Got Nature? Blog

Posted on September 1st, 2021 in Alert, Disease, How To, Wildlife | No Comments »

MyDNR Email Newsletter: DNR recently updated its recommendations related to the bird disease outbreak. Based on the data received from reports submitted by Indiana residents, it appears that the bird illness is consistently affecting specific areas. Find which counties are continuing to be affected by this outbreak on our website.Blue jay on bird feeder.

One of the simplest and most effective ways residents can help wild birds is by regularly cleaning bird feeders. Seed and suet feeders should be cleaned at least once every two weeks, and hummingbird feeders should be cleaned at least once a week. Bird feeders can be a breeding ground for disease if not properly cleaned. Help your feathered visitors stay healthy year-round by scrubbing feeders with soap and water, followed by a short soak in a 10% bleach solution.

Full article > > >

Cause of Songbird Deaths Remains a Mystery, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources, Got Nature? Blog
Birdfeeder tips, The National Audubon Society
Birds and Residential Window Strikes: Tips for Prevention, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Breeding Birds and Forest Management: the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment and the Central Hardwoods Region, The Education Store
Managing Woodlands for Birds Video, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Posted on June 30th, 2021 in Alert, Disease, Wildlife | No Comments »

Starting in May, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began to receive reports of sick and dying songbirds from several counties around the state. As of now, the cause of the illness remains a mystery although submitted specimens have tested negative for avian influenza and West Nile virus according to the DNR. Affected birds have white crust and discharge around the eyes and damage to their nervous system. Reports of sick birds have expanded to many more counties in Indiana.

Several diseases that affect songbirds are transmitted from one animal to another. Bird feeders can increase the likelihood of disease transmission by facilitating close contact among birds. Even though the disease and its mode of transmission in this case is unknown, the DNR is recommending all Hoosiers remove their birdfeeders.

Blue jay on bird feeder.Officials recommend the following steps:

  • Use the DNR sick/dead wildlife reporting tool at to alert DNR staff.
  • Stop feeding birds until the mortality event has concluded.
  • Clean feeders and baths with a 10% bleach solution.
  • Avoid handling birds. If you need to handle birds, wear disposable gloves.
  • When removing dead birds, wear disposable gloves and place birds and gloves in a sealable plastic bag to dispose with household trash.
  • Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a precaution.
  • Proper care of bird feeders and seed is an important part of preventing disease transmission at birdfeeders.

The Audubon Society recommends the following best practices:

  • Clean feeders monthly using one part bleach to nine parts warm water. Soak the feeder in the solution for a few minutes, rinse, and air dry.
  • If uneaten food is accumulating in or under feeders, consider using less food or switch to a seed more to the birds’ liking.
  • If birds are fighting over space at a feeder, consider adding more feeders to alleviate the congestion that can potentially be responsible for the rapid spread of disease.
  • Avoid throwing large amounts of food on the ground or alternate ground feeding areas so that uneaten food does not accumulate and develop bacteria or mold.

DNR recommends removal of birdfeeders statewide – June 25, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Birdfeeder tips, The National Audubon Society
Birds and Residential Window Strikes: Tips for Prevention, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Breeding Birds and Forest Management: the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment and the Central Hardwoods Region, The Education Store
Managing Woodlands for Birds Video, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel

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

Posted on June 14th, 2021 in Disease, Forestry, Gardening, Plants, Urban Forestry | No Comments »

Purdue Landscape Report: While fungi are responsible for many of our foliar disease problems, different fungal pathogens present as problems throughout the country, depending upon the host plant grown and the environmental conditions. This is a brief overview of several common types of fungal leaf diseases that occur in Indiana and throughout North America (and Europe). Recognizing the symptoms and signs is an important first step to diagnose a disease problem, followed by how to manage these diseases by combining cultural and chemical controls.

Common fungal leaf diseases of deciduous trees and shrubs

Anthracnose Example Photo

Figure 1. Anthracnose is a yearly problem on sycamore in the Midwest. Photo by Janna Beckerman.

