Got Nature? Blog

Posted on June 19th, 2020 in Disease, Forestry, How To, Land Use, Urban Forestry | No Comments »

Purdue Landscape Report: Trees provide many benefits for our homes and properties. If a tree is found to have a defect such as dead branches or broken limbs from a storm; it can become a risk issue. It is important to understand that tree owners have a duty to inspect and maintain their trees. All property owners should take reasonable steps to protect themselves by involving a qualified consultant or certified arborist when needed.

Pic-1

Figure 1. Trees should be inspected for defects which pose a threat or risk to targets.

All trees have some sort of risk involved with it. They are living organisms that are endangered by environmental impacts and pests. However, it is important to create a balance between the risk a tree may pose and the benefits provided by the tree. We don’t want to remove trees unnecessarily, but rather reduce the liability by Identifying, analyzing and evaluating the problem.

Inspect regularly: Trees should be assessed through inspections by a qualified arborist, preferably an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist. It is especially important to inspect trees after major weather events. At a minimum, trees should be carefully checked out every 3-5 years.

Document and maintain records: Every inspection should be recorded and kept on file for future reference. Past evaluations can show how a tree has changed in its health and structure over the years. Also, these written evaluations could minimize liability if a failure occurs and a claim is filed against the tree owner.

Pic-2

Figure 2. Targets are people, property or activities that could be disrupted by a tree failure.

Tree Inspections: For a tree to be considered a risk it must be defective and a target that is threatened.

target is people, property or activities that could be injured, damaged or disrupted by a tree failure. Review everything in the target zone. This should include the area inside a circle around the tree, which is at least as wide as the total tree height.

Read the body language of the tree. Inspect each section of the tree including the crown, branches and root zone to check for signs of failure. These include:

  • Dead, diseased, dying or broken branches.
  • Thinning or poor canopy health.
  • An unstable branching pattern overextended or weakly attached branches, or cracks in the stems.
  • Cracks or decayed areas in the main trunk.
  • Exposed or decayed roots, heaving of the soil, fungus growth or cracks in the soil around the root plate.

Among the characteristics to consider when conducting tree risk evaluations are:

  • Decay, cankers, cracks and other positive indicators of weakness in the roots, stems and branches.
  • Canopy size, shape and weight distribution. This is especially true in situations where a tree is exposed to windy conditions, is leaning or has a poor stem-to-canopy ratio.
  • Crown architecture. Poor branching and similar characteristics can create high-risk situations in strong winds and other weather conditions.
  • Plant health and vigor. This determines how a tree can overcome wounding or pest infestations.
Pic-3

Figure 3. Regular tree inspections should occur reviewing all parts of the tree.

What do you do when a defect is found?
The goal is to reduce the likelihood of failure. Most of the time pruning can improve risk situations. Perhaps cabling and bracing may be an option. Also, plant health care improves the trees condition which can reduce risk… the last option should be removal and that should be an informed decision.

Recurrent inspections to determine tree health and condition are important for sustainable, long-lived tree plantings. The most important factor for any tree owner is know when to contact an ISA Certified Arborist who understands tree risk assessment. They can help with the decision making for the tree if there are concerns about its safety and health.

For more information refer to the publication Tree Risk Management and Trees and Storms at the Purdue Education Store.

Find a certified arborist in your area by going to Trees are Good.

Resources
Planting Problems: Trees Planted Too Deep, Video, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Planting Your Tree Part 1: Choosing Your Tree, Video, Purdue Extension Youtube Channel
Tree Planting Part 2: Planting a Tree, Video, Purdue Extension Youtube Channel
Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees, The Educational Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Surface Root Syndrome, The Education Store
Iron Chlorosis of Trees and Shrubs, The Education Store
Tree Pruning Essentials, Publication & Video, The Education Store
Cold Injury to Trees, Got Nature? Post, Purdue FNR Extension

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


Posted on June 5th, 2020 in Disease, Safety, Wildlife | No Comments »

squirrel

Question: We live in eastern Tippecanoe county and have a couple of adult squirrels that seem to be sick. They act like they are drunk — falling over frequently. We have two apple trees in blossom, and they come and nibble on fallen branches/blooms. As they sit on their hind legs to eat, they fall over on the ground like they are dead. Then after a few minutes/flip around and get up again, only to fall over “dead” again. This has been going on for a few weeks. We also have a baby that is not afraid of people – does not run away from me or our dog. This baby appears to have missing hair/or possible mange? We also had a raccoon in early March that came toward my husband in the yard – was not afraid of him. It did not appear rabid, but did not run away either. We do have several bird feeders, one of which squirrels and chipmunks sit on and eat the bird food. Is what they are eating making them “sick/drunk” or is this something else? I googled and found possible raccoon roundworm? What do YOU think this is — and could these cases be related? How should I dispose of any dead animals, and should I be concerned for us or our dog?

