Got Nature? Blog

Are you noticing more birds in your backyard recently since sheltering at home? Do you wish you knew how to identify what you are seeing? Do you know what kind of food to put out to attract different species?

Dr. Barny Dunning, professor of wildlife ecology, and Purdue extension wildlife specialist Brian MacGowan offer advice on birdwatching for birders of all skill levels, including how to bring species to your yard, what apps you can use to identify them and other resources to help you learn more in this Facebook LIVE Ask the Expert session from May 21, 2020.

Resources
Sibley Guide to Birds app
Merlin Bird App
Audobon Bird Guide App
Cornell University Ornithology Lab website
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
ProjectFeederWatch from The Cornell Lab
Nesting Box Information – National Wildlife Federation
Project Feeder Watch
Indiana Audobon Society
Sycamore Audubon Society
Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard, Video, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Birds and residential window strikes: Tips for prevention, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
No room at the inn: suburban backyards and migratory birds, The Education Store
Size Does Matter – Nest Boxes for Wildlife, The Education Store

John B Dunning, Professor of Wildlife Ecology
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


On May 5th, we held a Facebook LIVE: Ask an Expert with several FNR specialists and one of the questions that came in is a question I receive often.

One of the many benefits of interacting with farmers and land managers is I learn about the problems you face. A question came in around the 17:30 minute mark of how to deal with vole damage problems in their 3- to 5-acre pumpkin patch.  I didn’t have an answer regarding registered pesticides (including taste repellents and toxicants) that are labeled for voles in pumpkins. Doing a broad search on the internet is helpful but it is hard to figure out what you can use in your state. Pesticides are often labeled for use in one state but not others. Luckily, anyone can search for registered pesticides online at on the National Pesticide Information Retrieval System. Most states, including Indiana, are included. You can search by EPA registration number, product name, company name, or active ingredient.  A particular search can still yield many choices but this is a helpful way of finding out what is available. Each product has a link to the EPA website that includes product labels.

PumpkinPatch

Since our program last week, I did some checking and found a product registered in Indiana labeled for voles in pumpkins as well as many other crops. Millers Hot Sauce is a taste repellent with an active ingredient of capsaicin (2.5% by weight), which is an irritant to animals, but one some people enjoy in hot peppers. Per label instructions adding an anti-transpirant film former or a sticker may prolong the effectiveness of the product.  Mix the product and additives with water according to label instructions. For heavy damage, start treatment after first true leaves appear and continue treatment every 7 days.  If applying to transplants, start application one week after transplanting and continue every 7 days.

Always read the label completely before applying any pesticide. The efficacy of any repellent depends on a number of factors including animal population size and density, available food, and availability of cover. With voles, the year can be key because their populations tend to cycle. Combining other methods with repellents can often increase success. For example, soil cultivation within plant rows and in adjacent habitat can help reduce the habitat quality for voles. Cultivation can also directly kill some voles. There are of course tradeoffs and every situation is unique. Soil cultivation would not be an option in some cases (e.g., adjacent to water, steep slopes). I was unable to find a toxicant registered for voles in pumpkins. But depending on what the land cover is adjacent to the pumpkin patches, some of these may be appropriate in those areas.

With face-to-face Extension programs on hold for the foreseeable future, look for more live Q&A sessions and other programs on Facebook (PurdueFNR) or Twitter (@PurdueFNR).

Resources
National Pesticide Information Retrieval System
Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide 2019-2020, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Hops Production in Indiana: Integrated Pest Management Guide for Hops in Indiana, The Education Store
Turfgrass Insects: Managing Black Cutworms in Turfgrass, The Education Store
Applied Research in Field Crop Pathology for Indiana – 2019, The Education Store
Managing Alfalfa Autotoxicity, The Education Store

Brian MacGowan, Wildlife Extensions Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


FNR-578-W coverResourceful Animal Relationships 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 lesson will teach third- through fifth-grade students about different kinds of organism interactions and how those interactions affect the ways in which organisms gain or lose resources. Students will learn how to describe the differences between mutualism, parasitism,
and competition along with how to explain the different effects that relationships have on an organism and their resources.

It meets several grade-appropriate Next Generation Science Standards, English/Language Arts Standards, and Math Standards. This 19-page pdf is written by 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
The Nature of Teaching: Disease Ecology, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, 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


With large amounts of white-tailed deer populating the area around forest land, getting your hardwood seedlings established can be difficult.

Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee, sustainable hardwood extension specialist, offers some tips on how to protect newly planted seedlings from browsing deer using plastic mesh fencing to exclude the animals from the area. He also mentions tree tubes and electrified fencing as potential options. Learn more in the video below.

Resources
USDA Cost Assistance Programs for Conservation Practices
How to Build a Plastic Mesh Deer Exclusion Fence, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Electric Fences for Preventing Deer Browse Damage by White-Tailed Deer, The Education Store
Managing Your Woods for White-Tailed Deer, The Education Store
How to Score Your White-Tailed Deer, Video, Purdue Extension Youtube Channel

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
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


For such a small creature, moles can cause big headaches. Their tunneling behavior can cause extensive damage to turf areas if left unchecked. While the damage is easy to identify, solving it can be tricky.

