Got Nature? Blog

Most of us have probably heard or seen a lot about pollinators in the media recently. The reason why is that pollinators are really, really important. We simply can’t live without them. Researchers estimate that one out of every three bites of food we eat is made possible by pollinators. More than 100 food crops in the U.S. depend on pollinators, including almost all fruit and grain crops.

There are many different types of pollinators including native bees, butterflies and moths, beetles, flies, wasps, and of course hummingbirds. But perhaps one of the more interesting pollinators is the Monarch. Millions of Monarchs congregate in a relative small area in Mexico each winter. In March they start their journey north which has occurred over several generations. Unfortunately, the number of Monarchs counted in overwintering colonies has declined over the past 25 years.

Monarch butterfly

In response, many states including Indiana have developed a state Monarch Conservation Plan. With input from many stakeholders over several years, the Indiana Monarch Conservation Plan was released in December 2020. One goal of the plan was to create an online resource that would act as a clearinghouse for Indiana monarch and pollinator conservation data, research, best management practices (BMPs), and events. I invite you to visit the Indiana Monarch and Pollinator Conservation Hub at https://indianawildlife.org/monarchs/.

You might be asking yourself, ‘Why is a wildlife specialist writing about pollinators?’ It turns out that quality habitat for wildlife is often quality habitat for pollinators. The diversity of wildflowers and structure that native grasslands, trees and shrubs benefit them all. Trees such as eastern redbud and Ohio buckeye provide early nectar sources. Native grasslands that have a diverse mixture of wildflowers provide food, bare ground, and structure desirable for a wide variety of pollinators.

Resources
Protecting Pollinators: Why Should We Care About Pollinators?, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Ask The Expert: What’s Buzzing or Not Buzzing About Pollinators , Purdue Extension – Forestry & Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Channel
Purdue Pollinator Protection publication series, Purdue Extension Entomology
Indiana Monarch & Pollinator Conservation Hub, Indiana Wildlife Federation
Monarch Watch, University of Kansas
100 Plants to Feed the Monarch/Other Resources Available, Xerxes Society for Invertebrate Conservation

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


Posted on May 1st, 2021 in Forestry, How To, Plants, Urban Forestry | No Comments »

Purdue Landscape Report: The hard freeze April 20th & 21st had many homeowners concerned about their perennial and annual plants in their landscape.  For the vast majority of perennial plants, there aren’t many issues long-term of concern.  Some foliage and flowers have significant damage, but the plants will recover, and possibly release new vegetative buds in severe cases.  The plants that suffered the most damage, and in some cases death, are the annuals planted by impatient landscapers and gardeners.  Planting annuals prior to the frost-free date (May 10th in central Indiana) will more than likely cause a replant to occur.

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Figure 1. Cold temperatures and cold on April 21-22 caused stress on many plants that have broken buds.

In addition to the potential stress from the temperatures, many trees received broken limbs due the combined weight of the leaves/flowers and snow load.

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Figure 2. A Japanese Zelkova in full leaf with a heavy snow load.

If you maintain a client’s fruit trees (i.e. apples), there may be a significant impact on fruit production.  The Purdue Meigs Horticultural Research Farm, located about eight miles south of the West Lafayette campus, recorded a low temperature of 22o F on April 21st.  Dr. Peter Hirst, pomologist, indicated that at the current stage of flowering a temperature of 25o F might result in a 90% bud kill.  Since there was a significant snowfall, the hope is that there was some moderation in temperatures.

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Figure 3. Apple flowers on April 22 in West Lafayette. Photo by Tristand Tucker.

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Figure 5. Apple flowers on April 22 in West Lafayette. Photo by Tristand Tucker.

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Figure 4. Apple flowers on April 22 in West Lafayette. Photo by Tristand Tucker.

Plants that have been stressed due to cold temperatures should be closely monitored over the growing season.  Don’t prune ‘dead’ portions until you allow more buds to break.  Chances are the early foliage was dropped and new leaves will soon emerge.  Be sure to provide adequate moisture to assist in recovery.  Currently about half of the state is in the beginning stages of drought, so be sure to provide irrigation now if your area is dry.  Always remember that too much water can be just as detrimental as too little water.

The Indianapolis Star published an article on the extreme low temperatures.

Resources
Purdue Landscape Report
Tree Installation for the Landscape, Video, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
Effects of Cold Weather on Horticultural Plants in Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Winterize Your Trees, The Education Store
What do Trees Do in the Winter? , Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources

Kyle Daniel, Nursery & Landscape Outreach Specialist
Purdue Horticulture and Landscape Architecture


Tree Bark Damage

Photo from publication FNR-492-W

Question: I am actually a Master Gardner in Hamilton County and I need help with a tree bark damage question. We have a beautiful dogwood tree that is about 18’ tall and 6” in diameter. By accident my husband backed into the tree with his truck while unloading mulch – he did not see it! Now there is severe damage to the bark at the bumper height – about 3” wide and 14” long. All the way down the bark is gone.