Answer: What you describe could be a number of wildlife diseases. The clinical signs of many of these diseases are often similar and infection can only be determined through specific examinations, tests or lab work. It may be canine distemper. Both squirrels and raccoon can carry canine distemper. The disease is spread by direct contact with body fluids or droppings of an infected animal. Humans cannot get distemper. However, it may also be another disease or a separate disease for each species. Your choices are really to 1) do nothing or 2) contact a wildlife rehabilitator (see below). In Indiana, wildlife rehabilitators have necessary state and federal permits to house and care for sick or injured wild animals. No federal or state agencies will provide care for sick and injured animals.

Since wild animals can carry diseases that are dangerous to people, direct contact with wildlife is discouraged. Just as the case with people, you can’t tell if an animal is sick just by looking at them. Expression of clinical signs of diseases are not the same for every animal. It may also take a period of time for clinical signs to present themselves. An animal that appears perfectly healthy may have a disease, and may be able to transmit the disease.

I could find no specific guidelines for the disposal of dead wild animals. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health lists allowable methods of dead animal disposal, but these do not apply to wildlife, which they specify as creatures not under someone’s care. This is guidance on the DNR website for:

Dead Birds: “According to Indiana State Department of Health guidelines, if you need to dispose of a dead bird, do not handle it with your bare hands. Use gloves or a plastic bag turned inside out over your hand to pick up the bird and dispose of the bird/bag in the trash. You can follow these recommended disposal procedures regardless of the cause of death, if testing is not available.”

Dead Bats: “Do NOT pick up a bat with your bare hands. Any wild animal can carry disease, therefore precautions should be taken if an animal needs to be moved. Wear heavy-duty leather gloves and scoop up the bat with a shovel or container. If the bat is alive move it to a tree branch, away from nearby buildings if possible. To dispose of a dead bat, scoop it into a plastic bag. Place it into another plastic bag, close it securely, spray with disinfectant, and dispose of it in your trash.”

Indiana Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitators (pdf), Indiana Department of Natural Resources – Fish and Wildlife.

Other Resources
Protecting Yourself from Wildlife Diseases: Raccoon Roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis), The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
Orphaned Wildlife, Got Nature? blog
Orphaned & Injured Animals, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Purdue Extension – FNR: Ask An Expert, Video, Purdue Extension –  Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube channel

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


FNR-595-W coverThe Nature of Teaching: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health is one unit in a series available from The Nature of Teaching – the place to go for teaching resources that focus on wildlife, food waste, health and wellness. In this series teachers can find free lesson plans, printables, posters, a photo library, information on upcoming workshops and more.

This unit highlights the effect of environmental contaminants on the health of wildlife and ecosystems with two lessons filled with worksheets, activities, lab report grading rubric sheet and more.
Lesson 1: There’s Something in the Water!
Lesson 2: Investigating the Effects of Salt Contamination on Daphnia

This 33-page PDF is written by Dr. Jason Hoverman; Logan Billet, Rebecca Koetz and Dr. Rod Williams.

For more resources, please check the Education Store.

Resources
Benefits of Connecting with Nature, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
The Nature of Teaching: Disease Ecology, The Education Store
Resourceful Animal Relationships, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Food Waste and the Environment, The Education Store
Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians Activity 2: Water Quality Sneak Peak, Video, Purdue Extension YouTube channel

Rod Williams, Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


 FNR-594-W coverThe Nature of Teaching: Disease Ecology is one unit in a series available from The Nature of Teaching – the place to go for teaching resources that focus on wildlife, food waste, health and wellness. In this series teachers can find free lesson plans, printables, posters, a photo library, information on upcoming workshops and more.

