Got Nature? Blog

Posted on June 21st, 2022 in Forestry, Gardening, How To, Urban Forestry, Woodlands | No Comments »

Osage-orange tree in woods. For more information contact Lenny Farlee at lfarlee@purdue.edu or 765.494.2153Question: I am building a hedge row and am contemplating working with Osage-orange seedlings and planting them. Is this a good choice?

Answer: Osage-orange, (Maclura pomifera) aka hedge, hedge-apple, bodark, bois d’arc and several other common names, is a tree native to parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, but has been planted in every one of the lower 48 states. The reason for that extensive planting was Osage-orange was promoted as the best tree for “living fences”, which were hedgerows planted to enclose or exclude livestock before the use of barbed wire. Osage-orange was also widely panted as a hedge-row and windbreak by the conservation programs of the FDR administration in the 1930’s. You can still encounter some of those old hedgerows on the landscape. It made a good hedgerow because the stems have stout thorns at the base of the leaves and will produce large and dense sprout colonies when cut back or pruned. It produced a living fence described as “horse-high, bull-strong, and pig-tight”.

The wood of Osage-orange was also used for wagon wheel parts, tool handles and fence posts due to its strength and rot-resistance. I have met a few landowners who showed me Osage gate or fence posts they had helped set as a child that were still in good condition 60 or more years later. It is also an excellent firewood, with one of the highest BTU yields of any native tree. Native peoples used straight-grained Osage-orange wood for outstanding bows, thus the French name bois d’arc and the English derivation bodark. Some crafters still seek Osage wood for making traditional bows or for turnings and other decorative items. The wood becomes so hard and dense with drying that it is recommended in most cases to work it green. The yellow-orange fresh wood color gradually ages to a deep reddish brown.

Osage-orange may have had more favorable treatment as a wood for many uses were it not for the tendency of the tree to fork, bend and twist, making straight, long stems uncommon.

The fruit of Osage-orange is where this and the hedge-apple name comes from. Osage-orange is neither a citrus tree nor an apple, but the large, round, green to yellow fruit suggest each to some extent. The interlacing bumps and crevices and the round shape suggest a brain to many, including myself. The closest relatives of Osage-orange are actually the mulberries. The size of this fruit and the limited number of current animals that will use it have prompted some to suggest it was originally eaten and propagated by large, and now extinct, ice-age animals such as the giant ground sloth, mammoth, and mastodon.

Osage-orange has many interesting and sometimes useful characteristics, but it can also become weedy in some situations. It can spread by seed or sprouts into disturbed areas like abandoned fields, farmlands, or grazed areas and out-compete native vegetation. For these reasons, planting new areas to Osage-orange is usually discouraged.

Resources:
You Say Hedge-Apple, I Say Osage Orange!, Indiana Yard and Garden – Purdue Consumer Horticulture.
Osage Orange, The Wood Database
ID That Tree: Osage-Orange, Purdue Extension-FNR’s YouTube playlist
ID That Tree, Purdue Extension-FNR’s YouTube playlist
Windbreaks – Agroforestry for Any Property, Caring for your Woodland, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Extension
The Woody Plant Seed Manual, U.S. Forest Service
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest, The Education Store
Woodland Management Moment , Purdue Extension-FNR’s YouTube playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

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


Spotted lanternfly on tree limb.Spotted lanternfly is a major pest of concern across most of the United States. Spotted lanternfly (SLF) is an invasive planthopper native to China that was first detected in the United States in Pennsylvania in 2014. SLF feeds on over 70+ plant species including fruit, ornamental and woody trees with tree-of-heaven as its preferred host. Spotted lanternfly is a hitchhiker and can easily be moved long distances through human assisted movement.

Tree of heaven (TOH) is the preferred host for the spotted lanternfly (SLF).  The ability to identify TOH will be critical to monitoring the spread of this invasive pest as the 4th-stage nymphs and adult spotted lantern-flies show a strong preference for TOH.

Report a Sighting

  1. Take a picture and note your location.
  2. If you can, collect a sample of the insect by catching it and placing it in a freezer. You can use any container available as long as it has a tight seal (like a water bottle) so that the spotted lanternfly can’t escape.
  3. Report the sighting at DEPP@dnr.in.gov, eddmaps.org, or 1-866-663-9684.

Tree-of-heaven, invasive plant.Stop the Spread

  1. Check your car and outdoor equipment for spotted lanternfly eggs, nymphs, and adults before driving or moving to a new location.
  2. Don’t move firewood because it can spread spotted lanternfly and many other invasive insects.
  3. Stay up to date with the latest spotted lanternfly information by subscribing to our newsletters (www.purduelandscapereport.org/ and www.in.gov/dnr/entomology/entomology-weekly- review/) and following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@reportINvasive and @INdnrinvasive).
  4. Share your spotted lanternfly knowledge with others!

