Got Nature? Blog

Posted on November 16th, 2022 in Forestry, How To, Land Use, Urban Forestry | No Comments »

The new USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) website is designed for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners who use NRCS conservation programs, and our partners who help us deliver the conservation mission.

You will find information that includes:

  • Conservation Basics: find soil health, soil science, water, air, plants, animals, land, energy, climate, wildlife habitat and invasicve speceis and pests
  • Getting Assistance: find your local service centerUrban Agriculture Tour photos
  • Programs & Initiatives
  • Resources
  • News & Events

For more than 80 years, NRCS has helped people make investments in their operations and local communities to keep working lands working, boost rural economies, increase the competitiveness of American agriculture, and improve the quality of our air, water, soil, and habitat.

As the USDA’s primary private lands conservation agency, NRCS generates, manages, shares data, technology and standards that enable partners and policymakers to make decisions informed by objective, reliable science.

Resources:
Consumer Horticulture: Collecting Soil Samples for Testing, The Education Store , Purdue Extension resource center
Soil Sampling Guidelines, The Education Store
Soil Testing for Lawns, The Education Store
Certified Soil Testing Laboratories, Purdue Extension – Master Gardener Program
Lawn to Lake Midwest, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Program
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
Frost Seeding Native Grasses and Forbs with a Drone (UAV), Purdue Extension-Forestry & Natural Resources (FNR)
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Wildlife Responses to Timber Harvesting, The Education Store
Invasive Plants: Impact on Environment and People, The Education Store
Sustainable Communities, Purdue Extension
Urban Forestry, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel

USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)


Posted on November 14th, 2022 in How To, Urban Forestry, Wildlife | No Comments »

Wild Bulletin, IN DNR Fish and Wildlife:  Indiana’s coyotes start to put on their winter fur this time of year. While this makes them look large and fluffy, they weigh in at less than your average sleepy beagle. Coyotes can be helpful to people by feasting on mice that invade homes in winter and voles that raid crops and stored feed. Most coyotes live near people, pets, and livestock, and never cause any problems. Wild Bulletin Coyotes

People can help ensure problems remain few and far between in a few ways. Licensed hunters and trappers can help maintain healthy coyote populations through regulated harvest, and people can also take steps around their homes and livestock to prevent coyotes from causing problems. Find a wealth of resources on the IN DNR Fish and Wildlife coyote page.

Subscribe to Wild Bulletin.

Resources:
Coyotes (PDF), Wildlife Conflicts, Department of Entomology, Purdue University
 Ask the Expert: Coexisting with Coyotes, Video, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube channel
Dealing with Nuisance Coyotes, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR)-Fish and Wildlife
Urban Coyotes – Should You Be Concerned?, Got Nature? Blog
Urban Coyote Research Center, Urban Coyote Ecology & Management, Cook County, Illinois
Ask an Expert, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Coyotes are on the Move, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue FNR Extension
Coyotes a Constant Problem in Indy Suburbs, IndyStar

Indiana Department of Natural Resources


Purdue Landscape Report, Why are the Japanese beetles running late this year?: Nothing heralds summer like the hum of Japanese beetles ravenously descending on a flower garden. Cool weather this spring has slowed emergence of adults from the soil. Heavy spring rains early followed by relatively drier weather in late June, may have trapped adult Japanese beetles under a crusty layer of hardened soil. Due to their large numbers in many parts of Indiana last year, they are very likely just waiting for a good rain to soften the surface, so they can dig themselves into the light of day and on to your flowers. So, if we get a little more rain by the time this article comes out, we are likely to be awash in adult beetles.

Adult Japanese beetles feeding on leaves and flowers of oak leaf hydrangea, Purdue Landscape Report.Weather is only part of what makes Japanese beetles predictably unpredictable. Beneficial organisms including fungi, microsporidia, and parasitic wasps also act different life stages of Japanese beetles. Japanese beetles have been the target of several national programs to release these beneficial organisms to reduce beetle populations. Favorable conditions for these beneficials can help reduce the local abundance of grubs and beetles.

Although killing grubs will reduce the number of beetles, the small size of lawns and the long flight range of makes it unlikely for your grub control program to reduce defoliation.  In experiments conducted in my lab over 20 years ago, we found adult beetles can easily fly a kilometer (0.66 miles) in a single day.  With adults living for several weeks, it is easy to image beetles traveling long distances from untreated lawns to plants on your property.