Anthracnose. Anthracnose diseases probably are the best-known foliar fungal diseases of deciduous trees. They affect many ornamental trees including major shade-tree genera such as sycamore (Platanus spp.), oak (Quercus spp.), maple (Acer spp.), elm (Ulmus spp.) and ash (Fraxinus spp.) (Fig. 1). Anthracnose actually is a general term describing symptoms such as dead irregular areas that form along and between the main vein of the leaf. The leaves may also become curled and distorted and twigs may die back. The fungus overwinters in infected twigs and the petioles of fallen leaves, and the spores disseminate in the spring by wind and splashing rain. The disease, while unsightly, rarely results in the tree’s death. Sycamores and other trees often withstand many years of partial defoliation. However, one anthracnose disease is more serious. Dogwood anthracnose (Discula destructiva) is a devastating problem on the Eastern seaboard, but has not been a significant issue here in Indiana.

Leaf blister example photo

Figure 2. Leaf blister on oak. Photo by Janna Beckerman

Leaf blisters result in the blistering, curling and puckering of leaf tissue. Oak leaf blister (Taphrina caerulescens) is a common blister disease of oaks (Fig. 2)., particularly the red oak subgenus, which includes Northern red oak (Q. rubra) and pin oak (Q. palustris) among others. The symptoms begin as a slight yellowing of the infected leaf followed by round, raised blisters. These turn brown, and the infected leaves fall prematurely. This fungus overwinters as spores on the buds.

Leaf spot is a general symptom caused by a multitude of pathogens and infect all deciduous trees and shrubs, and include dead spots with a defined boundary between living and dead tissue. The dead tissue often separates from the surrounding living tissue creating a “shot-hole” appearance on the infected leaves. Common hosts include dogwood, maples, hydrangea, rose, holly, and Indian-hawthorn.

Tar Spot Example Photo

Figure 3. Tar spot is increasing in incidence and severity in Indiana. Photo by Janna Beckerman.

Tar spot (Rhytisma spp.) is a leaf disease with initial symptoms similar to leaf spot. The disease is most common on red (Acer rubrum) and silver maple (A. saccharinum) (Fig.3), but it can occur on a wide range of maple species from sugar (A. saccharum) and Norway (A. platanoides) to bigleaf maple (A. macrophyllum). The symptoms begin in the spring as small greenish-yellow spots on the upper leaf surface that, by mid-summer, progress to black tar-like spots about 0.5 inch in size. The disease is not fatal to the tree, but the appearance of the tar spots alarms some tree owners. A major outbreak in New York about 10 years ago left many maples completely defoliated by mid-August.

Full Article >>>

Diplodia Tip Blight of Two-Needle Pines, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Boxwood Blight, The Education Store
Disease of Landscape Plants: Cedar Apple and Related Rusts on Landscape Plants, The Education Store
Planting Your Tree Part 1: Choosing Your Tree, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Planting Part 2: Planting a Tree, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Purdue Landscape Report

Janna Beckerman, Professor of Plant Pathology
Purdue Department of Botany and Plant Pathology

Purdue Landscape Report: We receive a large number of spruce samples each year at the Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory (PPDL), with the vast majority being from Colorado blue spruce with needlecast. Many others show lower needle yellowing, which could be associated with nutrient deficiency or root stress.

Figure 2: A young spruce tree under the effects of transplant and root stress.


Figure 1: A spruce tree suffering from root damage and water stress.

However we are receiving an increasing number of Norway spruce samples with small branch dieback from the tips. This tip dieback symptom can have many causes: cold injury, root damage manifesting in branch dieback, Diplodia tip blight (caused by Diplodia sapinea, the same pathogen that causes tip blight in pine), and Cytospora canker. Phomopsis, another fungal pathogen which causes tip blight on spruce in nursery situations has been observed in greater frequency since 2012 by plant diagnostic labs in the North Central region causing cankers and tip dieback in more mature spruce trees in the landscape.

Figure 4: Phomopsis dieback with excessive needle loss on branch tips.


Figure 3: Dieback symptoms in a mature tree associated with Phomopsis infection.

The disease begins in the lower canopy and moves upward, but in some cases it progresses quickly, causing dieback through a large portion of the tree. Besides needle death and drop, there are virtually no other external symptoms to indicate where the original infection took place. Occasionally you may find resin building on the outside of a canker. Cutting into the thin bark will show the brown discolored tissue where the canker is developing. Cankers are often located in between two areas of healthy tissue. This can lead to older needle loss similar to needlecast diseases, but leaving terminal buds alive. However, once the pathogen spreads and girdles the branch, the rest of the branch will begin to die out to the tip.