This unit introduces students to basic principles of disease ecology, including the diversity of parasites, how diseases are modeled, and how parasites and hosts interact. It includes three lessons with colorful animal cards to print along with worksheets and presentation.
Lesson 1: Parasite Diversity Activity
Lesson 2: Modeling Disease Transmission
Lesson 3: Parasite Avoidance Behavior in Tadpoles

This 33-page download PDF is written by Dr. Jason Hoverman; Logan Billet, Rebecca Koetz and Dr. Rod Williams.

For more resources, please check the Education Store.

Resources
Benefits of Connecting with Nature, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
The Nature of Teaching: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health, The Education Store
Resourceful Animal Relationships, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Food Waste and the Environment, The Education Store

Rod Williams, Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Purdue Forestry & Natural Resources extension specialists gathered for a Facebook LIVE event held May 5th to answer questions on a wide range of topics from woodland management to wildlife habitat, ponds to invasive species and more.

Topics ranged from what to do about moles, voles and Canada geese causing damage in your yard, to how to pick the right tree for your landscape and how to measure the worth of your trees. The presentation also included segments on what to do about algae in your pond to how to know if you need to restock it as well as what to do about invasive plant species and how to protect your trees from deer damage.

Get advice from extension specialists Jarred Brooke, Lenny Farlee, Brian MacGowan, Lindsey Purcell, Rod Williams and Mitch Zischke in the video below.

If you have any further questions feel free to send your questions by submitting our Ask An Expert form.

Resources mentioned:
Purdue Extension – The Education Store
Purdue Report Invasive Species Website
Midwest Invasive Species Network Database
TreesAreGood.org
Find a Forester in Indiana
Improve My Property for Wildlife, Purdue Extension
Online Mole Program, Event May 14th, Purdue FNR Extension
Have you seen a hairless squirrel, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue FNR Extension
Stocking Fish, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Tree Selection for the “Un-natural” Environment, The Education Store
Selecting a Nuisance Control Operator, The Education Store
Forest Products Price Report (pdf), Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Indiana DNR Nuisance Goose Control Options (pdf), Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Turtles of Indiana, The Education Store
Salamanders of Indiana, The Education Store
Frogs and Toads of Indiana, The Education Store
Snakes and Lizards of Indiana, The Education Store
Aquatic Plant Management, The Education Store
Native Grasses, The Education Store
Preventing Deer Browsing on Trees/Shrubs, Video, Purdue Extension Youtube Channel

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


Our recent cold mornings resulted in late freeze damage to many trees and shrubs. This damage to newly emerging shoots and leaves follows a few hours of temperatures below the freezing mark. Damage is usually characterized by wilting browning of new growth, particularly leaves and needles. It may take a few days, or until temperatures begin warming again, for damage to become evident.

The photos below reveal some late freeze damage in southern Indiana, shared by a concerned tree owner. It is often dramatic and can cause concern for homeowners and landscapers. Fortunately, the damage is largely aesthetic, and plants will quickly resume growth.

Redbud-Close-Shot

Two-Redbud-Trees

Plant Freeze4

Plants Freeze

 

 

 

 

 

What can you expect? Typically, the damaged or dead leaves will fall and new leaves will emerge, although somewhat slowly. A reduction in growth and leaf size can be anticipated as well. Just remain calm and wait for the tree to recover. If the tree was vigorous going into winter and had a good store of carbohydrates, it can withstand an environmental hit such as these cold extremes.

scratch the barkIf branches or stems don’t show any evidence of bud or leaf emergence, lightly scratch the bark with your thumbnail. If the green cambial layer is revealed, the tree is likely just slowly emerging from dormancy. If there is no green tissue evident, it is likely dead. Prune out the dead branches to a living later branch and assess the plant.

Resources
Question: What are these pretty green flower shaped growth spots? Will they damage the tree?, Got Nature? Post, Purdue FNR Extension
Iron Chlorosis of Trees and Shrubs, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Diseases: Oak Wilt in Indiana, The Education Store
Tree Diseases: White Pine Decline in Indiana, The Education Store
Mechanical Damage to Trees: Mowing and Maintenance Equipment, The Education Store
Surface Root Syndrome, The Education Store
Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees, The Education Store

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


Iron_Clorosis_of_TreesMany trees, shrubs, and other ornamental plantings in Indiana and throughout the Midwest suffer from iron deficiency caused by high pH (alkaline) soil. Soil pH affects plant growth directly and indirectly by affecting the availability of essential nutrients and microbial activity. One of these nutrients is iron, an essential plant nutrient that is required for the production of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is necessary for photosynthesis and gives plants their green color. Iron (and manganese) deficiency results in leaf yellowing (chlorosis); over time, scorching of foliage, dieback and even death of the tree or shrub can result.

