Got Nature? Blog

Indiana batAt different times of the year, I get questions about bats in structures.  Bats are a timely issue towards the end of summer because young bats will soon be able to fly.  Excluding bats from structures is limited to this time.  This process is typically called “venting” where access points (both in use and potential) are identified, most are sealed off, and the remaining points are fitted with one-way doors that allow bats to leave but not reenter. If only the opening they use is sealed off, they will simply use another entry point. Think of it this way – our houses have multiple points of entry, but you may only use one. You will use another if necessary.

Bats can make their way into a house in a number of ways – gaps between siding and chimney, gaps between roof sheathing and fascia board, etc.  New and old construction alike. Eliminating access to all of these small, potential points of access can be a challenge. The bodies of some bat species are as small as your thumb. Even though you don’t have an attic, there are still spaces inside a structure where bats can live.

Bats are one of the most difficult wildlife conflicts to deal with because of the nature of their habits. They can pass through extremely small openings, move throughout the inside of a structure, and often entre/occupy hard to reach areas. Bat exclusion is not an activity I recommend for most homeowners.  There is a skill necessary to find and seal all possible access points. Since most of these are located high above ground and accessing these points can require special ladders, lifts and other safety equipment.

Having bats in the attic isn’t simply a nuisance issue, but also can be a safety issue. Like Most wildlife carry diseases. With bats, histoplasmosis and rabies are the two that are the ones most concern for people with bats in their homes.  The Center of Disease Control (CDC) has good information on these and other diseases. Fleas that live on bats can also be vectors for disease. It is always a good idea to limit exposure to wildlife animals as much as possible. For bats, venting in the end of summer and fall and preventing reentry is a logical first step.

If you have bats and want to solve the problem now is the time to contact professionals who can help. Unfortunately, most nuisance wildlife control operators don’t do bat work because it requires specialized equipment and the difficulty of it.  Because of that, control will not be cheap for the customer.  Many people construct bat houses to attract bats. While beneficial, artificial bat houses will not attract bats from an attic.

Resources:
Selecting a Nuisance Wildlife Control Professional, The Education Store-Purdue Extension’s resource center
Bats in Indiana, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
Bat Houses, Bat Conservation International

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


Posted on August 5th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Birds and Residential Window Strikes: Tips for Prevention

Collisions with man-made structures are one of the primary causes of bird mortality. In fact, up to a billion birds are killed each year in the United States due to window strikes. Approximately 50% of the time, these strikes result in death.

This publication offers practical, researched, do-it-yourself tips to limit bird collisions at your residence – many of which can be implemented at little or no cost. It also outlines best practices for what to do if and when a bird strike occurs.

To view this full publication please go to Birds and Residential Window Strikes: Tips for Prevention at The Education Store.

Resources
Learn how forests are used by birds new videos, Got Nature? Blog
Managing Woodlands for Birds, The Education Store-Purdue Extension resource center
Climate Change + Birds, Purdue Climate Change Research Center

Jennifer Antonides, Graduate Research Assistant
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


Staked Tree

Figure 1. Properly staked tree adds support.

Stake or not to stake, that is the question!?

“No,” is the likely answer to these common questions about post-planting tree care. Trees establish themselves quite well in normal situations. Support systems such as staking and guying are, in most cases, unnecessary and can even be detrimental. Movement caused by the wind is crucial to help saplings develop into strong, structurally balanced trees.

However, in unusual conditions, staking, guying, or a similar system may be needed to hold tress upright until adequate root growth anchors them firmly in the soil. When necessary, the support system must be installed properly and removed at the appropriate time to prevent damage.

Guyed Tree

Figure 2. Guy wires can provide stability in harsh, windy conditions.

When to Stake Trees

When stakes are needed, timing depends on the environment and the type of tree.

