Tree Support Systems answers common questions about post-planting tree care. It describes when to stake trees, how to stake and guy trees, and proper methods of trunk protection.

Resources:
Tree Planting Part 1: Choosing a Tree, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Tree Pruning: What Do Trees Think?, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Got Nature?, Purdue Extension, Forestry and Natural Resources

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

 

 


Posted on July 24th, 2017 in Urban Forestry, Wildlife | No Comments »

A drone can be defined in a myriad of ways. A constant humming sound can be called a drone. Your professor going over a lecture you find boring can be described as droning on and on about a particular topic. That friend of yours with the uncanny ability to come by your place to eat right at dinnertime but never offers to pay for the food is also a drone. In nature, male bees are also known as drones. These insects, the products of unfertilized eggs have an easy but vital role within the hive; mate with the queen. In technology, a drone is a remote-controlled aircraft either publicly available (those who fly them are termed ‘enthusiasts’) or held by the military that that has dramatically increased in popularity over the last decade. What happens when drone bees and remote-controlled drones meet?

Bee and Drone Expression

Researchers in Japan have come up with an inventive pollination plan. As bees continue to die out, insect sized drones are being used to pollinate lilies. The miniature robots are covered in horse hair and a sticky gel that allows pollen picked up from one plant to be deposited on another. By no means a solution to the global decline in insect pollinators, these robots are working to help alleviate the demands placed on bee colonies to ensure adequate pollination of agricultural crops.

Mechanical BeeThe creative ‘bug’ has reached the industrial design field where 24-year-old senior Anna Haldewang (Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia) developed Plan Bee. Rather than being the size of the bee, this black-and-yellow drone is the size of hand and resembles a flower. Plan Bee passes over flowers collecting pollen for later cross-pollination. Haldewang has filed a patent application and is roughly two years from having a product for the market. The primary role of Plan Bee is as an educational tool, however, hydroponic and large-scale applications may also be possible.

Robotic InsectIn addition to efforts of the Japanese groups, a research group in Maryland has taken the bee drone one step further. This group, led by Sarah Bergbreiter and her colleagues from the Maryland Microrobotics Laboratory at the University of Maryland, College Park has built tiny, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices that look like and share the same movement as other insects such as fleas and ants. This group hopes to use their tiny robots to evaluate bridges and other structures for breakdown and search for survivors after a natural disaster.

The moral of the story is, when you see a bee hard at work, appreciate the job it’s doing to ensure that our crops are fertilized, our flowers are pollinated, and we have honey to eat.

Literature Cited:
Chechetka et al. 2017. Materially engineered artificial pollinators. Chem 2, 224–239.
AVS: Science Array Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processing. Insect-like microrobots move just like real insectsScienceDaily, 7 November 2016.

Web Resources:
This ‘bee’ drone is a robotic flower pollinator, CNN Tech
Biometric Trees: A Shockingly Cool Development, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-FNR
Consider Pollinators When Planning Your Garden, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-FNR

Shaneka Lawson, USDA Forest Service/HTIRC Research Plant Physiologist/Adjunct Assistant Professor
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

 


Costs and Returns of Producing Hops in Established Tree PlantationsRapid growth in the craft brewing industry has created an opportunity for Hoosier farmers to start growing hops. Hops are the female flowers (also called cones) from the hop plant (Humulus lupulus). This high-value, perennial crop is used to flavor and stabilize beer. Now available in a free download is a new publication with a study focusing on growing hops along the fence lines of newly established forest stands. This publication titled Costs and Returns of Producing Hops in Established Tree Plantations is the first of two publications that analyzes the economic opportunities in forest farming for Indiana forest plantation owners. The economic analysis presented in this article is developed for two hops varieties, ‘Cascade’ and ‘Comet’, based on marketability and presumed adaption to low sunlight, respectively.

Additional Resources:
Costs and Returns of Producing Wild-Simulated Ginseng in Established Tree Plantations, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching, Lesson Plans K-12, Purdue Extension
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Sustaining Our Oak-Hickory Forests, The Education Store
Tree Pruning: What Do Trees Think?, The Education Store

Kim Ha, Research Assistant
Purdue Agricultural Economics

Other contributing authors: Dr. Shadi Atallah, Tamara Benjamin, Dr. Lori Hoagland, Lenny Farlee and Dr. Keith Woeste.


Bagworm caterpillar.The evergreen bagworm, as its name implies, is well known for its ability to defoliate evergreen trees and shrubs like spruce, arborvitae, fir, junipers and pine. When given a chance, it will also feed on deciduous trees like maples, honeylocust, and crabapples. In late May and early June bagworms hatch from eggs that overwinter in the bag of their mother. When young bagworms begin feeding on broadleaved plants the caterpillars are too small to feed all the way through, so they leave circular patterns of skeletonization. Bagworms can be easily controlled with a spray application of spinosad (Conserve, or Fertilome borer and bagworm killer), or Bacillus thuringiensis (Dipel). More control options are available on the Purdue Tree Doctor App, purdueplantdoctor.com.

View this video located on the Purdue Plant Doctor App Suite Facebook page to watch a young bagworm caterpillar poke its head out of its silken bag to feed on a maple leaf. The young caterpillar scrapes the leaf surface to feed, and cuts bits of green tissue and glues it on its back. At the end of the video it sticks out its legs and flips the entire bag over to hide from the lights.

Resources:
Purdue Plant Doctor App Suite, Purdue Extension-Entomology
Landscape & Oranmentals-Bagworms, The Education Store
Upcoming Workshops, Purdue Extension-Forestry & Natural Resources
Ask An Expert, Purdue Extension-Forestry & Natural Resources

FNR contacts:
Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

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

Author:
Cliff Sadof, Professor
Purdue University Department of Entomology


Students in Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) continue to volunteer for Hands of the Future, Inc., a non-profit program whose mission is to help educate children about the outdoors and natural resources. As this program continues to grow, one of their dreams has been to find woods to create a children’s forest. To have a natural site that has been embellished upon with children’s needs in mind and to encourage outdoor play and adventures.

The students plan on transforming 18.8 acres of idle woods into Zonda’s Children’s Forest. The children’s forest will be composed of six main areas:

  1. A children’s garden, equipped with a greenhouse and kitchen, thChildren climbing on tree, Hands of the Futureat’ll allow children to learn how to properly grow and cook food.
  2. An enclosed area dedicated to allowing children having fun and safe adventures.
  3. A viewing area for butterflies, birds and other organisms of the wild, allowing children to easily enjoy the life of the forest.
  4. A maze designed by sunflowers, where children can have fun and do problem-solving, while close to nature.
  5. A walk dedicated to viewing the owls and other organisms composing the forest.
  6. Another enclosed area of the woods for adventures; However, it’ll also contain tree houses, bridges and other fun additions for the children.

Donations:
Donations to help make Zonda’s Children’s Forest a reality can be made here. They have six months to raise $235,000 in order to purchase the woods.

Volunteers & Interns:
Older students and adults can apply to be a volunteer. Volunteers are always appreciated, no past experience necessary. If you love nature and kids you will enjoy this program. Internships are available for college students, contact Zonda Bryant.

Resources:
Hands of the Future, Inc.
Junior Nature Club

Zonda Bryant, Director
765.366.9126
director@hands-future.org

 


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