Got Nature? Blog

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.”

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

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

This week, we introduce the Kentucky Coffeetree or Gymnocladus dioicus.

This native species, which is part of the broad legume family, historically provided a substitute for coffee, care of the dark bean like seeds held within its fruit, which is in the form of a wide, thick-shelled pod.

It is easily identifiable by its large seed pods, long doubly-compound leaves and textured, flaking/peeling bark with vertical ridges. Its compound leaves, sometimes two feet or more in length, are arranged alternately on very thick twigs that have a mottled color and a distinct, salmon-colored pith.

This tree is found in many parts of the state, but it is never a common tree and is usually widely scattered. According to the Morton Arboretum, Kentucky coffeetree is tolerant to pollution and a wide range of soils making it a suitable tree for urban environments.

This species can grow to up to 100 feet in height and as large as five and a half feet in diameter at breast height.

For full article with photos view: Intro to Trees of Indiana: Kentucky Coffeetree

Resources:
Kentucky Coffeetree, Tour Hardwoods of the Central Midwest
Kentucky Coffeetree, Purdue Fort Wayne Native Trees of Indiana River Walk
Top 5 List for Tree Selection and Planting, Purdue Extension-Forestry & Natural Resources (FNR) Got Nature? Blog
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, Purdue Extension-FNR’s YouTube playlist
Woodland Management Moment , Purdue Extension-FNR’s 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


Posted on July 1st, 2022 in How To, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

Weasel on brush and rock. Photo by IN DNR, in.gov/DNR.

MyDNR, Indiana’s Outdoor Newsletter-Help the DNR by Reporting a Mammal: Did you get something unusual on a trail camera and want to share it to help wildlife in Indiana? DNR has launched a new Report a Mammal page. We are asking for the public’s help to submit sightings to the new online report form. Report a Mammal includes animals like armadillos, badgers, gray foxes, flying squirrels, star-nosed moles, ground squirrels, weasels, and more.

Indiana DNR offers a new, easier way to submit a report for the mammal, no password required. The report form also includes species at risk of declining and Species of Greatest Conservation Need and allows you to submit a photo or brief video to help document the observation. Media of the animal observed would be most useful, though DNR biologists can examine evidence left by the mammal too (tracks, scat, or other signs). Completion of this form is voluntary. Data submitted may be shared within DNR and partners with the discretion of DNR staff. Personal information will be used to process your observation and may also be used for participation in surveys and other secondary purposes. DNR staff will only respond to reports if more information is needed.

To view what to report and for identification tips see: Full article > > >

Resources:
A Template for Your Wildlife Habitat Management Plan, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Wildlife Habitat Hint, Purdue Extension – Forestry & Natural Resources (FNR) YouTube Playlist
Orphaned Wildlife, Got Nature? blog
Orphaned & Injured Animals, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR)
Purdue Extension – FNR: Ask An Expert, Video, Purdue Extension –  FNR YouTube channel
Nature of Teaching, Website
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube channel

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR) – Fish and Wildlife 


Cottonwood leaf. Intro of Trees of Indiana.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.

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

This week, we introduce the Cottonwood or Populus deltoides.

This large bottomland tree’s scientific name deltoides comes from the delta shape of the leaves, which are triangular, often with prominent teeth that resemble saw blades along the edges. This species is also named for its early season fruit, which is a little tuft of white hairs that holds a small seed and is produced in large quantities and often blown far from the parent tree.

Leaves, which are bright green on top and paler below, extend from long flattened leaf stems, which allow the leaves to flutter in the wind. The bark of young cottonwoods is smooth and yellow-green; the old bark is medium gray/brown and rough, with thick, flat ridges that run up and down the trunk.

This tree is found in moist river bottoms and stream bottoms and areas where there is flooding and new soil is created. It shades the streams, holds the soil in place on river bottoms and provides diversity to Indiana forests. Cottonwood is found from Saskatchewan through the Great Plains and east to the Appalachians and the southeast coastal plains.

This species grows rapidly and can be well over 100 feet in height and as large as three or foot feet in diameter.

The wood of eastern cottonwood is very soft, but is strong for its weight. At 12 percent moisture content, it weighs 28 pounds per cubic foot, making it one of the lightest commercially available woods.

