Got Nature? Blog

Starting trees from seed requires knowing the germination requirements for the species you wish to grow. Most native tree seeds require treatments to break seed dormancy before the seed will germinate. These are done naturally by weather cycles, moisture, sunlight and wildlife in the forest environment. When we collect seeds, we will have to simulate these natural events to germinate the seeds successfully.

The Woody Plant Seed Manual, a U.S. Forest Service publication, gives detailed germination and nursery culture instructions by genus and species of trees. With over 450 seeds of woody plants in the United States, this manual continues to be popular both in this country and beyond. Seed data includes approximately 800 species, varieties, and sub-species in 188 genera, considerable more than the 420 species and 140 genera in this edition.

View this general germination guide for some common tree species.

Resources:
Frost Seeding to Establish Wildlife Food Plots & Native Grass and Forb Plantings – YouTube Video
Planting Hardwood Seedlings – The Education Store
Ordering Seedlings from the State Forest Nursery System, Got Nature? – Purdue Extension-FNR
Instructions for Ordering Tree Seedlings – Indiana DNR Division of Forestry
Importance of Hardwood Tree Planting – The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Forest Improvement Handbook – The Education Store
Designing Hardwood Tree Plantings for Wildlife – The Education Store
National Nursery and Seed Directory  – USDA Forest Service
Web Soil Survey – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
ID That Tree – YouTube Playlist

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

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


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


The classic and trusted book “Fifty Common Trees of Indiana” by T.E. Shaw was published in 1956 as a user-friendly guide to local species.  Nearly 70 years later, the publication has been updated through a joint effort by the Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Indiana 4-H, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and reintroduced as “An Introduction to Trees of Indiana.”

The full publication is available for download for $7 in the Purdue Extension Education Store. The field guide helps identify common Indiana woodlot trees.

Line drawing of a river birch leaf

book, paired with an ID That Tree video from Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee to help visualize each species as it stands in the woods. Threats to species health as well as also insight into the wood provided by the species, will be provided through additional resources as well as the Hardwoods of the Central Midwest exhibit of the Purdue Arboretum, if available.

Each week, the Intro to Trees of Indiana web series will offer a sneak peek at one species from the

This week, we introduce River Birch or Betula nigra, which is also known as red birch.

As its name implies, it is found frequently in wet situations. It is often found need waterways and in moist soil areas across the state.

Full article also can be viewed with Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources News: Intro to Trees of Indiana: River Birch

Other Resources:

Birch – Hardwood Lumber and Veneer Series
Fifty Trees of the Midwest app– for the iPhone
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
ID That Tree– YouTube playlist
Woodland Management Moment-YouTube playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands– The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook– The Education Store

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

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


Remove your invasive burning bush or callery pear tree and get a free native replacement! Tippecanoe County, in the state of Indiana, is offering  FREE native trees and shrubs when you remove your invasive callery pear and/or burning bush.  Flyer on Invasive Plant Swap ProgramDepending on the location of your invasives the County may be able to fund a replacement and depending on your area possibly up to three plants.

City Trees:
Trees planted between the sidewalk and the road are considered city trees.  Applicants with city trees will work with the City Forester on their tree removal and replacement process.  Tippecanoe County will contact you with more information after you apply.

Certified Arborist Discount:
Browning Tree Service Corp has agreed to offer a small discount to applicants who mention the Invasive Plant Swap Program when contacting them about invasive tree/bush removal.

Sponsors:
Sponsors for Invasive Replacement Program includes: Tippecanoe Invasive Cooperative Taskforce (TICT), Tippecanoe Soil & Water Conservation District, Wabash River Enhancement Corporation (WREC), City of Lafayette & West Lafayette.

Questions:
Any questions can be sent to: TICTaboutinvasives@gmail.com.

For more Details and list of plants available:
For more information check out the Tippecanoe Invasive Cooperative Taskforce (TICT) Facebook or the Tippecanoe Soil & Water Conservation District website. View and print the Invasive Plant Swamp Program Flyer.

Apply:
Apply by August 1: Invasive Plant Swap Application.

