Got Nature? Blog

Posted on August 14th, 2019 in Alert, Forestry, Forests and Street Trees, Land Use | No Comments »

One of the most dangerous pests to trees is a human, especially with equipment.  tree injury from equipmentInjuries to trees caused by a lawn mower or weed trimmer can seriously threaten a tree’s health.

Additionally, damage to the bark layer of trees causes a long-term liability by creating a wound which leads to a defect, becoming an unsafe tree.

The site of injury is usually the root flare area, where the tree meets the turf and gets in the path of the mower or trimmer.  The bark on a tree acts to protect a very important transport system called the cambium layer.

mower injury on tree

This is where specialized tubes are located which move nutrients and water between the roots and the leaves. Bark layers can vary in thickness on different tree species.  It can be more than an inch in thickness or less than 1/16 of an inch on young, smooth-barked trees such as maples and birch trees.  This isn’t much protection against string trimmers and mowing equipment, especially the young trees.

Any type of damage or removal of the bark and the transport system can result in long-term damage.  Damage, which extends completely around the base of the tree called girdling, will result in ultimate death in a short time.

weed eater injury on tree

Tree wounds are serious when it comes to tree health. The wounded area is an opportunity for other insects and diseases to enter the tree that causes further damage. Trees can be completely killed from an attack following injuries. Fungi becomes active on the wound surface, causing structural defects from the decay.  This weakens the tree or it eventually dies, creating a risk tree to people around it.

Newly planted, young trees need all the help we can provide to become established in the landscape and these trees are often the most commonly and seriously affected by maintenance equipment.  However, injury can be avoided easily and at very low cost with these suggestions.

  1. tree with mulch at baseThe removal of turf or prevention of grass and weeds from growing at the base of the tree are low-tech solutions to eliminate a serious problem. Spraying herbicides to eliminate vegetation around the base of the tree can decrease mowing maintenance costs. Be sure to use care when applying herbicides around trees.
  2. A 2-3” layer of mulch on the root zone of the tree provides an attractive and healthy environment for the tree to grow. Additionally, it provides a visual cue to keep equipment away from the tree.
  3. Also, trunk guards and similar devices can add an additional measure of protection for the tree. Using white, expanding tree guards can help improve the trees ability to withstand equipment contact, but also help to reduce winter injury.

Trees are a major asset to your property and important to our environment.  Protect our trees and preserve these valuable assets by staying away from tree trunks with any mowing or weed trimming equipment.  The damage lasts and it cannot be repaired and often results in losing your tree.

Purdue University Landscape Report Article

Resources
Corrective Pruning for Deciduous Trees, The Education Store – Purdue Extension resource center
What plants can I landscape with in areas that floods with hard rain?, Purdue Got Nature? Blog
Tree support systems, The Education Store
Tree Installation: Process and Practices, The Education Store

Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forest Specialist
Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on August 12th, 2019 in Alert, How To, Safety, Wildlife | No Comments »

INDNR Division of Fish & Wildlife Wild Bulletin: You can now purchase your 2019-20 deer hunting bucklicenses. Don’t wait until right before the season! A valid Indiana deer hunting license, resident youth hunt/trap, or comprehensive lifetime hunting license is required to hunt for deer unless you meet one of the license exemptions. License exemptions can be found on the Hunting and Trapping Guide webpage. All deer harvested in Indiana must be reported within 48 hours of the time of harvest at an on-site check station, online at the Indiana Online Game Check webpage, through your Indiana Fish & Wildlife Account or by phone at 1-800-419-1326. On-site check stations information can be found on the DNR: Indiana Hunting Check Stations webpage.

Season dates and deer hunting FAQs can be found at deer.dnr.IN.gov. Deer licenses can be purchased at an authorized retailer or online at on.IN.gov/inhuntfish.

The deer reduction zone season starts Sept. 15 in designated locations. Deer Reduction Zones, previously called urban zones, give hunters opportunities to harvest deer in defined urban areas and along portions of Indiana highways, in addition to statewide bag limits. More information of deer reduction zone can be found on the DNR: Deer Reduction Zone webpage.