What are the chances the tree will survive? What if anything should I do at this point?

My husband wanted to cover it with painter’s tape to protect it but I know that is not good for the tree. Please let me know your suggestions as I do hope to save the tree if possible.

Answer: Well, that is certainly an unfortunate accident for the tree! There may be a rescue treatment worth trying that research has shown promise in sealing the wound. The ability for the tree to seal and close off wounds is based on species, age and energy resources. Additionally, follow these instructions…

  1. Keep the tree healthy; mulch and supplemental watering during drought conditions.
  2. Trace the wound with a wood file and sharp knife, removing any loose bark to a clean wound.
  3. Take black plastic and attach it to the tree wound, just past the wound edge, using small, ¼” staples from a staple gun.
  4. Attach the plastic so that it forms a seal which will help to maintain a moist environment for parenchyma cells to do their work at compartmentalizing and creating wound wood on the perimeter of the damaged area.
  5. The plastic may need to be checked periodically to be sure it is attached well until removal.
  6. Leave the wound covered for about 12 months, then remove carefully.

This will not guarantee recovery, but research has indicated it does facilitate healing more quickly in many species. Continue to monitor for health and recovery.

Good luck!

Resources
Tree Wound and Healing, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Equipment Damage to Trees, Got Nature? Blog
Tree Defect Identification, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Tree Pruning Essentials, Publication & Video, The Education Store
Tree Pruning: What Do Trees Think?, The Education Store
Mechanical Damage to Trees: Mowing and Maintenance Equipment, The Education Store
Tree Planting Part 1: Choosing a Tree, Video, Purdue Extension Channel
Tree Planting Part 2: Planting Your Tree, Purdue Extension Video

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


Posted on April 16th, 2021 in Forestry, How To, Plants, Urban Forestry, Woodlands | No Comments »

On this winter edition of ID That Tree, Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee uses black walnut and eastern cottonwood twigs to show you tips on how to identify native Indiana trees with alternative leaf arrangement without help from the leaves.

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
Black Walnut, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Facts About Black Walnut, The Education Store
Black Walnut, Native Trees of Indiana Riverwalk, Purdue Fort Wayne
Cottonwood, The Education Store
Eastern Cottonwood, Native Trees of Indiana Riverwalk
FNR Hardwood – Eastern Cottonwood, The Purdue Arboretum Explorer
ID That Tree, Playlist
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension-FNR YouTube Channel
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

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


Posted on January 27th, 2021 in Forestry, Plants, Urban Forestry, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

IWShomeThe new Indiana Woodland Steward Newsletter has been published and is now available to read on our website, Indiana Woodland Steward. This new edition includes:

2020 Indiana Consulting Foresters Stumpage Timber Price Report
“This stumpage report is provided annually and should be used in association with the Indiana Forest Products Price Report and Trend Analysis. Stumpage prices were obtained via a survey to all known professional consulting foresters operating in Indiana…”

Woodland Management – Plan not Panic
By Dan Shaver
“When walking through the woods as a Forester for The Nature Conservancy in Indiana my senses are being flooded by the forest; past, present and future. Details that may be lost to many but allow me to draw on…”

Restore Prairie on Your Property to Protect History, Wildlife, and Humanity
By Zach Finn
“Landowners in northwest and west-central Indiana have the opportunity to create significant real-world change on their properties. This can be done through…”

Yellowwood Cladrastis kentukea Restoration and Recovery at Yellowwood State Forest
By Michael Spalding
“Yellowwood is the only tree species within the genus Cladrastis in the United States. It was discovered in March 1796 by Andre Michaux near Fleen’s Creek, 12 miles from Fort Blount, which is on the north bank of the Cumberland River near the present town…”

Ask the Steward Summer 2020
By Dan Ernst
“Question: Foresters often talk about ‘basal area’, but I don’t know what that means. Can you help?…”

Days Gone By
“Farm in Tippecanoe County, circa 1931. A.B. Redmond is splitting out oak staves…”

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.

Resources
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Marketing Timber, The Education Store
Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment – Wildlife Responses to Timber Harvesting, The Education Store
Woodland Stewardship for Landowners, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist

Dan Shaver, President
Indiana Woodland Steward

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


Posted on January 26th, 2021 in Forestry, How To, Plants, Urban Forestry, Woodlands | No Comments »

Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee brings another new video to the ID That Tree series. Enjoy the gorgeous red fall color of the black gum on this special fall foliage edition of ID That Tree.