For full article with photos view: Intro to Trees of Indiana: Cottonwood

Resources:
Eastern Cottonwood, Tour Hardwoods of the Central Midwest
Eastern Cottonwood – Purdue Arboretum
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, Purdue Extension-FNR’s YouTube playlist
Woodland Management Moment , Purdue Extension-FNR’s 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


Posted on June 29th, 2022 in Forestry, Timber Marketing, Woodlands | No Comments »

Drone outside of forest, potential for collaboration with Digital Forestry.The Hardwood Tree Improvement & Regeneration Center (HTIRC) continues to share top forest research as scientists, experts and partners further the mission of tree improvement, management, and protection of hardwood forests. The most recent HTIRC Annual Report is now available and includes the following articles:

  • Woodland Owners, Get a Head-Start on your 2021 Tax Return
  • HTIRC Annual Meeting Highlights Potential for Digital Forestry
  • Remote Sensing to Detect Forest Pests
  • Sustainability of Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) in Indiana
  • Forest Service Scientists Mentor Summer Interns
  • Jim McKenna retires from U.S. Forest Service, NRS-14
  • Stay Up-to-date with HTIRC Activities and Products

View the HTIRC 2021 Annual Report and also learn more about their student internships and partners.

If you would like to subscribe and receive the e-newsletter visit HTIRC e-Newsletter.

The mission of the HTIRC is to advance the science and application of tree improvement, management, and protection of hardwood forests, with emphasis in the Central Hardwood Forest Region (CHFR). They seek to develop research and technology-transfer programs that provide knowledge focused on the establishment and maintenance of sustainable, genetically diverse native forests and the development of highly productive woodlands that provide a wide array of products and services.

Other resources:
Tropical HTIRC
An Introduction to Trees of Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Native Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest, The Education Store
ID That Tree, Playlist, Subscribe to Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
A Woodland Management Moment, Playlist, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Channel
Investing in Indiana Woodlands, The Education Store
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store
Finding help from a professional forester, Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association

Matthew Ginzel, Professor in Entomology and Forestry and Director of Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center (HTIRC)
Purdue University Department of Forestry and 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


Posted on June 13th, 2022 in How To, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »
Wild adult turkey hen with seven one week old poults.

The image here shows one hen with seven poults, for a brood size of eight.

MyDNR, Indiana’s Outdoor Newsletter: Help the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife monitor summer production of wild turkeys by recording wild turkey sightings during July and August using our online survey tool. Brood surveys provide useful estimates about annual production by wild turkey hens and the survival of poults (young turkeys) through the summer brood-rearing period. Summer brood survival is generally the primary factor influencing wild turkey population trends. Information on summer brood survival is essential for sound turkey management.

This summer, multiple broods may gather into what is termed a “gang” brood with several adult hens and multiple broods of poults of varied ages. During summer, adult gobblers (male turkeys) play no role in raising a brood and either form small male only “bachelor” flocks or are observed as a single gobbler. No gobblers should be reported.

Wild adult turkey hen with seven one week old poults. If you need more information on this content contact Scott Johnson, Wildlife Science Supervisor, at sjohnson@dnr.IN.gov.

The image below shows one hen with eight poults, for a brood size of nine.

Use this guide Introduction to Turkey Broods (pdf) to help you identify and how to report. Please provide as accurate a count of both hens and poults as possible. It is also just as important to record observations of hens without poults. Don’t compile multiple observations as one report, instead report each different observation separately, even if observations of different broods are made on the same day in the same county. Understand that by mid to late August, turkey poults are normally about two-thirds the size of an adult, and a juvenile gobbler (jake) can be about the same size as an adult hen. Suspected repeat observations of the same turkeys during the same month should not be recorded.

You can share your observations of wild turkey hens with and without poults from July 1 to August 31, 2022. We’re excited to offer you a new, easier way to submit your turkey brood sighting, no password required. If you’re new to turkey brood identification or need help identifying male and female turkeys please visit Turkey Brood Reporting.

Check out this video from Jarred Brooke, Wildlife Extension Specialist, Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources:

Resources:
Four Simple Steps, Help Indiana DNR Estimate Wild Turkey Populations, Purdue Extension – Forestry & Natural Resources
Why Count Turkeys?, Indiana DNR
Truths and Myths about Wild Turkey, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Wildlife, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
Forest Improvement Handbook, The Education Store

Jarred Brooke, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IN DNR) – Division of Fish and Wildlife


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


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 


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.

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

This week, we introduce the Blue Beech or Carpinus caroliniana.Blue Beech leaf

The blue beech, also known as the American hornbeam, musclewood or the water beech, is an understory tree that stands out due to its gray bark and striations that resemble muscles and sinews as well as its doubly toothed leaves.

The small tree, which typically grows to a height of 20 to 35 feet, has oblong leaves with doubly toothed leaf margins, arranged alternately on very fine twigs. Lower leaf veins are seldom forked. The fruit is in clusters, consisting of small, seed-like nuts on small, three-lobed leaves. It’s bark and fruit help differentiate blue beech from its close relative, the ironwood.

Blue beech’s natural range is the majority of the midwestern and eastern United States, reaching as far south as Texas.

For full article and photos view Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources News: Trees of Indiana: Blue Beech.

Other Resources:
Beech – 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
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


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