Got Nature? Blog

leaningTrees

Leaning trees can be a risk to neighboring property owners.

Purdue Landscape Report: I hear this complaint or issue more frequently, “what can I do about the neighbor’s tree?” or “my neighbor just butchered my tree!”.  Often, we see issues with a neighboring tree that may threaten safety or appears to be an elevated risk.  For example, from the view of your window, you see your neighbor’s tree dropping dead branches all over your driveway. Or, you can’t see a favorable view at all because of that tree or unruly hedge. Or you are certain that the neighbor’s tree will eventually fall onto your garage.

Before you take any action, establish ownership of the tree, and find out if you have rights to work on the offending vegetation. Otherwise, it can land you into a contentious legal situation.

Some questions to consider include:

When tree limbs or even the trunk of the tree crosses property line, are you within your rights to prune or remove it?

propertyBoundry

Check with local government websites for property maps which can help identify boundaries.

Boundary laws vary with every state. Often the boundary lines are uncertain or assumed based on local information. However, in contentious situations that may result in major modifications to a tree, it is advised to get a survey to establish exactly who owns the tree.

 

Rights are determined by who owns the tree. Check with your town, city, county and state municipalities for regulations about trees and property lines. The rights and responsibility for care and maintenance of trees are assigned to its owner, and ownership is determined by the location of the tree’s trunk. If the trunk is located entirely on the neighbor’s land even if its limbs or branches overhang onto your land, the neighbor is the tree’s owner. The neighbor has the sole right to preserve the tree or cut it down. This is true regardless of the neighbor’s motivation or the impact the tree removal would have on your land.

professionalArboristHelp

An ISA certified arborist can provide mitigation options that are best for the tree and helpful for the tree owner.

It is always best practice and considerate to first ask your neighbor if you can arrange to have it removed or pruned. They might actually appreciate it.

When tree work is required to remove or prune the tree and neighbor conflict exists, have a qualified tree care provider determine the work specifications on exactly how the tree issue should be mitigated. It is usually a bit more complex than simply stating, “cut limbs back to property line.” The work order must reference the ANSI A300 tree pruning standards to assure the procedures being proposed take into consideration the tree’s future health. Ensure that your tree care provider has a copy of their current liability insurance policy on hand. Check their references as well, not all tree care companies are guaranteed to provide the best results for you or your tree.

The best advice is to hire a tree care professional with the experience, expertise, and equipment to assess and safely prune, remove or otherwise care for your or your neighbors’ trees. Search for a tree care provider in your area. Also, consider hiring an ISA Certified Arborist which can be found here.

According to most attorneys, open-minded communications with the neighbor can result in an acceptable resolution for any situation. This will help to avoid contentious, expensive, time consuming, and unpredictable lawsuits.

Resources
Find Qualified Tree Care, Tree Care Industry Association
Find An Arborist, Trees are Good
Tree Pruning Essentials, video and publication, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Forestry and Natural Resources
Construction and Trees: Guidelines for Protection, The Education Store
Question: Can tree roots cause damage to a home’s foundation?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural

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


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.
   
Resources
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

treeAroundHouseQuestion: Can tree roots cause damage to a home’s foundation? I have a 3’ in diameter pin oak tree that is within 10 feet of my house. A certified arborist took a look at it and said that he would like to use an Air Knife to expose the roots near the foundation (a walkout basement) to determine if the roots are causing damage and/or need to be pruned, or whether the tree needs to be removed since it is situated too close to the house. Before I spend $500 for them to use the Air Knife, I wondered if you thought it would be worthwhile or not necessary.

Answer: Tree roots can damage a house foundation, with an invitation to do so. Tree roots are very opportunistic and will only grow and penetrate where it is easiest to grow such as friable soils and mulch. Typically, when roots encounter solid, impervious surfaces such as pipes, sidewalks, curbs and foundations, they are redirected laterally or up and over. However, if there is a breach or a crack nearby, they can and will exploit those voids in search of moisture. Such as sewer pipes aren’t damaged by the roots, they are just very capable of finding those leaks and moving into the moist and often nutrient-rich pipe.

Roots normally grow horizontally and not very far beneath the soil surface. Sometimes when roots encounter the looser backfill soil near the foundation, they can abruptly start growing down. You may be able to locate these roots, if they exist, by excavating a foot or two down within a few feet of the foundation. If you find a suspect root, cut it off. Unfortunately, in some cases excavation down to the base of the foundation may be necessary. This may have to be done anyway to repair and stabilize it. Cutting the roots should prevent future problems, especially if a root barrier is installed to prevent re-growth.