MoleDamage1 moleDamage2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Purdue wildlife specialist, Brian MacGowan, shared tips and control techniques including trapping, repellents, toxicants, and cultural methods as well as answer your questions on the topic on Facebook LIVE, Thursday, May 14th.

You can view this topic along with question and answer time on the Purdue FNR Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PurdueFNR/videos/3372718849422210/.

If you have any further questions feel free to place your question in the comment section on our Purdue FNR Facebook page on the video link above or you can send your question by submitting an Ask An Expert form.

Resources
Moles, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Adjuvants and the Power of the Spray Droplet: Improving the Performance of Pesticide Applications, The Education Store
Preventing Wildlife Damage – Do You Need a Permit?, The Education Store
Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard, Video, Purdue Extension Youtube Channel
How to Stop Woodland Animals from Digging in Your Flower Pots, Video, Purdue Extension Youtube Channel

Brian MacGowan, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


Megan_Gunn_in_water
Several Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources faculty and staff members along with Purdue Extension specialists will be participating in a webinar series in conjunction with the Tippecanoe County Partnership for Water Quality from May 11-14.

The eight-part Virtual Conservation Conversations series, scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day, Monday through Thursday, will be streamed live on the TCPWQ Facebook page. The sessions are a substitute for the annual Conservation Field Day for fourth grade students in Tippecanoe County.Individual event details are available here: TCPWQ Facebook Events.

The schedule for the Conservation Conversation Series is below:

PrescribedFireMonday, May 11
11 a.m. – Jarred Brooke, Purdue Extension Wildlife Specialist.
Topic: Is There Such a Thing as “Good” Fire? Prescribed fire and its impact on wildlife habitat

1 p.m. – Shelby Royal, Hellbender Husbandry Lab Coordinator.
Topic: Hellbender salamanders

Tuesday, May 12
11 a.m. – Jim McKenna, Operational Tree Breeder for the USDA Forest Service
Topic: Tree Grafting: What, Why and How? Tree grafting, propagation and forests in Indiana

1 p.m. – Megan Gunn, Aquatic Ecology Lab Manager and Undergraduate Student Recruiter
Topic: What Fish and Invertebrates Can Tell Us About Water Quality

HellbenderInWaterWednesday, May 13
11 a.m. – Nerisa Ve’e-Taua, Graduate Research Assistant

1 p.m. – College of Science speaker

Thursday, May 14
11 a.m. – Indiana American Water speaker

1 p.m – Indiana Department of Natural Resources representative

For more online events, view Purdue Extension-FNR Calendar.

Resources
Indiana’s Urban Woodlots, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store
Help the Hellbender, Video, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel

Wendy Mayer, FNR Communications Coordinator
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Question:
Are these pretty green flower shaped growth spots lichens? It just appeared on my tree this year. With this type of fungus should I be worried that it could damage the tree?lichens on tree

Answer:
Lichen is common on trees and not bad either. Those grayish-green patches, come in all sizes and shapes and sometimes covering much of the tree, are not feeding on your woody plants. Lichens grow on the surface of the tree, and do not penetrate any tissue. Instead, they make use of the trunk or branches for support. They can be aesthetically pleasing for many. Lichens play a very significant role as a bio-indicator. They only grow where the air quality is good and have a favorable growing environment. They help filter the air as well… so, don’t worry, be happy!

Resources:
Lichens, Purdue Botany & Plant Pathology
Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab, Purdue Botany & Plant Pathology
Diseases of Landscape Plants: Leaf Diseases, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Doctor App, The Education Store
Surface Root Syndrome, The Education Store
Tree Installation: Process and Practices, The Education Store
Purdue Landscape Report, Purdue University

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


The Indiana Woodland Steward Homepage has just been updated with a new newsletter and is available to view on the website. Woodland Steward Publication

Highlights from the April Newsletter include:

  • Into the Woods
  • 2019 Indiana Forest Products Price Report and Trend Analysis
  • 2019 Indiana Tree Farmer of the Year

The Indiana Woodland Steward Newsletter is a resource that’s full of a variety of valuable information to foresters, woodland owners, timber marketing specialists and any woodland enthusiasts. The Indiana Woodland Steward Institute is an entity made from 11 organizations within the state including Purdue UniversityIndiana DNR, and Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association that works to promote best usage practices of Indiana’s woodland resources through their Woodland Steward publication.

Check out the IWS website to stay current in the world of forestry and receive their free e-newsletter by subscribing at IWS Subscribe. Feel free to browse archived articles dating back to 1992 for more information.

Resources
Indiana Woodland Steward, IWS Newsletter Homepage
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Wildlife Responses to Timber Harvesting, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
Invasive plants: impact on environment and people, The Education Store

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


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