Resources:
Spotted Lanternfly, Indiana Department of Natural Resources Entomology
Spotted Lanternfly Found in Indiana, Purdue Landscape Report
Invasive plants: impact on environment and people, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Woodland Management Moment: Invasive Species Control Process, Video, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
Invasive Species, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
What are invasive species and why should I care?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Report Invasive

Diana Evans, Extension and Web Communication Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

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


Asian ant confirmed in Indiana.

Asian needle ant in
natural setting. Photo by Kevin Weiner, Evansville, IN.

It is official. The Asian needle ant is our newest invasive insect pest and has now become a permanent resident, stinging ant. Two ant specimens taken from a wooded area in southern Indiana by an astute amateur entomologist, who observed their appearance and behavior as ‘out of the ordinary’, was submitted to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and to the Purdue University Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory for species identification in February, 2022. Both were confirmed to be Formicidae: Brachyponera chinensis, commonly known as the Asian needle ant, not previously recorded from Indiana.

Asian needle ants (ANAs), originally from Eastern Asia (China, Japan, and Korea), were first discovered in the United States in the early 1930s, but only recognized as a pest since 2006. They have been officially established in several states in the U.S. including North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia and, have been anecdotally reported as far north and west as New York, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Note that stings to humans will be moderately painful (potentially causing severe allergic reactions to susceptible individuals) much like fire ant or bee stings, but fortunately because these ants are much less aggressive in protecting their nests, the number of stings per encounter will be less.

The First Report of the Invasive Asian Needle Ant in Indiana pdf provides more details on their identification and biology.

Asian ant stinger, now seen in Indiana.

Asian needle ant stinger extended. Photo by Kevin Weiner, Evansville, IN.

If you want to confirm a sighting of the Asian needle ant please contact the Purdue University Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at this time. More information will be presented as experts monitor the spread.

Resources:
Thousand Cankers Disease, collaborative website
Thousand Cankers Disease, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Thousand Cankers Disease: Indiana Walnut Trees Threatened, Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory
Indiana Walnut Council
Spotted lanternfly: Everything You Need to Know in 30 Minutes, Video, Emerald Ash Borer University
Emerald Ash Borer, EAB Information Network
Invasive plants: impact on environment and people, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Woodland Management Moment: Invasive Species Control Process, Video, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
Invasive Species, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
What are invasive species and why should I care?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Report Invasive
Indiana Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Tim Gibb, Insect Diagnostician and Extension Specialist
Purdue Department of Entomology 


Purdue Landscape Report sharing resources on spotted lanternfly.The interdisciplinary faculty and staff behind the Purdue Landscape Report, which provides science-based, timely information regarding Midwest landscapes to commercial growers, garden centers, landscapers, arborists and the general public, has been named as the recipient of the Purdue Agriculture TEAM Award, which was created in 1995 to recognize interdisciplinary team achievements of faculty and staff.
Teams must consist of three or more Purdue faculty and administrative/professional staff members. Team projects should include activities in one or more of the College mission areas of teaching, research and extension, and must have made demonstrable impact.

Led by Kyle Daniel, nursery and landscape outreach specialist in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, the Purdue Landscape Report is a collaborative effort between Purdue Extension specialists and diagnosticians in the departments of Botany and Plant Pathology, Entomology, Forestry and Natural Resources, and Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Articles cover everything from urban forestry and tree maintenance to pest and disease problems and management to plant selection and turf science. In addition to an email newsletter and online blog, PLR staff also provide live interactive webinars in order to highlight content and respond to questions from the audience.

“I believe this team embodies the spirit of this award – working together across department in the College,” said Dr. Linda Prokopy, Department Head in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. “This team has indeed achieved more and is a consistent source of reliable, science-based information for homeowners and the green industry. The PLR team is doing a phenomenal job meeting the needs of an important industry in the state and they are very deserving of being recognized for this work.”
In the nomination for the TEAM Award, the impact of the Purdue Landscape Report team was described as:
“The quality of life and livelihood of many Hoosiers is greatly improved when cities and towns have healthy trees, shrubs, and flower beds. The task of growing and maintaining these plants is complicated by conflicting, incomplete or inaccurate media reports about the arrival of new pests and diseases; or how landscape choices, or use of certain management practices can have a negative impact on the environment and public health. Tree owners, landscapers and the professional workforce need timely science-based information to keep plants healthy in an environmentally sustainable manner.”
Since launching in February 2018, the Purdue Landscape Report has included more than 200 articles. PLR is sent out in a bi-weekly email newsletter to more than 4,000 subscribers nationwide. The online blog brought in 180,376 unique visitors in 2020.