Resources
Surface Root Syndrome, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
The Nature of Teaching: Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees, The Education Store
Construction and Trees: Guidelines for Protection, The Education Store

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


TheHelm-2020-SepThe Helm is a collection of Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG)‘s research, outreach, and education success stories and ongoing activities to address coastal concerns. In this issue, we focus on addressing urban flooding, the seafood trade deficit, critical natural resources, and more.

Headlines from this issue:

  • Building better rain gardens to reduce runoff
  • Regional and local efforts focus on growing aquaculture
  • Science and scientists become real for scientists and teachers
  • Communities set natural resource priorities and create action plans
  • Buoys provide key data to predict dangerous currents

Resources
Ask An Expert: Rainscaping, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Rainscaping Education Program, Purdue University
Master Gardeners Program
Rainscaping, Playlist
Rain Gardens Go with the Flow, Indiana Yard and Garden, Purdue Horticulture
Climate Change: How will you manage stormwater runoff?, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Salmon and Trout of the Great Lakes: A Visual Identification Guide, The Education Store
Pond Management: Stocking Fish in Indiana Ponds, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store
What plants can I landscape with in area that floods with hard rain? Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
New toolkit makes finding weather and climate lesson plans easy, Got Nature? Blog

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG)


Posted on September 23rd, 2020 in Disease, How To, Safety, Wildlife | No Comments »

deerSeptember IDNR Wildlife Bulletin Newsletter: Indiana DNR is conducting targeted surveillance for chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance in northwest and northeast Indiana during the 2020-21 deer hunting season. Hunters may voluntarily submit samples for testing at select fish & wildlife areas (FWAs) and state fish hatcheries (SFHs) throughout the hunting season. Deer heads can be dropped into designated coolers at select FWAs and SFHs or hunters may make an appointment for their harvested deer to be sampled by a biologist during office hours. The 2020-21 sampling locations and their hours of operation are listed on the website. Indiana DNR biologists will intensively sample hunter-harvested deer at local businesses in the surveillance areas during three weekends: Nov. 7-8, 14-15, and 21-22.

Hunters interested in testing a deer for CWD that was harvested outside the CWD surveillance areas may take their deer to select FWAs and SFHs as well. Alternatively, hunters may independently submit their deer to the Purdue Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (ADDL) for testing for a fee. Hunters should complete the submission form and follow the shipping instructions on Purdue ADDL’s website.

Hunters who submit a deer for CWD testing will receive a Deer Management Partner magnet and metal tag reminiscent of Indiana’s historical deer harvest confirmation process.

For more information, please visit the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website.

Resources
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), Indiana Department of Natural Resouces (IDNR)
New Indiana Hunting & Trapping Guide, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Wildlife Habitat Hint: Trail Camera Tips and Tricks, Got Nature? Blog
Bovine Tuberculosis in Wild White-tailed Deer, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Indiana Deer Hunting, Biology and Management Food Safety & Handling Take-Home Tips (80kb pdf), Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 1, Field Dressing, Video, Purdue Extension Youtube channel
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 2, Hanging & Skinning, Video
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 3, Deboning, Video
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 4, Cutting, Grinding & Packaging, Video

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)


Posted on September 11th, 2020 in Forestry, How To, Safety, Wildlife | No Comments »

In this “A Moment in the Wild” episode, Nick Burgmeier, Purdue Extension wildlife specialist, talks about the black racer, one of three large black snakes found in Indiana, including the myth that this species chases people who encounter it.

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

Resources
A Moment in the Wild, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Snakes of Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Indiana Amphibian and Reptile ID Package (4 softcover books), The Education Store
When Juvenile Snakes Come Calling, Purdue Extension

Nick Burgmeier, Research Biologist and Wildlife Extension Specialist
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on September 10th, 2020 in Alert, Forestry, Forests and Street Trees, How To, Plants, Safety | No Comments »

Purdue Landscape Report: Have you noticed large, messy webs on trees? You may have seen a colony of fall webworms. These caterpillars hatch in mid-July but tend to become more noticeable as the summer progresses. They often eat branches bare of leaves but are they a threat to tree health?

What do they look like?

Fall webworms are small, fuzzy pale-yellow caterpillars (figure 1) that build large, conspicuous white webs in trees in the late summer (figure 2). Their webs stretch over tree branches and grow over the course of the summer. When disturbed, the caterpillars will violently thrash back and forth in a bid to ward off predators.

gallagher

Fig1. A colony of fall webworm caterpillars feeding on a leaf. Note that the web covers the leaves they are currently eating. Photo by Judy Gallagher.

web_msumuh

Fig2. Trees will often have multiple fall webworm webs on them. This photo shows a typical number of webs for a large tree. Notice that the webs tend to be on the ends of branches and that the leaf damage is concentrated close to each web. Photo by Ken Gibson.