Life cycle of Japanese beetles: As the weather warms in the spring larvae (aka white grubs) move closer to the surface and begin feeding on turf roots.  In May they enter a pupal stage and stop feeding.  In June they typically emerge from the soil as adults.  Adults fly in summer when they feed on flowers and leaves.   In late July and early August adults lay eggs into the turfgrass.  White grubs hatch from eggs and feed on the roots until frost when the larvae begin dig deeper into the soil to avoid killing temperatures.

To find out what you can do about Japanese beetles and view photos view: Why are the Japanese beetles running late this year?

Resources:
Report Invasive
Invasive Insects, Got Nature?
Invasive Species, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Indiana Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology
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
What are invasive species and why should I care?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Pest Management, The Education Store

Cliff Sadof, Professor Entomology/Extension Fellow
Purdue Entomology


Purdue Landscape Report, What is Happening to the Weeping Willows?: While recent temperatures have been moderate in many parts of the state, rainfall has been lacking. (See The Annual Drought Article). There are chasms in the clay of my backyard that will swallow my kids and dogs whole. While I am not truly worried about the safety of my smaller family members, a lot of the plants that are not in shade are stressed. At the Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory, we have received quite a few calls, emails, and samples about trees in decline. Trees that are already stressed, infected by a pathogen, or are infested by wood-boring insects will be showing their true colors in these drought conditions: chlorosis, leaf loss, and limb dieback.
Willow showing yellowing of older leaves on lower branches.

Weeping willow tree showing yellowing of older leaves on lower branches, PPDL.This month, one group of trees limps along to the top of our list of plants under stress due to lack of water: Willows. Salix spp. are not great landscape trees in general unless planted in locations that retain water. While they grow quickly and can appear beautiful for a number of years, when the soil becomes dry, these trees can very quickly develop limb dieback or cankers. In many cases, cankers become more obvious during these periods of stress because they were already present before the drought stress occurs. Damaged limbs die faster and multiple species of canker-causing fungi have been found to move faster in drought stressed wood of some tree species. We have found the fungi Cytospora, Botryosphaeria, and Colletotrichum associated with cankers on recent branch submissions to the lab.

Thinning of the branches, cracks/splits in the bark, and black lesions on green stems can indicate the presence of a canker which should be pruned out and destroyed, if at all possible. Supplemental irrigation may be required during dry spells for trees that are water loving or, at least, drought intolerant. Fungicides are not effective for these fungal pathogens that live inside the wood, where fungicides can’t penetrate. In most cases larger willow trees will not die because of these problems but they may suffer significant branch loss and may become disfigured. In some cases very young trees or shrub type willows may be killed.

For full article and photos view: What is Happening to the Weeping Willows?

Resources:
Summer Tree Care, Purdue Landscape Report
Drought? Don’t Forget the Trees!, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Extreme Heat, Purdue Extension – IN-PREPared
Drought Information​, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Planting Your Tree Part 1: Choosing Your Tree, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Selection for the “Un-natural” Environment, The Education Store
Tree Pruning Essentials Video, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Defect Identification, The Education Store
Tree Wound and Healing, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Surface Root Syndrome, The Education Store

John Bonkowski, Plant Disease Diagnostician
Plant and Pest Diagnositc Laboratory


Many homeowners are finding their trees with dry and wilted leaves. In this video, Lindsey Purcell, Indiana Arborist Association chapter administrator, talks about the importance of watering your trees and how to do so effectively.

Extreme heat can have a major impact on tree health and survival. Water is the most limiting ecological resource for a tree, and without adequate moisture, decline and death are imminent. It reduces carbohydrate production, significantly lowering energy reserves and production of defense chemicals in the tree. Check out this publication titled Drought? Don’t Forget the Trees! to learn what to look for for any weakening issues including pests that like the dry conditions.

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:
Summer Tree Care, Purdue Landscape Report
Drought? Don’t Forget the Trees!, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Extreme Heat, Purdue Extension – IN-PREPared
Drought Information​, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Planting Your Tree Part 1: Choosing Your Tree, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Selection for the “Un-natural” Environment, The Education Store
Tree Pruning Essentials Video, Purdue Extension YouTube Channel
Tree Defect Identification, The Education Store
Tree Wound and Healing, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Surface Root Syndrome, The Education Store

Lindsey Purcell, Chapter Administrator & Master Arborist
Indiana Arborist Association

Ben McCallister, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue Forestry & Natural Resources


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)


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