  • Bare-root trees and container-grown trees
  • Large evergreen trees with high wind exposure
  • Open sites exposed to strong winds
  • Taller trees with undersized root balls
  • Trees in areas with high rates of vandalism
  • Threat of mechanical damage

Improperly staked trees suffer from poor development such as decreased truck diameters and smaller root systems – and may be unable to stay upright after you take the supports away. Often trunk tissue suffers from rubbing and may even be girdled by support materials. Also, due to poor development and taper, previously supported trunks are more likely to break off in high winds or blow over after stakes are removed.

Girdling wires

Figure 3. Support materials left too long can damage trees.

Proper Methods and Materials of Guying and Staking

Staking and guying a tree trunk to keep it upright can be a necessary, temporary support system, but does not compensate for poor root development and establishment long-term.

  • Guying is temporary and typically used on larger trees that are transplanted balled-and-burlapped. Three points of attachment provide the best support for these large-trees.
  • Staking connects the trunk to a nearby steel or wooden post. This is a common approach on smaller trees or containerized tree stock.
  • Underground stabilizing systems are also effective and economical for stabilizing the root balls on larger balled-and-burlapped trees. There are several commercial anchor systems available.

The cardinal sins of support include: staking trees too high, too tightly, and for too long which all cause tree damage. Improper staking can cause stem abrasions and trunk girdling. Review the anchor, attachment point, and tension on a regular basis, adjusting as needed to make certain the supports are effective and not damaging the tree. If a tree is supported, the ties and guys should be removed as soon as feasible, usually no later than after one growing season or one year. For more information see Purdue extension publication, Tree Support Systems.

Related Sources:
Stake or not to stake, that is the question?!, The Landscape Report
Tree Support Systems, The Education Store
Planting and Transplanting Landscape Trees and Shrubs, The Education Store
Latest Issue of the Purdue Landscape Report, Got Nature Post
Plant for the Sun!, Got Nature Post

Lindsey Purcell, Urban Forestry Specialist
Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on July 20th, 2018 in Forestry, Plants | No Comments »

Tree lineThe latest issue (18-11) of The Purdue Landscape Report has been released July 17th.  This issue contains four articles about common tree care accidents, problems of tree transplant shock, leaf loss, and poison ivy.

Will my Trees Recover After Losing their Leaves?
Damage caused by defoliating insects can be quite shocking. An effective response to this sort of defoliation should be based on your understanding of how losing leaves affects plant health.

Poison Ivy
Most landscape professionals and gardeners have heard of the wise advice “leaves of three, let it be” referring to the pest plant poison ivy. While not quite as catchy, the saying really should be “leaflets of three, let it be.”

Homeowner Tree Care Accidents
The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) conducted an analysis of 62 civilian tree care-related accidents reported by the media from January 2017 to June 2018. TCIA is a trade association that promotes professional tree care and discourages homeowners from taking unnecessary risks caring for their trees themselves.

Common Abiotic Problems of Ornamentals: Transplant Shock
Transplant shock occurs when plants become stressed due to poor root establishment, often mimicking drought stress.  The severity of transplant shock is dependent on many factors, which include plant species, soil type/quality, moisture, temperature, growth stage of the plant, root loss from the nursery, as well as many other factors.

Please check out the full articles at The Purdue Landscape Report 

Resources:
Poison Ivy, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Planting & Transplanting Landscape Trees and Shrubs, The Education Store
Tree Support System, The Education Store
Construction & Trees: Guidelines for Protection, The Education Store

Cliff Sadof, Entomology Extension Coordinator
Purdue Department of Entomology

Rosie Lerner, Extension Consumer Horticulturist
Purdue Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

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

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


Posted on July 20th, 2018 in Alert, Forestry, Woodlands | No Comments »
Purple Paint Law, Purple paint on this tree marks "No Trespassing". Image courtesy of Creative Commons (Texas A&M AgriLife Communications photo by Robert Burns)

Purple paint on this tree marks “No Trespassing”. Image courtesy of creativecommons.org (Photo by: Robert Burns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications.)