Resources:
Invasive Species (burning bush & callery pear), Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Invasive Plant Series: Winged Burning Bush, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Thousand Cankers Disease, collaborative website
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
Woodland Management Moment: Invasive Species Control Process, Video, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
What are invasive species and why should I care?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – FNR
Episode 11 – Exploring the challenges of Invasive Species, Habitat University-Natural Resource University
Invasive Species, Purdue Landscape Report
State of Indiana Proclamation-Invasive Species Week, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension-FNR
Report Invasive

Shared by: Tippecanoe Invasive Cooperative Taskforce (TICT)


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 


Grass and soil, showing seedling coming up in soil.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Lawn to Lake Midwest is a great resource as the experts share each month care tips on how to have a healthy lawn all year long while using natural lawn care practices. For the month of May check out the things to watch out for and why testing your soil is important.

You will also find resources for more options for a sustainable lawn:

  • Take the Natural Lawn Care Quiz and see where you are at with  your lawn care practices.
  • Take a look at some simply ways to imcorporate more natural lawn care practices.
  • If you’re ready, jump into the weeds to explore even more sustainable lawn management practices.
  • Find asnwers to commonly asked lawn care questions.

Resources:
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
Turfgrass Science, Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture
Turfgrass Insect Management, The Education Store
Tree Planting Part 1: Choosing a Tree, Video, The Education Store
Purdue Turf Doctor app for Apple iOS, Apple App Store

Lawn to Lake Midwest

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG)


Storm damage, trees downSafety first! Stay clear and look for dangerous hanging limbs, broken branches and other failures before beginning cleanup or inspections. Keep others clear of the areas beneath and around damaged trees. Be alert for power lines that could be involved with damaged trees. All utility lines should be considered energized and dangerous.

Lindsey Purcell, Purdue urban forestry specialist, shares, “in my experience, during storm cleanup, many tree owners are faced with the decision of what to do with their trees relative to restoration or removal”.  There are several types of tree damage that occur from violent weather. Each has its own specific assessment considerations. All parts of the tree should be inspected during a post-storm assessment. This requires the expertise of trained, professional arborists to assist with the decision making regarding the best course of action. Unfortunately, there are those who take advantage of the situation and overcharge or provide poor advice when it comes to the best decision on their trees. Don’t make any hasty decisions and be sure you are hiring an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist, ask for references and proof of insurance in the process. To find an arborist near you, verify credentials and to find more information on trees view video: Find an Arborist, Trees are Good, ISA.

View publication Trees and Storms located in The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center, for more information.

Resources:
Find an Arborist website, Trees are Good, International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)
Caring for storm-damaged trees/How to Acidify Soil in the Yard – In the Grow, Purdue Extension
Moist soil and rotten roots makes it easy for trees to come crashing down – Fox 59 News
Why Is My Tree Dying? – The Education Store
Tree Risk Management – The Education Store
Mechanical Damage to Trees: Mowing and Maintenance Equipment – The Education Store
Trees and Electric Lines – The Education Store

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


When Lindsey PurcellMatt Ginzel and Cliff Sadof began working on a research grant for Rotam North America regarding the use of trunk-injected emamectin benzoate to manage emerald ash borer, they set out to compare three commercially available insecticide injection systems.

Lindsey Purcell headshotThey looked at the variance in number of injection points, whether or not ports were plugged and more, while also conducting a long-term study examining the difference in protection provided by spring and fall injections.

“We know that Emamectin benzoate is an excellent tool for protecting ash trees,” Sadof explained. “The trick is to get it into the tree before the tree has exhibited substantial decline. After the tree’s vascular tissue has been compromised, it becomes less able to transport the insecticide through the phloem into the canopy where it can kill leaves.”

A publication detailing the results of the research will be published soon in an article titled “Diffusion and Efficacy of Trunk-injected Emamectin Benzoate to Manage Emerald Ash Borer.”

Sadof and Ginzel also published a separate article “Factors influencing efficacy of an area-wide pest management program in three urban forests” in Urban Forestry and Urban Greening in March 2021, which details how early applications of insecticide can help with area wide protection of ash trees.