In response to the pandemic, the Purdue Landscape Report staff also began a live, to addresses articles and hot topics. That series garnered more than 2,000 views.
In a January 2021 survey sent to PLR subscribers, 88% of respondents said they believed that the newsletter improved their ability to diagnose a problem, while 76% said that PLR has had a positive economic impact on their business.

A local professional shared that “Sometimes when I open up the PLR, it is like you have been reading my mind. The problem I have been seeing or thinking about is there in your headlines.”

Lindsey Purcell sharing tree planting tips at outside workshop. Purdue Landscape Report receives TEAM award.One PLR subscriber said “The Purdue Landscape Report is a great resource for myself and my team members. Within each issue is one or more topics that our team has encountered or discussed recently and the information provided by a very reputable source gives us the material needed to provide the best service to our clients and increase our knowledge base. The virtual sessions are another great resource provided that give an opportunity to have specific questions answered by experts.”

The impact extends from landowners to industry professionals and beyond.

“Often we take for granted the information produced in the PLR and we forget the countless dollars we have saved from information in the PLR,” said Rick Haggard, Indiana Nursery and Landscape Association Executive Director.

“The Purdue Landscape Report provides timely information to the Indiana Arborist Association members and associated parties in a format that is easily accessed and understood,” Associate Executive Director of IAA Ashley Mulis said. “The collaboration that goes into providing this product demonstrates the cohesive nature of several departments within Purdue University and the open sharing and comparison of information. The Purdue Landscape Report is an excellent addition to the many publications offered within Purdue Extension  in helping resource professionals manage the ever-changing landscape of pests, diseases and best management practices.”

In 2020, the PLR received the Extension Division Education Materials Award for Outstanding Blog presented by the American Society of Horticultural Science and received also earned the Team Award from the Purdue Cooperative Extension Specialists’ Association (PUCESA).
For team list and full article view: Purdue Landscape Report Selected for TEAM Award.
Wendy Mayer, FNR Communications Coordinator
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

In this episode of A Woodland Management Moment, Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee talks about how you can use nuts and seeds left dropped by existing trees, from walnuts to oaks and hickories, to establish new seedlings in other areas of your landscape through a process called direct seeding.

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.

Resources:
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
ID That Tree, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
Resources and Assistance Available for Planting Hardwood Seedlings, The Education Store
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners Video Series, Playlist, Indiana Department of Natural Resources YouTube Channel
Ask an Expert: Tree Selection and Planting, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel

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

 


Posted on September 10th, 2021 in Gardening, Wildlife | No Comments »

Tribune-Star: Both my son and daughter raised rabbits as members of 4-H, so for years our barn served as a makeshift hutch, complete with wire cages, watering and feeding bowls, and fur — lots of fur, some still sticking to the old building’s dusty rafters all this time later.

My brother and sister and I also grew up with rabbits, although it was through the likes of immortal “Bugs Bunny” features, such as “The Rabbit of Seville” (yes, with Bugs massaging Elmer Fudd’s head to the music of Rossini)Two rabbits on grass. and “14 Karat Rabbit” (featuring a greedy gold mining “Yosemite Sam”). I plan to share those cartoons with my grandsons, and sure hope they have the opportunity to watch them as we did: on a Saturday morning; not fully dressed; with few cares in the world; preferably, a bowl of cereal in hand.

That being said, I have no predisposed dislike of rabbits at all. But this summer has tested my patience as far as the Eastern Cottontail is concerned; they’ve invaded my property in record numbers. I have never seen so many rabbits short of a show at the fairgrounds, not even in my more innocent Warner Brothers days.

They seem to be everywhere: peeking out from beneath my car when I walk out the door; startled from a flower bed or garden when I reach for a weed to pull; nibbling about in our yard as we watch from our windows in the evenings. Some of them hardly even move now when I show up; I honestly think I could get them to eat out of my hand.

I don’t think our infestation approaches what’s happened in Australia. According to a 2020 “National Geographic” article, European rabbits were introduced to the continent in 1859 (I also read 1788 in another story) so they could be hunted; just 13 were originally brought in. By the turn of the century, the rabbits constituted one of the greatest invasive threats any country has ever experienced. They destroyed crops at prodigious rates, caused erosion, and nearly restructured the continent’s biodiversity. Fences, poisons, traps, even the use of rabbit-sensitive pathogens were used to try to control them; it’s estimated — despite doubled-down efforts with new pathogens — that there are over 200 million feral rabbits there now.

