Monday, 24 April 2017

Arbor Day

Arbor Day is that time each year when we celebrate the importance of trees in our lives. Trees convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, even as they provide valuable shade for buildings and people. They provide food and shelter for wildlife, timber and paper products for us.

Nationally and in many states around the country, Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April. Some states celebrate on other days and a few even set aside an entire week. Below is a listing of the specific Arbor Day celebrations.

Schools and municipalities across  America sponsor tree planting events around Arbor Day. This year why not take time to plant a tree on Arbor Day.

State Arbor Day State Arbor Day
Alabama Third Monday In March Montana Last Friday in April
Alaska Third Monday in May Nebraska Last Friday in April
Arizona Last Friday in April Nevada Last Friday in April
Arkansas Third Monday in March New Hampshire Last Friday in April
California March 7-14 New Jersey Last Friday in April
Colorado Third Friday in April New Mexico Second Friday in March
Connecticut Last Friday in April New York Last Friday in April
Delaware Last Friday in April North Carolina First Friday following March 15
Florida Third Friday in January North Dakota First Friday in May
Georgia Third Friday in February Ohio Last Friday in April
Hawaii First Friday in November Oklahoma Last Full Week of March
Idaho Last Friday in April Oregon First Full Week of April
Illinois Last Friday in April Pennsylvania Last Friday in April
Indiana Last Friday in April Rhode Island Last Friday in April
Iowa Last Friday in April South Carolina First Friday in December
Kansas Last Friday in April South Dakota Last Friday in April
Kentucky Last Friday in April Tennessee First Friday in March
Louisiana Third Friday in January Texas First Friday in November
Maine Third Full Week in May Utah Last Friday in April
Maryland First Wednesday in April Vermont First Friday in May
Massachusetts Last Friday in April Virginia Last Friday in April
Michigan Last Friday in April Washington Second Wednesday in April
Minnesota Last Friday in April West Virginia Second Friday in April
Mississippi Second Friday in February Wisconsin Last Friday in April
Missouri Last Friday in April Wyoming Last Monday in April

Monday, 17 April 2017

Get Plugged Into the Invasive Species Network

Healthy land includes plenty of diversity of both plants and wildlife. Invasive species crowd out native animals and plants; making for property that is both boring and much more susceptible to erosion. Invasive aquatic plants and animals pollute our lakes and streams and reduce habitat for fish. The best strategy for dealing with invasive species to prevent them from getting a foothold in the first place.

Find out what you can do by logging joining a Taking Action webinar on Aril 21st at noon, sponsored by the Wisconsin First Detection Network.  Learn about GLEDN, a great website and mobile phone app that lets anybody report invasive species throughout the Great Lakes, including Wisconsin.

In addition to learning how to use the GLEDN app to report invasive species, we’ll learn about statewide Phragmites efforts from Jason Granberg (DNR) and purple loosestrife efforts in Washington County from Bradley Steckart (Washington Co. Land & Water Conservation Div.).

The Wisconsin First Detection Network is made up of landowners, land managers, scientists, consultants and volunteers who work to protect Wisconsin from new invasive animals, plants and diseases that can take over our land, lakes and streams.

For more information about WFDN and this, the third in a four part webinar series this spring, contact Ann Pearce at the UW Extension.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Bag ‘Em Danno

Garlic mustard can be pulled or cut, as well. Plants need to be bagged and removed as they produce allopathic chemicals that will continue to suppress native plants if the dead garlic mustard is left not he ground. The other reason for bagging and removing garlic mustard is that plants that have flowered will use their remaining nutrients to produce mature seed even after the plant is pulled.

Folks who live in southeastern Wisconsin can participate in 2017 Garlic Mustard Pull-A-thon. Sponsored by the Southeastern Wisconsin Invasive Species Consortium, Inc. (SEWISC), it is an annual fundraiser event, that encourages youth and adults throughout southeastern Wisconsin to protect their woodlands by pulling this invasive plant.  The goal this year is to pull 10,000 pounds and raise essential funds for the fight against invasive species!