Iron Chlorosis of Trees and Shrubs talks about the symptoms, the cause and the managing of iron chlorosis. One of the authors is Lindsey Purcell, an urban forestry specialist from the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University.

This 5-page publication is part of the Plant Pathology in the Landscape Series and is a free download from the Purdue Extension resource center, The Education Store. View other tree disease publications and video resources as you place keywords in the search field located on The Education Store website.

Resources
Tree Diseases: Oak Wilt in Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Diseases: White Pine Decline in Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Mechanical Damage to Trees: Mowing and Maintenance Equipment, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Surface Root Syndrome, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center

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


REEU Activities

Photos: Megan Gunn (mlgunn@purdue.edu)

This past summer marked the first year of the Research and Extension Experiential Learning for Undergraduates (REEU) program at Purdue University. This program entitled “Diversity in Faces, Spaces and Places” was designed to increase visibility of underrepresented students and professionals in Natural Resource sciences disciplines and provide targeted mentorship to current underrepresented undergraduates.

During this PAID 8-week summer program, students were exposed to and participated in a plethora of activities such as: stream ecosystem health evaluation, mammalian tracking and trapping, reptile and amphibian habitat suitability studies, avian mist-netting, bat auditory identification and examination, and the role of genetics in the susceptibility of trees to disease. Students created posters of their research, gave oral presentations, and wrote a manuscript article on their chosen topic of study at the end of the program. Be a part of the fun next year!

REEU Activities

Photos: Megan Gunn (mlgunn@purdue.edu)

View The Familiar Faces Project blog and learn more about the experiences in REEU. Contact Dr. Liz Flaherty or Megan Gunn for information on how you can participate!

Dr. Liz Flaherty
eflaher@purdue.edu
765.494.3567

Ms. Megan Gunn
mlgunn@purdue.edu
765.276.7102

Other faculty involved in the program: Ximena Bernal, associate professor, Purdue Biological Sciences; Reuben Goforth, associate professor of aquatic ecosystems, Purdue FNR; Shaneka Lawson, USDA Forest Service, HTIRC Research Plant Physiologist & Adjunct Assistant Professor; Zhao Ma,  associate professor of natural resource social science, Purdue FNR; and Marisol Sepulveda, professor of ecology and natural systems, Purdue FNR.

Resources
Considerations for Trapping Nuisance Wildlife with Box Traps, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Benefits of Connecting with Nature, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store
August is National Tree Check Month: Are YOUR trees safe and secure?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue FNR Extension
Bats in the Belfry, Got Nature? Blog

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


Purdue Landscape Report: When was the last time you really looked at your trees?  It’s all too easy to just trees, grasslandsenjoy their cool shade and the sound of their leaves, but if you don’t know what to look for you could miss deadly diseases or dastardly demons lurking in their leaves and branches. A quick check can help you stop a problem before it kills your tree or your local forest!

National Tree Check Month is the perfect time to make sure your tree is in tip-top shape! Our checklist will help you spot early warning signs of native pests and pathogens and invasive pests like Asian longhorned beetlespotted lanternfly, and sudden oak death. You can stop invasive pests in their tracks by reporting them if you see them.

Is your tree healthy and normal?
Start by making sure you know the type of tree you have. Is it a deciduous tree like an oak or maple? Or is it an evergreen that like a spruce or a pine? Don’t worry about exactly what species it is. It’s enough for you to have a general sense of what the tree should look like when it’s healthy.

Check the leaves

  • Are the leaves yellow, red or brown?
  • Are they spotted or discolored?
  • Do the leaves look distorted or disfigured?
  • Is there a sticky liquid on the leaves?
  • Do the leaves appear wet, or give off a foul odor?
  • Are leaves missing?
  • Are parts of the leaves chewed?

