K-State Research and Extension News
Advice on tree care issues, tree selection and planting, and upcoming events and publications from the Kansas Forest Service.
 
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Tree Tales
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- 6/26/2015
Did you know by just having a tree close to your house you could save energy? K-State forester Charlie Barden talks about the cooling effect of trees and where to place them to create the greatest energy efficiency.

Wet weather typically provides good growing conditions for trees, but the extended cloudy, wet conditions may also cause fungal diseases to grow. K-State forester Charlie Barden explains how to look for, and deal with, these fungal diseases. 

Even though most of Kansas has had a large amount of rainfall, landscape trees will still need to watched and managed carefully. K-State forester Charlie Barden gives examples on how to water your trees and shrubs that might have suffered from early flooding, followed by summer stress.                                                           
 

On this week’s edition, K-State forester Bob Atchison talks about the 2015 Walnut Council Field Day that takes place on June 10th in Atchison, Kansas. Guests will participate in several activities, including taking a walk through a black walnut plantation, visiting the American Walnut company’s mill, and more.

Many areas near Kansas rivers and streams could benefit from a buffer strip…that is, a tree planting that will help secure the soil in that area and protect water quality.  This week, watershed forester Mitch Lundeen of the Kansas Forest Service talks about a special program that can provide financial and technical support for landowners wanting to establish buffer strips. 

The summer camping season is fast approaching.  And K-State forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust is strongly encouraging people to avoid transporting firewood over long distances as they go camping.  That is one of the primary ways that a host of serious tree insect problems are spreading in the United States…several of which threaten Kansas tree resources.

The Kansas Forest Service at K-State will co-host the 2015 Kansas Agro-forestry Workshop in Topeka on May 20-21.  This two-day educational event will offer science-based land management information to all interested farmers, ranchers, and industry professionals. K-State forester Bob Atchison says forestry experts from several backgrounds will be presenting these sessions.

Pine wilt disease has taken out thousands of conservation pine trees in Kansas in recent years.  Unfortunately, there’s no antidote for this disease, so those who lose pines need to think in terms of other tree types as replacements.  K-State forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust discusses that this week.

- 4/24/2015
The middle part of spring is when a highly-visible disease called cedar apple rust shows up on cedar trees.  And it can spread to apple, crabapple and hawthorn trees likewise.  Unsightly as the rust galls can be, they’re don’t harm the cedars.  However, the disease can be damaging to those other trees mentioned.  K-State forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust talks about preventing that from happening.

- 4/17/2015
Research from years past indicated that windbreaks that protect crop fields not only curb soil erosion…they can actually enhance crop yields.  K-State forester Charlie Barden intends to update that research via a new regional project, and he’s looking for farmers who would like to take part.  He talks more about the objective of this new study.

The Kansas Forest Service works closely with local and regional watershed groups to encourage conservation forestry plantings throughout watershed areas in need.  Individual landowners within a given watershed are encouraged to employ best management land practices, which may well include a riparian tree planting.  K-State watershed forester Mitch Lundeen talks more about that this week.                      

Heat and drought in recent years have put stress on tree resources in Kansas and other states.  This has made trees more vulnerable to pest damage, and the impact has been disturbingly serious, according to K-State forester Bob Atchison.  This week, he takes a closer look at the situation, and hopes that landowners who appreciate their trees will do the same.

A recently-published article sheds light on what foresters like K-State’s Bob Atchison already know…that trees are very effective at sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.  And trees will play a major role in contending with climate change in future years.  This week, Bob discusses this in more detail, inviting landowners to do their part by planting conservation trees on their premises.
 

Prescribed burning is a long-standing practice for reinvigorating the native grass prairie…and at the same time, controlling unwanted invasive woody species in those pastures.  This week, K-State forester Charlie Barden talks about that important role that fire plays, noting also that pasture managers need to be cognizant of where the smoke from those prescribed burns goes.
 

According to the just-released Forest Inventory and Analysis Report from the U.S. Forest Service, forest resources in Kansas continue to expand.  It’s the mix of trees that comprise those resources that have foresters concerned, in that lower-value and invasive species are crowding out more valuable trees.  K-State forester Bob Atchison talks about that. 

A recent study conducted by the Kansas Forest Service at Kansas State University indicates that stream bank stabilization is sorely needed in basins that feed large reservoirs in Kansas.  The findings offer guidance for riparian tree-planting initiatives, as outlined this week by K-State water quality forester Mitch Lundeen (lun-DEEN).

For landowners with a need for a windbreak or other conservation tree planting, the Kansas Conservation Tree Planting Program can assist with low-cost tree and shrub seedlings.  That program, conducted by the Kansas Forest Service at K-State, is now taking orders for this plant material. K-State forester Charlie Barden talks more about this opportunity.

- 2/20/2015
On one of these warmer winter days, you homeowners might take the opportunity to inspect your trees and woody shrubs for pruning.   Many woody ornamentals can be safely pruned now, while others should be pruned at a later time.  K-State forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust offers guidelines on pruning ahead of springtime.

Kansas windbreaks and shelterbelts play an important role in agricultural practices. K-State forester Bob Atchison explains more about a study conducted on forest shelters to determine their standing health.

- 2/6/2015
The oak is considered one of the very most durable trees found in the central plains.  Even so, certain oaks can fall victim to a disease called hypoxylon canker, brought on by drought stress.  K-State forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust talks about this condition, and what can be done to alleviate it.