Other Resources
Age Determination in White-Tailed Deer video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
How to Score Your White-Tailed Deer video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
White-Tailed Deer Post Harvest Collection video, Purdue Extension – FNR YouTube Playlist
Indiana Deer Hunting, Biology and Management, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
2019-20 Indiana Hunting and Trapping Guide, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Managing White-Tailed Deer: Collecting Data from Harvested Deer, Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Prepare Now to Collect Deer Harvest Data, Quality Deer Management Association

Indiana Department of Natural Resources/Department of Fish and Wildlife


United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Bulletin: USDA declares August Tree Check Month and urges public to look for Asian longhorned beetle.Asian Longhorned Beetle

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2019 — August is the height of summer, and it is also the best time to spot the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) as it starts to emerge from trees. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is asking the public to take five minutes to step outside and report any signs of this invasive pest. Checking trees for the beetle will help residents protect their own trees and better direct USDA’s efforts to eradicate this beetle from the United States.

“It’s important to look for signs of the beetle now, because it’s slow to spread during the early stages of an infestation,” said Josie Ryan, APHIS’ National Operations Manager for the ALB Eradication Program. “With the public’s help, we can target new areas where it has spread and provide a better chance of quickly containing it.”

The Asian longhorned beetle feeds on a wide variety of popular hardwood trees, including maple, birch, elm, willow, ash and poplar. It has already led to the loss of more than 180,000 trees. Active infestations are being fought in three areas of the country: Worcester County, MA, Long Island, NY (Nassau and Suffolk Counties), and Clermont County, Ohio.

“Homeowners need to know that infested trees do not recover and will eventually die, becoming safety hazards,” warned Ryan. “USDA removes infested trees as soon as possible because they can drop branches and even fall, especially during storms, and this keeps the pest from spreading to nearby healthy trees.”

The Asian longhorned beetle has distinctive markings that are easy to recognize:

  1. Antennae that are longer than the insect’s body with black and white bands.
  2. A shiny, jet-black body with white spots, about 1” to 1 ½” long.
  3. Six legs and feet, possibly bluish-colored.

Signs of infestation include:Asian Longhorned Beetle Tree Damage

  1. Round exit holes in tree trunks and branches about the size of a dime or smaller.
  2. Shallow oval or round scars in the bark where the adult beetle chewed an egg site.
  3. Sawdust-like material called frass, laying on the ground around the tree or in the branches.
  4. Dead branches or limbs falling from an otherwise healthy-looking tree.

After seeing signs of the beetle:

  1. Make note of what was found and where. Take a photo, if possible.
  2. Try to capture the insect, place in a container, and freeze it. This will preserve it for easier identification.
  3. Report findings by calling 1-866-702-9938 or completing an online form at www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com.

It is possible to eliminate this pest and USDA has been successfully doing so in several areas. Most recently, the agency declared Stonelick and Batavia Townships in Ohio to be free of the Asian longhorned beetle. We also eradicated the beetle from Illinois, New Jersey, Boston, MA, and parts of New York. The New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens are in the final stages of eradication.

For more information about the Asian longhorned beetle, other ways to keep it from spreading—such as not moving firewood—and eradication program activities, visit www.AsianLonghornedBeetle.com. For local inquiries or to speak to your State Plant Health Director, call 1-866-702-9938.

Other Resources:
Report Invasive Species, Purdue Agriculture & Indiana Invasive Species Council
Great Lakes Early Detection Network, Bugwood Apps
New Hope for Fighting Ash Borer, Got Nature? Blog
Mile-a-Minute Invasive Vine Found Indiana, Got Nature? Blog
Sericea Lespedeza: Plague on the Prairie, Got Nature? Blog
Invasive Plants: Impact on Environment and People, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Invasive Plant Species in Hardwood Tree Plantations, The Education Store
Invasive Plant Species: Callery Pear, Purdue Extension The Education Store

United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Purdue Landscape Report: When was the last time you really looked at your trees?  It’s all too easy to just trees, grasslandsenjoy their cool shade and the sound of their leaves, but if you don’t know what to look for you could miss deadly diseases or dastardly demons lurking in their leaves and branches. A quick check can help you stop a problem before it kills your tree or your local forest!

National Tree Check Month is the perfect time to make sure your tree is in tip-top shape! Our checklist will help you spot early warning signs of native pests and pathogens and invasive pests like Asian longhorned beetlespotted lanternfly, and sudden oak death. You can stop invasive pests in their tracks by reporting them if you see them.

Is your tree healthy and normal?
Start by making sure you know the type of tree you have. Is it a deciduous tree like an oak or maple? Or is it an evergreen that like a spruce or a pine? Don’t worry about exactly what species it is. It’s enough for you to have a general sense of what the tree should look like when it’s healthy.