For full article >>>

Borers of Pines and Other Needle Bearing Evergreens in Landscapes, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Ask an Expert Question: Blue Spruce dying, what can I do?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Why Spruce Trees Lose Their Needles, Purdue Extension
Diseases Common in Blue Spruce, Purdue Extension

John Bonkowski, Plant Disease Diagnostician
Purdue Department of Botany and Plant Pathology

Purdue Landscape Report: When the irises begin to bloom, expect up to 1.5 million cicadas per acre to begin boiling out of the ground. This spring Indiana will see the emergence of the 17-year cicadas (Brood X). These insects feed underground for most of their lives drinking sap from tree roots. Once every 17 years they emerge en masse, climb up trees, sing (though it sounds more like screaming), mate, and lay their eggs on the tips of tree branches. This cycle is completely natural and has a long history in written and oral records. Cicadas are not harmful to humans, provide a feast for wildlife, and mostly only cause cosmetic injury to trees. However, there are some trees that will need protection to survive.


17-year cicadas have much brighter colors than their annual cousins. They can be recognized by their bright red eyes, black bodies, and orange wing veins. Image by John Obermeyer, Purdue Entomology, Purdue University.

Cicada Emergence Timing and Locations
Where can you find cicadas?
17-year cicadas can be found throughout Indiana but the biggest populations will be in southern Indiana. According to Cicada Mania, these cicadas were reported to be more abundant in the following areas during their last emergence in 2004: “Bloomington, Brookville, Clinton Falls, Dillsboro, Fishers, French Lick, Indianapolis, Lawrenceburg, Lexington, Martinsville, McCormick’s Creek State Park, Nashville, North Vernon, Skiles Test Park, Spencer”

Cicadas need to feed on trees nearly constantly for most of their lives. They are therefore typically only found in areas that had trees 17 years ago and have continued to have trees since then. For example, an area that was forest 17 years ago but was cleared for farmland 10 years ago will not have a cicada emergence because the cicadas had no tree roots to feed on for the past 7 years. An area that was farmland 17 years ago and was recently planted with trees will also not have a cicada emergence because there were no trees on which the cicadas laid their eggs. However, a forested area or a city park that has had trees constantly for the last 17 years has a high chance of having a cicada emergence this spring.
When will 17-year cicadas emerge?
Timing of the 17-year cicada emergence depends on temperature. We can therefore expect them to emerge from the southern part of the state several weeks before they emerge in the north. The weather can also have an impact on emergence. For example, a warm spring might make them emerge sooner while a cold spring will delay the emergence. However, in most places the major emergences are expected to start in mid-April and continue through mid-May. A good rule of thumb is to expect the cicadas to emerge around the same time as irises start to bloom. You can also use the emergence calculator to estimate when they will come out in your area.

An example of a heavily damaged full grown tree. The brown, dead leaves are twigs that were killed by cicada egg laying. The damage may look severe, but this tree should recover from the cicada damage by the following year. Image by John Obermeyer, Purdue Entomology, Purdue University.

Cicada Visual ID

What do cicadas look like?
Cicadas tend to have sturdy, thick bodies with mostly clear wings that are longer than their bodies. 17-year cicadas are distinctive from the annual cicadas in that their bodies are a dark, nearly black brown with amber highlights on their wing veins, and red eyes (figure 1). Check out this video to see the full life cycle and hear what a chorus of cicadas sounds like!

How many species of cicadas are there in Indiana?
There are more than you’d think! There are three main species of 17-year cicada in Indiana and about 16 species of annual and 13-year cicadas. You can find a full list here.

Cicada Damage and Control
What do cicadas prefer to eat?
17-year cicadas aren’t picky! They’ll feed on more than 270 species of woody plants. They show a slight preference for deciduous trees like maple, fruit trees, oak, and dogwood, but will generally feed on any deciduous tree or bush available to them.

How do cicadas injure plants?
Cicadas lay eggs by stabbing their ovipositor into tree bark. This can create scars in the bark. If enough cicadas lay eggs on a small branch, it can kill the twig. As a result, large trees sometimes have minor dieback at the ends of branches but overall tree health isn’t affected (figure 2). Small or young trees and shrubs, however, may be more seriously harmed.