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
Black Gum and Tupelo, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Fall Color Pigments, Video, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources
Black Gum/Tupelo, Native Trees of Indiana River Walk, Purdue Fort Wayne
Black Gum & Tepulo, Purdue Arboretum Explorer
ID That Tree, Playlist
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

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


Posted on January 15th, 2021 in Alert, How To, Safety, Urban Forestry, Wildlife | No Comments »

coyotesMyDNR Newsletter, Indiana Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (IDNR): Indiana residents are more likely to see coyotes during wintertime, but sightings are no cause for alarm. Coyotes become more active during winter as young coyotes leave their families to find a new home and coyotes begin breeding. Coyotes may look larger than they are due to their thick winter coats, but the average coyote only weighs 20-30 pounds.

General characteristics

  • The coyote closely resembles a German shepherd dog in height and shape but it carries its tail below the level of its back instead of curved upward and is generally half the weight of a German shepherd.
  • Coyotes have a long slender snout and large, pointed ears.
  • The upper body is a grizzled gray or buff, with a reddish brown or gray muzzle and legs. The belly is white, cream-colored or reddish yellow.
  • The coyote has a bushy tail, which it carries below the level of its back.
  • Coyotes average 25 pounds (ranging from 20 to 50 pounds), and they measure 40 to 50 inches long from nose to tail tip.
  • Coyotes are elusive and normally avoid humans.
  • They can be active day or night, but are typically most active at dawn and dusk.
  • The coyote communicates by barking, yipping and howling.

Distribution and abundance

Coyotes are present in all sections of the state. There are records of coyotes in Indiana as early as 1816, though they likely inhabited Indiana well before that time. Bounties were in place in Indiana on coyotes from at least 1849 through the late 1960s. Despite this persecution by early European settlers, coyotes persisted in Indiana. Historically, coyote populations were limited in range to the prairie regions of the state, and expansion may have partially been limited because wolves suppress coyote populations, and both red and gray wolves were once abundant in Indiana. However, with the eradication of wolves and conversion of habitat to farmland, coyotes have been able to expand and adapt to new habitats.  Statewide coyote abundance has slowly increased as coyotes continued to expand into previously unoccupied habitat.  Today, coyotes occupy all of Indiana, no matter the habitat type or amount of development.

For more information, please visit Indiana Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (IDNR).

To subscribe for the monthly newsletter view: MyDNR Email Newsletter.

Resources
Coyotes, IN DNR
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

Indiana Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Hickories aren’t often thought of for their fall foliage, with some exceptions. Meet the shagbark hickory and its stunning golden leaves. Learn more in this edition of ID That Tree with Purdue Extension forester Lenny Farlee.

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 TreePlaylist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Hickory and Pecan Species, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Shagbark Hickory, Native Trees of Indiana River Walk, Purdue Fort Wayne
Shagbark Hickory, The Purdue Arboretum Explorer
FNR- Hardwood Shagbark Hickory, The Purdue Arboretum Explorer
Fall Color Pigments, Video,  Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources Youtube Channel
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Tree Appraisal and the Value of Trees, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

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


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


NOTAwardBannerCalling all teachers and parents: Do you need some new ideas on how to get students out in nature or teach them science lessons?

We’ve got you covered with our Nature of Teaching program. We’ve created more than 40 sneak peek videos that introduce you to our lesson plans, offering a quick way for teachers and other K-12 leaders to view the lessons as well as the related activities.

Many of the lesson plans meet state specifications for Next Generation Science Standards and/or Core Standards, while also offering informal curriculum items and fun activities for all K-12 leaders.

Sneak Peek Video Set Up on Web

The Nature of Teaching program offers three areas of formal and informal activity-based curricula centered around getting youth outside: wildlife, health and wellness, and food waste.

Sneak Peeks videos include topics ranging from producers, consumers and natural resources and food waste from farm to fork, to exploring nature with your senses and emotional vocabulary exploration, to trees of the Midwest and healthy water/happy home.

Subscribe to the Nature of Teaching YouTube Channel for more Wildlife, Food Waste, and Health and Wellness information.

Resources
Nature of Teaching Website
Nature of Teaching Youtube Channel
Nature of Teaching Program Receives Environmental Education Award, College of Agriculture, Purdue University
Resourceful Animal Relationships, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
The Nature of Teaching: Food Waste Solutions, The Education Store
Benefits of Connecting with Nature, The Education Store

Rod N Williams, Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Got Nature?

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