Check the trunk and branches

  • Are there holes or splits in the trunk or branches?
  • Is the bark peeling from a tree that shouldn’t shed its bark?
  • Are there tunnels or unusual patterns under the bark?
  • Is there sawdust on or under the tree?
  • Is there sap oozing down the tree?
  • Does the sap have a bad odor?
  • Do sticky drops fall on you when you stand under the tree? You might have spotted lanternfly. Please report it right away!

Now what? If you answered YES to any of the questions above, there’s a good chance something is wrong. To decide if and how you should treat or report the problem, you’ll need to have a tentative diagnosis. Luckily, there are many ways to get one!

Know the tree species? Use the Purdue Tree Doctor to get a diagnosis and a recommendation on whether treating or reporting is needed.  This app allows you to flip through photos of problem plagued leaves, branches and trunks to help you rapidly identify the problem.  If you have an invasive pest, it will guide you how to report it.

Don’t know the tree species and still need help? Reach out to local experts. We’re happy to help!

Confused but think something is TERRIBLY WRONG?  Contact Purdue’s Exotic Forest Pest Educatorreport online, or call 1-866-NOEXOTIC.

Resources:
Trees and Storms, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Why Is My Tree Dying?, The Education Store
Caring for storm-damaged trees/How to Acidify Soil in the Yard, In the Grow, Purdue Extension
Tree Risk Management, The Education Store
Mechanical Damage to Trees: Mowing and Maintenance Equipment, The Education Store
Tree Installation: Process and Practices,  The Education Store
Tree Planting Part 1 & Tree Planting Part 2, videos, The Education Store

Cliff Sadof, Professor & Coordinator of Extension
Purdue University, Department of Entomology

Elizabeth Barnes, Exotic Forest Pest Educator
Purdue University, Department of Entomology


Cockroaches are serious threats to human health. They carry dozens of types of bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, that can sicken people. And the saliva, feces and body parts they leave behind may not only trigger allergies and asthma but could cause the condition in some children.

cockroach in lab

A German cockroach feeds on an insecticide in the laboratory portion of a Purdue University study that determined the insects are gaining cross-resistance to multiple insecticides at one time. (Photo by John Obermeyer/Purdue Entomology)

A Purdue University study led by Michael Scharf, professor and O.W. Rollins/Orkin Chair in the Department of Entomology, now finds evidence that German cockroaches (Blattella germanica L.) are becoming more difficult to eliminate as they develop cross-resistance to exterminators’ best insecticides. The problem is especially prevalent in urban areas and in low-income or federally subsidized housing where resources to effectively combat the pests aren’t as available.

“This is a previously unrealized challenge in cockroaches,” said Scharf, whose findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports. “Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone.”

Each class of insecticide works in a different way to kill cockroaches. Exterminators will often use insecticides that are a mixture of multiple classes or change classes from treatment to treatment. The hope is that even if a small percentage of cockroaches is resistant to one class, insecticides from other classes will eliminate them.

Scharf and his study co-authors set out to test those methods at multi-unit buildings in Indiana and Illinois over six months. In one treatment, three insecticides from different classes were rotated into use each month for three months and then repeated. In the second, they used a mixture of two insecticides from different classes for six months. In the third, they chose an insecticide to which cockroaches had low-level starting resistance and used it the entire time.

In each location, cockroaches were captured before the study and lab-tested to determine the most effective insecticides for each treatment, setting up the scientists for the best possible outcomes.

“If you have the ability to test the roaches first and pick an insecticide that has low resistance, that ups the odds,” Scharf said. “But even then, we had trouble controlling populations.”

For full article: Rapid cross-resistance bringing cockroaches closer to invincibility.

Resources
Report Invasive Species, Purdue Agriculture & Indiana Invasive Species Council
Purdue experts encourage ‘citizen scientists’ to report invasive species, Purdue Agriculture News
New Hope for Fighting Ash Borer, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources
Mile-a-Minute Invasive Vine Found Indiana, Got Nature? Blog
Sericea Lespedeza: Plague on the Prairie, Got Nature? Blog

Michael E. Scharf, Professor and O.W. Rollins/Orkin Chair
Purdue Department of Entomology

Brian J. Wallheimer, Science Writer
Purdue College of Agriculture


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