A new Indiana law went into effect on July 1st, that may help you mark your property boundaries more efficiently to prevent trespassing. The “purple paint law” is found in Indiana Code IC 35-43-2-2 and stipulates that appropriately applied purple paint can be used to mark your property with the same legal effect as using a No Trespassing sign. Landowners attempting to protect their property from trespassing have often been frustrated by the need to post signs and replace signs torn down, vandalized, or rendered unreadable by the elements. Marking boundaries with purple paint should provide a more efficient and inexpensive option, as well as eliminating placing nails in your trees.

Below are the guidelines for applying the paint marks to indicate a No Trespassing area.

  1.  Each purple mark must be readily visible to any person approaching the property and must be placed on:
    1.  a tree:
      1. as a vertical line of at least eight (8) inches in length and with the bottom of the mark at least three (3) feet and not more than five (5) feet from the ground; and
      2. not more than one hundred (100) feet from the nearest other marked tree; or
    2.  a post:
      1.  with the mark covering at least the top two (2) inches of the post, and with the bottom or the mark at least (3) feet and not more than five (5) feet six (6) inches from the ground; and
      2.  not more than thirty-six (36) feet from the nearest other marked post; and
  2. before a purple mark that would be visible from both sides of a fence shared by different property owners or lessees may be applied, all of the owners or lessees of the properties must agree to post the properties with purple marks under subsection (c)(4).

You can view the code at: Indiana General Assembly.

Consider using a high quality boundary marking paint to extend the lifespan of your paint applications.

Resources:
Indiana General Assembly, Private Property and Trespassing Code of Indiana
Private Property Rights: Rights, Responsibilities & Limitations, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center

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


Posted on July 18th, 2018 in Forestry, Wildlife, Woodlands | No Comments »

Do you want to know how Food Plots fit into wildlife habitat management?
At this Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources Field Day experts will be discussing cool-season food plot strategies and visit some of these cool-season food plot demos.

Want to learn Forest Management tips for both Bucks and $$$?
The experts will also be sharing how to blend forest management for the benefits of timber and wildlife, as well as visiting a few of these forest management demo areas.

Come out and learn about forest management and food plots for wildlife:
August 18, 2018
9:00am to 2:00pm EST

Deer eating on tree.

Register by contacting:
Cody Widner
Extension Wildlife Intern, Purdue
widnerc@purdue.edu
(574) 571-0090

Please Register by August 13th!
*All Activities are outside, please dress accordingly

For more details view: Forest Management and Food Plots for Wildlife Field Day Flyer.

Resources:
Calibrating a No-Till Drill for Conservation Plantings and Wildlife Food Plots, Purdue Extension, Education Store
Food Plots for White-Tailed Deer, Purdue Extension, Education Store
The Basics of Managing Wildlife on Agricultural Lands, Purdue Extension, Education Store

Jarred Brooke, Wildlife Extension Specialist
Forestry and Natural Resources

Cody Widner, Purdue Extension Wildlife Intern
Forestry and Natural Resources


FNR-557-W What a Waste of Food!Food waste is a major issue in developed countries. This unit is designed to teach students about food waste and ways they can help reduce it. This section contains one unit with three lesson plans that will teach students how to reduce food waste by learning more about proper food storage, best-by dates, and ugly foods. It also contains a stand-alone lesson on food packaging and composting.

To view this free complete unit see: What a Waste of Food! Lesson Plans and PowerPoint, The Education Store, Purdue Extension.

Resources:
Food Preservation Methods, Purdue Extension
Washing Fresh Vegetables to Enhance Food Safety, Purdue Extension
Food Waste Lesson Plans, Nature of Teaching

Rebecca L Busse, Graduate Research Assistant
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Rod N Williams, Engagement Faculty Fellow & Associate Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


NatureOfTeaching_FNR_Pub552Conservation biology is considered by some to be a “crisis discipline.” Decisions within the field must often be made quickly, sometimes without enough time to gather all of the data one would ideally have, and they can decide the fate of a species. This Nature of Teaching unit titled “the Scientific Process of Conservation Biology: Analyze, Design, Debate,” introduces students to the field of conservation biology and the process of conserving a species. It includes 4 lessons and 4 case studies as well as a teacher information section and list of sources.  Students will learn how to: analyze literature, graphs, and figures to discern factors threatening a species; identify different careers involved in conservation biology; learn how to edit, revise an original management plan to better comprehend the iterative process of science; and much more.