Check the leaves

  • Are the leaves yellow, red or brown?
  • Are they spotted or discolored?
  • Do the leaves look distorted or disfigured?
  • Is there a sticky liquid on the leaves?
  • Do the leaves appear wet, or give off a foul odor?
  • Are leaves missing?
  • Are parts of the leaves chewed?

Check the trunk and branches

  • Are there holes or splits in the trunk or branches?
  • Is the bark peeling from a tree that shouldn’t shed its bark?
  • Are there tunnels or unusual patterns under the bark?
  • Is there sawdust on or under the tree?
  • Is there sap oozing down the tree?
  • Does the sap have a bad odor?
  • Do sticky drops fall on you when you stand under the tree? You might have spotted lanternfly. Please report it right away!

Now what? If you answered YES to any of the questions above, there’s a good chance something is wrong. To decide if and how you should treat or report the problem, you’ll need to have a tentative diagnosis. Luckily, there are many ways to get one!

Know the tree species? Use the Purdue Tree Doctor to get a diagnosis and a recommendation on whether treating or reporting is needed.  This app allows you to flip through photos of problem plagued leaves, branches and trunks to help you rapidly identify the problem.  If you have an invasive pest, it will guide you how to report it.

Don’t know the tree species and still need help? Reach out to local experts. We’re happy to help!

Confused but think something is TERRIBLY WRONG?  Contact Purdue’s Exotic Forest Pest Educatorreport online, or call 1-866-NOEXOTIC.

Resources:
Trees and Storms, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Why Is My Tree Dying?, The Education Store
Caring for storm-damaged trees/How to Acidify Soil in the Yard, In the Grow, Purdue Extension
Tree Risk Management, The Education Store
Mechanical Damage to Trees: Mowing and Maintenance Equipment, The Education Store
Tree Installation: Process and Practices,  The Education Store
Tree Planting Part 1 & Tree Planting Part 2, videos, The Education Store

Cliff Sadof, Professor & Coordinator of Extension
Purdue University, Department of Entomology

Elizabeth Barnes, Exotic Forest Pest Educator
Purdue University, Department of Entomology


With all of the recent rain we have had throughout the state,raccoon close-up I have received several inquiries about effects on wildlife and what we can expect.  While some flooding is natural in low areas and wildlife are adapted to respond, extreme flooding can impact wildlife. Flood waters can wash away nests or drown developing or very young animals for those living in low-lying areas. For example, heavy spring rains can reduce nest success of wild turkeys.

In many cases, wildlife will adapt by simply moving to higher ground. I tend to get an increase in inquiries about snakes after flooding. They begin showing up in neighborhood homes when they have never been observed in years past. Certainly our environment changes over time and wildlife can and do respond to these changes.  However, sudden changes are likely due to a response of snakes moving to drier ground. The good news is this and other similar displacement of wildlife is usually temporary.

What can we do?  I’m afraid not much for our currently flooded friends. However, in the long-term, times like this reinforce the need to create and enhance quality wildlife habitat. Providing wildlife with quality habitat that contains the necessary food, cover and water resources gives them a fighting chance to deal with issues that inevitably arise. In addition, wetlands that landowners build and restore on their properties not only enhance wildlife habitat, but also help retain moderate flood waters and recharge groundwater supplies.

If some unwanted wildlife has overstayed their welcome in and around your home, check out the Purdue Education Store publication, Considerations for Trapping Nuisance Wildlife with Box Traps. If you think you have found a sick or injured animal, you can find a list of licensed Wild Animal Rehabilitators in your area on the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Orphaned and Injured webpage. In Indiana, wildlife rehabilitators have necessary state and federal permits to house and care for sick or injured wild animals.

Additional Resources
Preventing Wildlife Damage – Do You Need a Permit? The Education Store, Purdue Extension
The Basics of Managing Wildlife on Agricultural Lands​, The Education Store, Purdue Extension

Brian J. MacGowan, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University


Posted on July 24th, 2019 in Alert, Land Use, Natural Resource Planning | No Comments »

corn fieldPurdue Extension, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and the Indiana Land Resources Council (ILRC) are proud to announce the publication of a new document series designed to assist local governments on current and emerging land use issues. Titled, “Community Planning for Agriculture and Natural Resources:  A Guide for Local Government,” this series will serve as the launching point for collaborative discussion at the Indiana Land Use Summit, a one-day community planning workshop to be held on August 28 at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds and Conference Complex located at 1900 E. Main Street in Danville, Indiana.