Due to his involvement in the Rotam grant, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and SymTree Science owner Terry Marie Braniecki asked Purcell if he would contribute his expertise and time as a plant healthcare subject matter expert toward PNNL’s better, more environmentally sensitive and economical delivery solution for their tree-health products.

After two years of research and development sponsored by Elemental Enzymes, and several iterations of prototypes made on 3D printers, the patented device, designed by the team of PNNL staff, Purdue faculty and private companies, is currently being beta tested by the industry with select distributors for commercial use.

“There are several similar devices out in the plant health care industry, but SymTree Science and Elemental Enzyme asked me what do you use, what do you like to use and can we make something better,” Purcell said. “Out of research always comes additional research and innovation, so I said here’s what I have in mind and PNNL’s engineers took my input and made it happen. It was initially made to deliver pesticides. However, it can also be used for micronutrient packages to correct deficiencies in the tree or applied for emerald ash borer control. Additionally, a product is in development for dates and coconut palms, which have major pest problems that are hard to control. These chemical injections can help the tree proactively and reactively to manage current infestations, but also act to prevent infestation.”

The reusable injection device works in conjunction with prepackaged recyclable injectors, which are installed directly into the tree vascular system at the root flare. If a tree is translocating efficiently, chemicals can be fully injected in minutes.

Base of tree showing roots and injection set up, Lindsey Purcell's Microinjector.“The device is user friendly, it is simple and it protects the applicator because they have little to no exposure to chemicals and the environment has no exposure to chemicals,” Purcell explained. “It is very focused on the tree. It is not like you are broadcast spraying, where chemicals are vulnerable to drift. It is very safe for the environment and the people around it.”

On the PNNL website, the device, its design and functionality are described as follows:
“The Tree Micro-Injector delivers nutrition, pesticides and fungicides faster and easier than similar commercially available injectors. The device resembles a laboratory syringe, with an exterior housing holding a uniquely designed compressible pod. The housing and pod are made of polypropylene, a versatile, recyclable materials. An internal steel spring holds the pod in place and allows it to be precisely compressed to eject a liquid formulation through the housing’s nozzle. The single-use disposable pod can be prefilled with a variety of specialty formulations, such as nutrition fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides or plant growth regulators.”

Purcell worked in conjunction with Kevin Simmons, Allan Tuan, Dustin Clelland, Stan Owsley and David Long from PNNL; as well as Terry Marie Braniecki, owner of Symtree Science LLC; and Stacie Schumer, product manager at Elemental Enzymes, on the project.

The group was recognized for their work with the Excellence in Technology Transfer Award presented by the 2022 Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. The Excellence in Technology Transfer Award recognizes employees of FLC member laboratories and non-laboratory staff who have accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring federally developed technology. The award is based on contributions during the past 10 years.

The annual FLC awards are among the most reputed honors in the technology transfer field. PNNL has received 98 FLC awards since the program’s inception in 1984, including three in 2022. In addition to the injector, PNNL developed an airport security device that scans passengers’ shoes, which earned the Interagency Partnership Award; and a home energy efficiency assessment tool, which received the FLC Impact Award.

The FLC winners will be recognized at the 2022 FLC national meeting on April 6 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Full Article>>>

Resources:
Find an Arborist, Trees are Good
Tree wounds and healing, Got Nature? Blog
Ask an Expert: Tree Selection and Planting, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
Planting Your Tree Part 1: Choosing Your Tree, Purdue Extension-FNR YouTube Channel
Tree Installation: Process and Practices, The Education Store
Tree Pruning Essentials, The Education Store
Subscribe to Purdue Extension-FNR YouTube Channel

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

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


In this edition of ID That Tree, meet another member of the hickory family that can found in upland areas, the pignut hickory. This species is identifiable by its five-leaflet compound leaves, its smooth round nut and partially open husk.

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
Pignut Hickory, Native Trees of Indiana River Walk, Purdue Fort Wayne

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


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