To view this free complete unit see: The Scientific Process of Conservation Biology: Analyze, Design, Debate, The Education Store, Purdue Extension.

Resources:
Health & Wellness Lesson Plans, Nature of Teaching
Wildlife Lesson Plans, Nature of Teaching
Food Waste Lesson Plans, Nature of Teaching

Briana Widner, student
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Rod N Williams, Engagement Faculty Fellow & Associate Professor of Wildlife Science
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

 


Posted on July 1st, 2018 in Plants, Safety | No Comments »

Most terrestrial plants are sessile. This inability to move forces has brought alternative methods to defend themselves. Typically, plants use three basic mechanisms of defense: avoidance, escape or tolerance. A recent work notes that plants may have evolved a fourth method; where healthy tissue is sacrificed in an effort to confine harmful bacteria to a small portion of the leaf.

SOBER1 in plantsBrown spots, if observed on previously unmarred leaves, may result from the plant employing this technique to slow or prevent bacterial spread. Scientists at the Salk Institute have identified a plant enzyme denoted SOBER1 that plants use to seemingly lower their resistance to infection. Future study on the gene may lead to ways to boost natural immunity or contain infections that would otherwise decimate entire agricultural crops and biofuel resources.

Additional experiments involved several model plant species (Arabidopsis, oilseed rape, and tobacco) and evaluated the structure and function of SOBER1 and an immune protein known as AvrBst. The ultimate goal of this work is to understand how bacterial resistance works in plants. The information gained may help identify new methods of improving agricultural and biofuel crop resistance to harmful bacterial infections.

References
A hydrophobic anchor mechanism defines a deacetylase family that suppresses host response against YopJ effectors, Nature Communications, 2017; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02347-w, Marco Bürger, Björn C. Willige, Joanne Chory.
Unusual plant immune response to bacterial infection characterized, ScienceDaily, 8 January 2018, Salk Institute.

Resources
Consumer Horticulture: Fertilizing Woody Plants, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Indiana and the Midwest: Identification, Wildlife Values, and Landscaping Use, The Education Store, Purdue Extension

Shaneka Lawson, USDA Forest Service/HTIRC Research Plant Physiologist/Adjunct Assistant Professor
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


If you’ve ever had to work on a tree leaf collection, no doubt you included a leaf from Indiana’s state tree. Also known as tulip poplar and yellow poplar, the tuliptree is actually not a poplar at all. It is a member of the magnolia family known botanically as Liriodendron tulipifera.

Indiana Tuliptree

A tuliptree, the state tree of Indiana.

The tuliptree is native to most of the eastern half of the United States and prefers rich, moist, well-drained, loamy soil. It is found throughout Indiana, but it is more prevalent in the southern two-thirds
of the state.

Its unusual flowers inspired the common name. The flowers are shaped much like a tulip with greenish-yellow petals blushed with orange on the inside. Because they generally are found high in the leaf canopy, the flowers often go unnoticed until they drop off after pollination. The leaves of this tree are also quite distinct — each one has a large, V-shaped notch at the tip.

Because tuliptrees transplant easily and grow fast, they are a popular choice for in home yards. But don’t be fooled by its small size in the nursery. Give a tuliptree plenty of room in your landscape plan. A tuliptree can reach as tall as 190 feet where it’s allowed to thrive, but it is more likely to reach 70 feet tall as a mature landscape specimen. Tuliptree is not without its share of pests and diseases. Among the most common are leaf spots, cankers, scale insects, and aphids….

For full article view “State tree a popular landscape choice,” Morning AgClips.

Related Resources:
Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs, The Education Store-Purdue Extension resource center
Tulip Poplar: Is Indiana’s State Tree a Protector for the Rare American Ginseng Plant?, GotNature?, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources

Rosie Lerner, Extension Consumer Horticulturist
Purdue University, Horticulture & Landscape Architecture


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