The Indiana Land Use Summit will include an overview of the document series, guest speakers, breakout sessions, and panel discussions featuring planning, operational, economic, government, and academic perspectives on multiple land use issues. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet the authors, ask questions, network, and brainstorm future openings for technical assistance and partnerships. Please see the agenda tab for more information.

Registration is now open for the Indiana Land Use Summit. The Summit is open to all attendees with an interest in integrating agriculture and natural resources as part of community land use planning efforts. Registration is $40, which will also include lunch and a hard copy of Community Planning for Agriculture and Natural Resources: A Guide for Local Government, which can be viewed or downloaded for free.

Date: Wed, August 28, 2019
Location: Hendricks Co Conference Center

View agenda and registration: Indiana Land Use Summit

Other Resources:
Sustainable Communities, Purdue University Extension and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant
Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces, Purdue University Forestry and Natural Resources Extension
Protect Our Water and Aquatic Animals – Find a Medicine Collection Program in Your Area, Got Nature? Blog

Kara Salazar, Assistant Program Leader and Extension Specialist for Sustainable Communities
Purdue Forestry & Natural Resources


Posted on July 24th, 2019 in Alert, How To, Invasive Plant Species, Plants | No Comments »

Come on out to the Invasive Species Management workshop and learn how to control out-of-control invasive vegetation on your forestleafy vine plant property! Practical, hands-on training by foresters and natural resource professionals. See first hand results of invasive control practices. This event takes place on Thursday, September 5, from 6 to 8:30 PM and Saturday, September 7, from 9 AM to 2 PM EST. Saturday lunch will be provided.

Topics:
1. Assessing your invasive plant problem – species, size, amount
2. Three pillars of invasive management – prevention, early detection, strategic management of existing infestations.
3. What are your control options and deciding which methods are best for your situation.
4. Herbicides? Which to use, how to read the label, calculating rates, how to mix, application methods and techniques, timing, safety, laws and regulations.
5. Funding and technical assistance
6. Hiring a contractor
7. Set your goals and objectives. Put it all together in a plan.
8. Beyond control – habitat restoration and enhancement.

Register by August 23rd.
Contact Name: Emily Finch, SWCD Invasive Species Specialist
Contact Phone: 812-482-1171, Ext 3

For details view flyer here: Invasive Species Management Flyer 2019 (.696MB pdf).

Resources:
Report Invasive Species, Purdue Agriculture & Indiana Invasive Species Council
Great Lakes Early Detection Network, Bugwood Apps
New Hope for Fighting Ash Borer, Got Nature? Blog
Mile-a-Minute Invasive Vine Found Indiana, Got Nature? Blog
Sericea Lespedeza: Plague on the Prairie, Got Nature? Blog
Invasive Plants: Impact on Environment and People, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Invasive Plant Species in Hardwood Tree Plantations, The Education Store
Invasive Plant Species: Callery Pear, Purdue Extension The Education Store

Ron Rathfon, Regional Extension Forester
Southern Indiana Purdue Ag. Center
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


Cockroaches are serious threats to human health. They carry dozens of types of bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, that can sicken people. And the saliva, feces and body parts they leave behind may not only trigger allergies and asthma but could cause the condition in some children.

cockroach in lab

A German cockroach feeds on an insecticide in the laboratory portion of a Purdue University study that determined the insects are gaining cross-resistance to multiple insecticides at one time. (Photo by John Obermeyer/Purdue Entomology)

A Purdue University study led by Michael Scharf, professor and O.W. Rollins/Orkin Chair in the Department of Entomology, now finds evidence that German cockroaches (Blattella germanica L.) are becoming more difficult to eliminate as they develop cross-resistance to exterminators’ best insecticides. The problem is especially prevalent in urban areas and in low-income or federally subsidized housing where resources to effectively combat the pests aren’t as available.

“This is a previously unrealized challenge in cockroaches,” said Scharf, whose findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports. “Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone.”

Each class of insecticide works in a different way to kill cockroaches. Exterminators will often use insecticides that are a mixture of multiple classes or change classes from treatment to treatment. The hope is that even if a small percentage of cockroaches is resistant to one class, insecticides from other classes will eliminate them.

Scharf and his study co-authors set out to test those methods at multi-unit buildings in Indiana and Illinois over six months. In one treatment, three insecticides from different classes were rotated into use each month for three months and then repeated. In the second, they used a mixture of two insecticides from different classes for six months. In the third, they chose an insecticide to which cockroaches had low-level starting resistance and used it the entire time.

In each location, cockroaches were captured before the study and lab-tested to determine the most effective insecticides for each treatment, setting up the scientists for the best possible outcomes.