In a summer that has already been a bit out of whack, I have lately begun to wonder if it’s just me, or are there others seeing an uptick in rabbit populations too? And, before I take this any further, I’ll say that I am ruling out eliminating our problem with a shotgun, let alone pathogens. Just a few trips decades ago with a hardcore-hunting grandfather ended my ambitions for putting rabbits on our supper table; I tend to live and let live, and, of course, complain.

Not only did the furry little vandals eat all of the swamp milkweed I was growing for our monarch butterflies, they have gnawed off sunflowers — both planted and volunteer — and have, in particular, eaten many of our late-blooming hostas (nearly ready to flower) that must be particularly tender and tasty.

Purdue University Extension Specialist Jarred Brooke says, “I have received reports of abundant rabbits around the state. There are likely several causes for this, but it is hard to pin down the exact causes. Cottontail populations tend to be cyclical … One year the population may be booming, and then the next you might not see many. And it’s really hard to predict when those cycles will occur.”

Brooke says that things like mild winters — which we have luckily had these past few years — allow cottontails to breed earlier and more often, bring on lush green vegetation, and often allow predators to choose from a more varied menu than in summers following harsh winters.

“It’s hard to say exactly what is going on this year, but it sounds like we are in the increasing phase of their cycle, which is normal, “Brooke says. “Adding in the fact that many cottontail predators in some areas had an easy meal this spring with cicadas certainly doesn’t hurt. With that said, I don’t know any research that has linked rabbit populations with cicadas, but cicadas have been linked to population increases in other mammals, turkeys and songbirds.”

Brian McGowan, Certified Wildlife Biologist through Purdue University’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, says it’s nearly impossible to tell when we are having a big rabbit year: “Methods like roadkill surveys or bow hunter surveys provide some information, as well as annual harvest; however, these and other methods have a time lag element to them where they are done once a year and the data is not always immediately analyzed.”

Full article > > >

Resources:
Wildlife Habitat Hint, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube channel
Considerations for Trapping Nuisance Wildlife with Box Traps, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Preventing Wildlife Damage – Do You Need a Permit? – The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Selecting a Nuisance Wildlife Control Professional, The Education Store
How to Construct a Scent Station, The Education Store
Question: How do I properly relocate raccoons from my attic?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension FNR

Jarred Brooke, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources

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


Posted on July 30th, 2021 in Forestry, Gardening, Plants, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »
In this spring bloom edition of ID That Tree, meet a rare find in Indiana, the yellowwood tree, a species native to Brown County. This species is recognizable by clusters of white flowers that bloom in May/June, compound leaves and smooth gray bark that resembles American beech.

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

Resources:
ID That Tree, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR Youtube Channel
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
Yellowwood, The Purdue Arboretum Explorer

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


In this episode of A Woodland Management Moment, Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee talks about a variety of hand tools you can use to assist with invasive species control and timber stand improvement on your property if you choose not to use power tools.

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.

Resources:
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
ID That Tree, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners Video Series, Playlist, Indiana Department of Natural Resources YouTube Channel

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

 

 


 

Cicada Damage Photo

Image 1. Cicada damage is typically restricted to the small, outer twigs. Trees may be completely covered by cicadas or have a few isolated dead twigs. All trees in these images are expected to suffer no serious long term effects from this damage. Images by Clifford Sadof of Purdue University and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – Forestry.

Purdue Landscape Report: Dead leaves covering trees (image 1) or on the ground beneath them (image 2) in July would normally be a worrying sign for tree health, but this year much of the damage can be blamed on 17-year cicadas. This damage is unlikely to cause serious trouble for healthy, large trees and management is relatively simple. The choice to prune or not to prune comes down to cost, aesthetics, and concern for the next generation of cicadas.

How Cicadas Damage Plants

Cicada damage is similar to a light pruning and should not be an issue for healthy, mature trees. Cicadas damage trees when they lay their eggs in small twigs (3/16 to 1/2 inch in diameter) on deciduous trees and shrubs. They have a long, thin body part called an ovipositor that resembles a sewing needle that they stab into plants to lay their eggs. This action creates small holes and cracks in the bark (image 3). If enough cicadas lay their eggs in a twig, it can damage the bark enough to kill the twig (image 1).

Cicada Damage Leaves on Ground Photo

Image 2. The dead twigs killed by cicada egg laying may break off the tree and litter the ground underneath. Image by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – Forestry.