Head to the Wisconsin DNR website for more information about controlling garlic mustard.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Fired Up Over Garlic Mustard

Photograph by: Paul Bolstad, University of Minnesota, Bugwood.org

My favorite method to control garlic mustard is with prescribed fire. Not only does it kill the weeds and their seed in the soil, it stimulates fire adapted native plant seeds to germinate. Not only will the fire control garlic mustard, but it suppresses the invasive shrubs that have degraded so much of our woodlands in Wisconsin.

photograph by Mark Horn, Conservation Media LLC

Unfortunately, you must have a trained and well equipped which most private landowners find too difficult to find or expensive to afford. Garlic mustard also often grows in areas that lack enough ground fuel to carry fire through the weed patches.

While it may be too late to arrange a controlled burn this spring, now is a great time to begin planning for next year. The Wisconsin Prescribe Fire Council is a good place to start

Head to the Wisconsin DNR website for more information about controlling garlic mustard.

Thursday, 06 April 2017

Getting Ahead of Gypsy Moths

Picture of gypsy moth egg masses on maple tree.

There are only a couple weeks left until gypsy moth caterpillars emerge from their egg masses to start eating their way through your trees. You can stack the deck in your favor by taking action now.

Start by learning to identify gypsy moth egg masses. They are typically 1-2 inches long, often appearing like a light tan teardrop shape.

Picture of gypsy moth egg mass black locust tree.

Remove the egg masses before the caterpillars crawl out in mid-April. Wear gloves when removing the egg masses as the small hairs in the egg masses can cause a skin rash.

You can scape the egg masses into a jar and microwave them for two minutes. Another way to kill the eggs is to cover the egg masses in the jar with soapy water and leave them covered for two days.

There is an insecticidal spray called Golden Pest Spray Oil, by Stoller Enterprises, Inc. (800-777-2486) that works by coating the eggs and suffocating the larval embryo inside. The active ingredient is soybean oil which is coupled with adjutants that allow the soybean oil to penetrate the hairy egg masses. Thoroughly soak each egg mass to ensure adequate coverage.

Tuesday, 04 April 2017

Torch ‘Em

 

picture of propane weed torch

Propane weed torch shown here without pressure its pressure regulator.

For those who refuse to use herbicide to kill garlic mustard and other invasive plants, there is the weed torch. It uses propane flame to kill young garlic mustard plants. Early spring is also a good time for this method as desirable plants are less likely to be burned.

The cost of a torch rig is around $200.00, which is quite a bit of money considering its limited usefulness. The torch assembly is also difficult to transport.

Some people strap the bottle to a backpack frame, but I am not comfortable with that arrangement. Others use a two wheel cart that can be difficult to navigate of narrow trails and steep slopes.

Head to the Wisconsin DNR website for more information about controlling garlic mustard.

Monday, 03 April 2017

Ready, Set, Spray

This week is your chance to Roundup garlic mustard before spring wildflowers start to appear. This invasive plant from Europe forms dense mats in woodlands and along edges that poison the soil crowd out spring wildflowers.

Early spring is a great time of year to get ahead of this serious invasive pest. Plants are small and more easily killed by herbicide. Native plants are still dormant and will be for a couple more weeks.

Roundup (glyphosate) is a non-selective herbicide which means that any plant that gets sprayed will die or be seriously injured. It breaks down in sunlight and the soil within two weeks. This means spring wildflowers that sprout in late April and early may will not be hurt.

To be fully effective, glyphosate must spend enough time on the leaves to be absorbed. Make sure that leaves are dry and that there is no rain forecast for twelve hours after spraying. This gives the herbicide time to get transported from the leaves down into the roots where it does kills the plant.

Follow label directions, typically a 3-5% solution depending the formulation of glyphosate. In this case more is not better; it simply wastes money. Leaves will only absorb so much and the rest breaks down in the soil as the plant dies. Likewise, only spray leaves to the point of runoff; again the rest is wasted money.

As always, there may be some desirable plants nearby that have already sprouted or are likely to appear in the coming days, so only spray areas where garlic mustard is actively growing.

New garlic mustard plants may sprout later in the season, but since it is a biennial they will not bloom or set seed until next year.

My favorite method to control garlic mustard is with prescribed fire. Not only does it kill the weeds and their seed in the soil, it stimulates fire adapted native plant seeds to germinate. Unfortunately, you must have a trained and well equipped which most private landowners find too difficult to find or expensive to afford. Garlic mustard also often grows in areas that lack enough ground fuel to carry fire through the weed patches.

Head to the Wisconsin DNR website for more information about controlling garlic mustard.