What kind of plants should be protected from cicadas?
Cicada females prefer to lay their eggs in branches that are about 3/16 to 1/2 inch in diameter. Therefore, young deciduous trees or bushes that have major branches less than ½ inches in diameter should be protected in areas with high numbers of cicadas emerging. Mature trees do not require protection.


All vulnerable parts of trees should be completely covered. Note how the branches are fully covered by the fine netting and the fabric is tied tightly at the trunk of the tree. Photo by James B Hanson USDA Forest Service.

How should I protect my trees from cicadas?
Homeowners only need to worry if they have newly planted trees (3-4 years old). The best way to protect these young trees is to cover them in a mesh fabric for the ~1 month period when the cicadas are active in the area. The mesh bags can be made from a variety of materials as long as the holes are smaller than 1 cm (~3/8 inch). Drape the fabric over all the twigs and branches that are smaller than 3/8 inches and secure it at the bottom so that cicadas cannot climb up from underneath (figure 3). The goal is to prevent the cicadas from having access to the branches so that they will lay their eggs elsewhere.

Larger trees do not need to be protected from cicadas. They may experience minor dieback at the tips of branches, but this will not harm the overall health of the tree. If you find these dead twigs unsightly, you can either trim them off or hire an arborist to remove them.


Fruit Growers and Nurseries:
 We recommend netting over insecticides. Netting reduces injury by over 95%, while insecticides only reduce injury by 75%. Also, the insecticides that work best against cicadas are likely to kill helpful insects and cause problems with spider mites later in the season. Netting will keep the cicadas off of the trees without running the chance of the negative side effects of insecticides. However, we recognize that for large plantings netting isn’t practical. In these cases, pyrethroid insecticides will need to be applied repeatedly to trees during the ~1 month period when cicadas are active. Make sure to carefully read the labels before using them.
Learn more
The best way to keep up to date about this spring’s cicada emergence is to either sign up for our Cicada Newsletter or follow Purdue Entomology on Twitter or Facebook. We will share updates about the emergence timeline, any updates to management recommendations, community science programs, crafts for kids, and more. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the authors!
Billions of Cicadas Are Coming This Spring; What Does That Mean for Wildlife?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR)
17 Ways to Make the Most of the 17-year Cicada Emergence, Purdue College of Agriculture
Ask an Expert: Cicada Emergence Video, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension-FNR
Periodical Cicada in Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Cicada Killers, The Education Store
Elizabeth Barnes, Exotic Forest Pest Educator
Purdue University Department of Entomology
Cliff Sadof, Professor / Ornamental / Pest Management / Coordinator of Extension
Purdue University Department of Entomology

Posted on January 4th, 2021 in Disease, Forestry, How To, Plants, Publication | No Comments »

FNR-614-WWell-maintained trees provide many benefits including increased property values, improved air quality and curb appeal. Trees are living organisms making them vulnerable to pests and environmental extremes resulting in health issues which result in defects. This publication will help guide you on where and how to identify tree defects and a better understanding of when to contact an arborist for assistance.

Tree wounds and healing, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
How to Identify Tree Defects and What to Do About It?, Got Nature? Blog
Iron Chlorosis of Trees and Shrubs, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
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

Purdue Landscape Report: Tubakia leaf spot, caused by the fungus Tubakia, is the disease we find more commonly on oak than any other. Throughout the world, there are 11 species of Tubakia known to infect oak, with Tubakia dryina (previously known as Actinopelte dryina) being the most commonly encountered species in our landscapes. Apple, ash, black gum, chestnut, elm, maple, and redbud are all reported as hosts of Tubakia species, but oaks are the most frequently and severely affected. Among the oaks, the red oak group, specifically red, pin, and black oaks, are reported to be more susceptible to infection compared to those in the white oak group.


Figure 2: Oak leaf with circular shaped Tubakia leaf spots along with extensive veinal necrosis.


Figure 1: Oak leaf with irregularly shaped Tubakia leaf spots and veinal necrosis.