What kind of damage do they cause?
Fall webworms eat the leaves of many species of deciduous trees and bushes. This damage occurs late in the summer shortly before the trees normally drop their leaves for fall. Therefore, fall webworms very rarely do serious damage to trees. In most cases the trees will grow their leaves back the following spring. On rare occasions, a tree that is already highly stressed may be further weakened by fall webworm damage. However, most trees, even heavily infested trees, are minimally affected and show no signs of damage the following spring.

Do they need to be managed?
Fall webworm damage generally looks much worse than it is. In general, trees only need to be managed for fall webworm if the owner is concerned about aesthetics. In that case, the easiest means of management is pulling the web off the tree by hand and putting it in a bucket of soapy water or freezing it. Some people may be sensitive to the caterpillars’ hairs so gloves should be worn to prevent contact.

In cases where the webs are too high up to be reached, they can be managed through insecticides. Further instructions can be found here.

Cover image by Photo by msumuh on Flickr.

Resources
Fall Webworm Bulletin, Purdue Extension -Entomology
Which Web is Which, Purdue Landscape Report
Will My Trees Recover After Losing Their Leaves?, Purdue Landscape Report
Safe Caterpillar Control, Purdue Landscape Report
Mimosa Webworm, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Sod Webworms, Turf Science at Purdue University
Bagworm caterpillars are out feeding, be ready to spray your trees, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources

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


Posted on September 8th, 2020 in How To, Safety, Wildlife | No Comments »

raccoon close-up

May IDNR Wildlife Bulletin Newsletter: Do you know what to do if you find an injured wild animal? The first step is determining if it is actually injured. Clear signs of distress include:

  • Bleeding or clear signs of injuries such as bruises, cuts, punctures or broken bones
  • Looks thin, weak, cold or soaking wet
  • Signs of diarrhea
  • Flies, fly eggs, maggots, ticks, lice or fleas have infested the animal

If a wild animal shows any of these signs and is unable to move or run away effectively, it may be time to call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator (PDF) for help. You can find a list of wildlife rehabilitators on IDNR Orphaned & Injured Animals website.

Please note that the Indiana DNR does not provide services for injured or orphaned wildlife. We rely on licensed wildlife rehabilitators to assist with these situations.

Resources
Orphaned & Injured Animals, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR)
Resourceful Animal Relationships, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Wildlife, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube channel
Help Us Keep Wildlife Wild, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR)


Posted on September 4th, 2020 in How To, Safety, Wildlife | No Comments »

vultureFlyerAcross the globe, most vulture species are declining dramatically. This is concerning because vultures provide valuable ecosystem service by cleaning the environment of carrion, thereby reducing disease risk for humans and livestock. In contrast to most other vulture species, populations of the American black vulture have grown and expanded into new areas during the past several decades. This has created the potential for conflict because black vultures have been documented to kill weak or newborn livestock.

The Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources’ research team seeks to better understand vulture ecology to inform conservation of other vulture species, as well as to understand how best to minimize conflict between vultures and producers by investigating what factors place some farms at greater risk.

What to do if you lose an animal:
• Take lots of pictures from every angle.
• If scavengers are around, move the carcass somewhere they cannot access.
• Call or text Marian Wahl at (317) 647-5294 as soon as you can. Marian is a graduate research assistant working with Pat Zollner, professor of wildlife science.

Thank you for your help as we gather livestock loss due to vultures in the states of Indiana and Kentucky.

To view, print and share flyer: Loss of Livestock to Vultures.

Resources
Livestock, Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Dr. Pat Zollner Research, Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources
Wildlife Research, Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources

Marian Wahl, Graduate Research Assistant
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on September 2nd, 2020 in How To, Publication, Safety, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

Hunting guideIndiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR): The new 2020-21 Indiana Hunting & Trapping Guide is now available online. Printed copies will be available at local hunting license retailers and DNR properties soon, if not already.

Guide Highlights

Licenses & Fees
  • How to Buy, Fees, Exemptions
  • What license do I need?
Regulations
  • Deer 
  • Wild Turkey 
  • Furbearers 
  • Small Game 
  • Waterfowl & Migratory Birds 
  • Other Game Birds 

Resources
Ask an Expert: Wildlife Food Plots, Video, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube channel
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 1, Field Dressing, Video
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 2, Hanging & Skinning, Video
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 3, Deboning, Video
Handling Harvested Game: Episode 4, Cutting, Grinding & Packaging, Video
Deer Harvest Data Collection, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Considerations for Trapping Nuisance Wildlife with Box Traps, Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Indiana Deer Hunting, Biology and Management Food Safety & Handling Take-Home Tips (80kb pdf), Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Indiana Deer Harvest Data, IDNR

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)


Got Nature?

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