Farm owners should consider protecting and conserving their woodland acres, for it will increase the value of their land in a variety of ways. So says K-State forester Bob Atchison, who lists several supporting resources which can assist landowners in their woodland management.
 

- 1/23/2015
Here’s an idea for adding a little plant color to your mid-winter.  Taking clippings from woody flowering shrubs and “forcing” those clippings indoors can result in a colorful arrangement for Valentine’s Day or other suitable occasions…or just to brighten up the home as winter wears on.  K-State forester Charlie Barden tells how. 

Water quality is an ever-pressing issue for streams and reservoirs in many parts of Kansas.  This is serving to highlight the benefits of strategic riparian tree plantings to stabilize erosion-prone areas near water resources.  This week, K-State water quality forester Mitch Lundeen talks up the value of riparian trees.

Properly-designed windbreaks provide a wealth of benefits to agricultural producers and other rural dwellers in Kansas.  But many long-standing windbreaks are badly in need of a makeover, to restore their effectiveness.  This week, K-State forester Charlie Barden talks about approaches to windbreak renovation.

- 12/19/2014
Because of an unusually harsh mid-fall cold snap, many deciduous trees retained some of their leaves.  And when a heavy snow or ice storm hits, that leaf load could raise the risk of tree damage.  K-State forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust looks closer at why that leaf retention took place, asking homeowners and landowners to be on alert for possible problems. 

- 12/12/2014
Burning firewood is not only an energy-efficient way to heat a dwelling.  It also contributes to good woodland management, according to K-State forester Bob Atchison.  Still, those who cut, transport and store firewood need to be cautious about at least one damaging wood-borne insect species.
 

Research has repeatedly confirmed it, and many livestock producers know it first-hand:  there’s great value in establishing protective windbreaks for cattle to buffer harsh winter weather.  The Kansas Forest Service at K-State stands ready to assist producers with advice on livestock windbreak design and establishment, and low-cost conservation trees are available from the service for this very purpose.  It’s the topic addressed this week by K-State forester Bob Atchison.

- 11/26/2014
A number of homeowners have taken to the appearance of red maples, and in fact have planted them in their landscapes.  K-State forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust understands the appeal of red maples…but this tree really struggles in Kansas’ winter conditions.  On this week’s Tree Tales, he talks about the concerns associated with red maples.

- 11/21/2014
A real Christmas tree can give your house a fresh holiday scent. Kansas State forestry specialist Charlie Barden talks about selecting and managing a fresh-cut Christmas tree.  The main thing to concentrate on is consistently supplying the tree with sufficient moisture during its holiday stay indoors.

K-State forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust addresses site preparation for trees to be planted in the spring. Readying the site now will contribute to that tree getting off to a much better start right after planting. Armbrust gives examples of what one can do for sites before harsh winter conditions arrive.

Anyone with an interest in land resources management will stand to gain from participating in the 2015 Kansas Natural Resources Conference, according to K-State forester Charlie Barden.  This two-day event will take place in Wichita on January 29th -30th.  This week’s Tree Tales covers the details of that broad-based conference. 

Streams and rivers in Kansas were once lined with forested areas.  However, over time, those riparian areas have given way to other uses.  That prompts K-State riparian forester Mitch Lundeen to remind landowners of the value of riparian forests, which is manifested in several ways.  Further, he encourages landowners to take the initiative to restore and preserve those tree resources.
 

A woody shrub called the bush honeysuckle is invading many wooded areas in parts of Kansas, competing directly with valued tree species.  Fall is a great time to control this problem, according to K-State forester Charlie Barden.  This week, he talks about the various means of doing so.  

- 10/16/2014
The chill of fall means that the home wood-burning season is here.  Nothing takes the edge off a cold day like a fire in the wood stove or fireplace, says K-State forester Charlie Barden.  And he says that one should be familiar with the heating capabilities of the various tree species before purchasing wood or cutting one’s own.  This week, he offers some helpful guidelines.
 

- 10/10/2014
Many landowners are surprised at the market value of standing timber found on their property.  And the demand for local timber is on the rise, according to K-State forester Bob Atchison.  This week, he offers several seller’s tips on marketing timber, advising landowners to take their time before leaping into any sort of marketing agreement.

- 10/3/2014
For many homeowners, nothing beats the warmth of wood-burning heat in the cold of winter.  Numerous wood heating systems are available on the market, but the homeowner should know a few things about them before investing.  K-State forester Charlie Barden discusses several of those this week.                                      

Properly managing tree resources is a responsibility shared by all landowners, as K-State forester Bob Atchison sees it.  To that end, the USDA’s Forest Stewardship Program assists landowners financially in their tree management efforts.  That program is the central topic of this week’s Tree Tales.                                      

- 9/19/2014
The season is changing, and the trees will begin changing color very soon.  While Kansas is not as renowned for its fall color as some other states, there still plenty of opportunities to take in spectacular displays in this state, according to K-State forester Charlie Barden.  He shares examples of what to look for in the coming weeks.               

Shoring up areas around reservoirs and streams with conservation trees remains a major cause of the Kansas Forest Service at Kansas State University.  Numerous projects are underway, in cooperation with landowners, to renovate and stabilize such riparian areas.  This week, forester Bob Atchison of K-State talks about the significance of that initiative.      

Whether for conservation purposes or for home landscaping, the fall is an excellent time for planting trees.  Certain guidelines do need to be followed to assure a successful planting.  K-State forester Charlie Barden coves those fall tree-planting ground rules this week.

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