Leaf spots appear in mid to late summer (July –August) as small circular to irregular tan, red-brown, to dark brown spots (Figure 1, 2) that expand to approximately the size of a dime overtime, but can coalesce, forming large areas of necrotic tissue (Figure 3) . When a spot reaches a leaf vein it expands very quickly, causing a necrotic streak along the vein, and can cause blighting of most of the leaf (Figure 4, 5). Trees under stress from other causes will frequently exhibit more severe leaf spotting compared to healthier trees. Premature defoliation can occur in these situations.

Figure 3: Marginal blighting due to coalescing spots and veinal necrosis.


Figure 5: Blighting of large leaf area caused by veinal infection by Tubakia.


Figure 4: Typical Tubakia leaf spot symptoms illustrating how the fungus spreads along leaf veins.

The pathogen produces conidia within shield shaped structures called pycniothyria (Figure 6) which can be found on both the top or bottom surface of the leaf and along veins (Figure 7). These structures are very small and can only be seen with a 40x or stronger hand lens. The fungus overwinters on fallen leaves and on dead stems which act as the source of inoculum for the next year. During early spring, spores are spread by wind and water splash dispersal (rain) to healthy new foliage. However, it takes time for symptoms to develop throughout the season, depending on tree stress and environmental conditions (warm wet weather favors spread).
For full article view: Purdue Landscape Report, Purdue Landscape Report.

Diseases of Landscape Plants: Leaf Diseases, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Consumer Horticulture: Fertilizing Woody Plants, The Education Store
Tree Disease; Oak Wilt in Indiana, The Education Store
Diseases of Soybean: Frogeye Leaf Spot, The Education Store
Bur Oak, Purdue Arboretum Explorer
Bur Oak, Native Trees of Indiana River Walk, Purdue Fort Wayne
Find an Arborist,

John Bonkowski, Plant Disease Diagnostician
Purdue Department of Botany and Plant Pathology

Tom C Creswell, Clinical Engagement Professor – PPDL
Purdue Department of Botany and Plant Pathology

NOTAwardBannerThe Nature of Teaching, a Purdue Extension signature program, was honored as the third place finisher in the central region for the Environmental Education Award presented by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Science (NEAFCS).
The Environmental Education Award recognizes NEAFCS members for outstanding educational programs conducted for families and/or communities on various environmental issues/concerns.
The Nature of Teaching includes formal standards-base curricula and informal activity-based curricula centered around getting youth outside. The program curricula is focused on three areas: Wildlife, Health and Wellness, and Food Waste. Classroom ready lesson plans for grades kindergarten through 12 are available as are professional development workshops for teachers, focused on science, the environment and getting students connected with nature.
“I’m very happy to have the Nature of Teaching team recognized by our professional association as many team members are also members of the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences,” health and human sciences extension educator Kelsie Jo Muller said. “The Nature of Teaching team has developed over multiple years and added different discipline areas all working together. It’s great to see all of the hard work recognized.”

NOTTeamThe Nature of Teaching team includes:

  • Deb Arseneau, HHS Educator, Newton County
  • Jarred Brooke, extension wildlife specialist
  • Jay Christiansen, health and human sciences extension educator for Vigo County
  • Robert Cordes, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) wildlife special projects coordinator
  • Molly Hoag, health and human sciences extension educator for Wells County
  • Molly Hunt, health and human sciences extension educator for Delaware County
  • Rebecca Koetz, urban ag/home horticulture extension educator for Lake County
  • Tami Mosier, 4-H youth development extension educator
  • Kelsie Muller, health and human sciences extension educator for Benton County
  • Dr. Rod Williams, professor and extension wildlife specialist
  • Brad Zitscke, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) assistant regional wildlife biologist
All of the NEAFCS awards will be presented in September as part of the NEAFCS Virtual Annual Session.
Nature of Teaching
Nature of Teaching YouTube Channel
Transporting Food Waste, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Resourceful Animal Relationships, The Education Store
Benefits of Connecting with Nature, The Education Store

Nature of Teaching

Join Purdue Extension urban forester Lindsey Purcell, exotic forest pest educator Elizabeth Barnes and entomology extension specialist Cliff Sadof as they share about how to inspect trees, what to look for, who to contact, etc., as well what invasive pests and diseases you should keep your eye out for.

If you have any questions regarding trees, forests, wildlife, wood products or other natural resource topics, feel free to contact us by using our Ask an Expert web page.