Recognizing Cicada Damage
The degree of cicada damage depends on insect density and the number of trees in the area. To determine if a tree or bush has been damaged by cicadas, ask the following questions:

Cicada Scars Photo

Image 3. Cicada egg laying damage varies between tree species, but is consistently in a straight, length-wise line along the branch. Note that all four examples also have signs of either puncture marks, cracks in the bark, or some combination of the two. Images by John Ghent, Clifford Sadof of Purdue University, Tim Tigner of Virginia Department of Forestry, and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – Forestry.

1.  Were there 17-year cicadas within 50 meters (~164 ft) of the tree this year? Cicadas do not travel very far. If there weren’t noticeable numbers of 17-year cicadas nearby the damage was likely caused by something else.
2.  Is the damage on a deciduous tree or bush? Cicadas rarely lay their eggs on evergreen trees and herbaceous plants. Damage on these types of plants is likely caused by something other than the cicadas.
3.  What size of branches and twigs are damaged? Cicadas show a strong preference for small twigs (3/16 to 1/2 inch in diameter). As a result, damaged trees may appear as though their outer layer of leaves is dead while the inner leaves remain healthy (image 2). If larger branches are dead, the damage was probably not caused by cicadas.
4.  Does the bark have typical egg laying damage? If you can reach the damaged twigs, look for a row of puncture wounds often connected by cracks length-wise along the branch. Their appearance may vary between tree species (image 3), but they will almost always be length-wise.

Full Article >>>

Resources:
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
Cicada, Youth and Entomology, Purdue Extension
Purdue Cicada Tracker, Purdue Extension-Master Gardener Program
Purdue Landscape Report

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


Purdue Landscape Report: Pruning is an important maintenance practice on trees that is discussed a great deal. An essential part of making the pruning cut properly is the ability to identify the parts of a branch. Identification of the branch bark ridge and branch collar are vital to severing the branch in a place that facilitates fast and effective wound closure, reducing decay in the location of the cut.

Branches on trees arise from lateral buds present in leaf axils. Initially, lateral shoots (branches) grow in length and diameter at approximately the same rate as the parent stem. As branches become shaded naturally by crown expansion, photosynthesis is reduced in that location and growth slows to a lesser rate than the parent or main stem. A swollen area or collar develops at the junction of branch and stem because of their differential growth rates and by the intermingling of vascular tissues from both the branch and the stem or trunk.

This swollen area is commonly referred to as a branch collar and often present in many branches on the underside of the branch. This specialized location on the branch is composed of trunk (parent stem) wood. The branch collar contains a protective chemical zone that inhibits the movement of decay organisms from dead or dying branches into healthy tissues of the parent stem. As branches begin to die from shading, pests or storm damage, for examples, they usually are walled off (compartmentalized) by tissues in the branch collar which prevents movement of decay organisms into the parent stem.

Branch Collar and Branch Park Ridge Image

Identify the branch collar and branch bark ridge to perform a good cut, which is just outside the line.

Another important branch component to identify in tree branches is the branch bark ridge. This part of the attachment is composed of rough, usually darkened, raised bark formed at the union where the branch meets the parent stem. The ridge extends from the top of the branch down both sides of the branch union. Together with the branch collar, the portion of the ridge pushed up in the union provides our target for the pruning cut. The BBR is present on every branch union and is an important identifying feature for determining tool placement.

Branch Bark Ridge and Branch Collar of a cut branch image

An internal view of the branch collar and branch bark ridge revealing the intermingled stem and branch wood fiber.

The combination of the branch collar, branch bark ridge, and the overlap between the branch and stem are the branch components that form what is called the branch protection zone. This zone contains specialized chemical compounds that help resist the spread of disease in the tree and facilitate wound-sealing. Always avoid damaging the area within the branch collar and branch bark ridge to help the tree recover from the pruning cut as quickly as possible.

Branch Protection Zone Image

The Branch Protection Zone is an area that contains specialized chemicals to assist with the healing process after pruning.

For the best advice on tree maintenance and care, seek out a tree care professional with the experience and expertise to care for your trees. Search for a tree care provider in your area. Also, consider hiring an ISA Certified Arborist which can be found here.

Resources:
Planting Your Tree Part 1: Choosing Your Tree, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Planting Part 2: Planting a Tree, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Selection for the “Un-natural” Environment, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Installation: Process and Practices, The Education Store
Tree Pruning Essentials, The Education Store
Tree Pruning Essentials Video, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Purdue Landscape Report

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


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