“If you have the ability to test the roaches first and pick an insecticide that has low resistance, that ups the odds,” Scharf said. “But even then, we had trouble controlling populations.”

For full article: Rapid cross-resistance bringing cockroaches closer to invincibility.

Resources
Report Invasive Species, Purdue Agriculture & Indiana Invasive Species Council
Purdue experts encourage ‘citizen scientists’ to report invasive species, Purdue Agriculture News
New Hope for Fighting Ash Borer, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources
Mile-a-Minute Invasive Vine Found Indiana, Got Nature? Blog
Sericea Lespedeza: Plague on the Prairie, Got Nature? Blog

Michael E. Scharf, Professor and O.W. Rollins/Orkin Chair
Purdue Department of Entomology

Brian J. Wallheimer, Science Writer
Purdue College of Agriculture


man with fishing polesJune 2019 IDNR Wildlife Bulletin Newsletter: Ever hooked a fish that left you scratching your head? There is now an easy way to help identify your catch. Just use the DNR Fish Identification Form to submit a request and email a photo or video. Not only will you be able to settle disputes, but we can also receive important location information for rare species.

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. A fisheries biologist may contact you with questions about your observation or to set up a site visit to verify authenticity details of any photos submitted.

What we’re looking for in fish ID photos:

  1. A picture of the entire fish with something in it to reference size (e.g., ruler, coin)
  2. Close up of any unique features of the fish

Please email photos to fishid@dnr.IN.gov in medium size .jpeg file format. Videos should be .mp4, wmv or .mov and less than 10 MB in size.

Resources
Wildlife Bulletin Newsletter, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Fishing Guide and Regulations, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
List of Indiana Fishes, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Recreational Fishing and Fish Consumption, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
A Fish Farmer’s Guide to Understanding Water Quality, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Pond Management: Stocking Fish in Indiana Ponds, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)


man standing in tall grass

A “weedy” field like this may seem unsightly to some, but to wildlife, it provides invaluable food and cover. Just by leaving this field unmowed, you can improve habitat on your farm.

man mowing tall grass

Mowing just to clean up the farm, or Recreational Mowing Syndrome (RMS), eliminates habitat for countless wildlife species.

Do you have a sudden urge to jump in the tractor and mow your fields, field borders or road ditches?
You might have RMS.

Do you enjoy spending your weekend in the cab of the tractor with a mower in tow in search of places to mow across your property?
You might have RMS.

Do you get queasy at the sight of a “weedy” unkempt field?
You might have RMS.

What is RMS you ask? RMS stands for Recreational Mowing Syndrome, a condition that afflicts many rural landowners during the summer months. And if you answered yes to any or all of the questions above, then you have RMS.

What is it?
RMS is the sudden urge many landowners get to ‘clean’ up their property by mowing the ideal fields, field borders, and road ditches around the farm during the summer months. While a mowed field may look attractive in the eyes of a landowner, in the eyes of wildlife, this is a serious problem.

These prime mowing spots provide habitat for a suite of birds, mammals, herpetofuana, and pollinating insects that inhabit our rural landscapes. Many of these species are actively nesting or raising young in these areas during peak mowing season – April through September. And the weeds coming up in these fields like common milkweed, tall ironweed, common ragweed, and many others provide food and cover for wildlife.

How to treat it?
The easiest way to treat RMS is by going cold-turkey – park the tractor for the summer. If you are not ready to give up mowing all together, then restrict your mowing to just the lanes around the fields, instead of the whole field. If you are ready to give up mowing, but still want to enjoy time in the tractor, try these options.

Instead of hooking up the mower, hook up the sprayer and go control some invasive species on the property, like bush honeysuckle, autumn olive, or sericea lespedeza. Or try hooking up the disk and disking around the field to prepare firebreaks for a late summer or fall prescribed fire.

You can still spend time on the tractor during the summer months without eliminating wildlife habitat through mowing. In fact, you can improve it!

Next time you look at your window and see a “weedy” field, don’t cringe and give into the urge to mow it. Instead, just smile and listen to all the quail whistling, songbirds singing, and bees buzzing in the habitat you improved by not mowing.

Resources
Renovating native warm-season grass stands for wildlife: A Land Manager’s Guide, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Effective Firebreaks for Safe Use of Prescribed Fire, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension – FNR
Sericea Lespedeza: Plague on the Prairie, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension – FNR

Jarred Brooke, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


Got Nature?

Archives