Ask an Expert, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Tree Risk Management, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees, The Educational Store
Surface Root Syndrome, The Education Store
Iron Chlorosis of Trees and Shrubs, The Education Store
Facebook Live – Ask The Expert: Pests in Your Woods, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Fall webworms: Should you manage them, Got Nature? Blog
How to Identify Tree Defects and What to Do about It?, Got Nature? Blog

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

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

Cliff Sadof, Professor / Ornamental / Pest Management / Coordinator of Extension
Purdue University, Department of Entomology

Posted on September 29th, 2020 in Disease, Forestry, How To, Plants, Urban Forestry, Woodlands | No Comments »

Purdue Landscape Report: Trees are incredible survivors in spite of the challenges from pests of all kinds, including us! They are vulnerable to injuries such as mechanical wounds from lawn equipment, vehicles and ice. Pruning results in an intentional wound which is of importance to consider. Tree owners and managers need to prune trees to maintain aesthetic characteristics, remove infected limbs, reduce risk, or improve structural stability. Proper pruning practice and understanding tree wounds can minimize the impact of creating wounds on trees.

Wounds attract pests due to the phytochemicals dispersed from exposed tissue. When tree tissue is damaged or wounded, the newly uncovered tissue is exposed and that is when to expect an attack. Insect pests are drawn to trees in distress, feeding on the tissue and weakening the tree. Diseases affecting trees will introduce enzymes into the cells, digesting living tissue responsible for food and water translocation (phloem and xylem) or structural support resulting in unhealthy, unsightly, or unsafe trees.

Wound wood Formation
Trees attempt to close wounds by sealing or compartmentalizing the affected area, naturally.


Tree trunk damaged by construction equipment developing wound wood around the edges to eventually seal the wound.

callus tissue

Pruning cuts will develop callus tissue on the exposed tissue giving rise to wound wood.

Wounding of trees during the growing season results in the formation of callus tissue which develops over the wound surface or parts of it. This callus tissue is an unorganized group of important parenchyma cells. As the callus develops and grows, wound wood develops which hopefully will cover the exposed tissue quickly and efficiently.

Wound recovery rates vary widely for different tree species. The speed of recuperation is greatly affected by developmental environmental conditions, vigor and health of the tree. Some trees may never completely close their wounds due to their genetic capacity or perhaps inadequate resources to keep the tree vigorous. However, numerous studies reveal that faster wound closure results in fewer health issues for the tree. Quick healing is always better!

A healthy tree will seal wounds faster and the same for younger trees as well. Trees that are planted in well-drained, quality soils, with good texture, structure, and containing adequate nutrition levels, grow in a way that favors the healing process. Thus, when planting trees, homeowners should be aware of the effects of site selection, soil quality, and other site factors that may impact tree growth.

Wound dressings

Wound dressings slow closure and can prevent healing.


Complete wound closure improves tree health and slows decay.




Faster closure
There are few ways wound closure can be hastened, or at least not inhibited. First, it is essential to avoid limiting oxygen availability to the wounded tissues. Oxygen is necessary for proper recovery. For example, painting a wound with any kind of material that interferes or impedes oxygen will slow or even prevent wound closure by poor callus formation. Wound treatment with petroleum-based products is not recommended. In fact, research indicates any type of wound dressing can slow the healing process. There is one exception for treating wounds. This is in areas where oak wilt disease occurs, wound paints may be useful in preventing insect spread of the oak wilt fungal pathogen.

Basically, the best way to help insure proper wound closure and quick and effective sealing of the tissue is a proper pruning cut and preventing damage whenever possible.

Find a professional
Be sure to always hire an insured, tree care professional, preferably and ISA Certified Arborist with the experience, expertise, and equipment to provide proper tree care. Require proof of liability insurance to protect yourself as well.

Another easy way to find a tree care service provider in your area is to use the “Locate Your Local Tree Care Industry Association Member Companies” program. For more information refer to the publication Trees and Utilities at the Purdue Education Store.

Find an ISA Certified Arborist in your area by visiting the Trees Are Good website.

Tree Pruning Essentials, Publication & Video, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Pruning: What Do Trees Think?, The Education Store
Mechanical Damage to Trees: Mowing and Maintenance Equipment, The Education Store
Tree Installation Process and Practices, The Education Store
Tree Pruning for the Landscape, Webinar, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube channel

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

Got Nature?