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.
Tree Tales
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By all accounts, this spring is about two weeks behind normal and about four weeks behind last year’s early spring. Although Mother Nature may have delayed the bloom of some plants and trees this year, K-State Research and Extension forester Charles Barden says it’s still a great time to take a walk in the woods and enjoy what nature has to offer.
 

After two years of drought and minimal prescribed burning, an active burning season is expected this spring – with as many as two million acres being burned in the Flint Hills region. K-State Extension forester Charles Barden explains why the burns are necessary and discusses some of the restrictions being implemented to reduce the amount of smoke that’s added to essential burning.
 

Spring is a great time to plant trees. EQIP – the Environmental Quality Incentives Program – provides landowners with funds to help cover some of the costs of planting new trees for conservation purposes or to remove old trees. K-State forester Bob Atchison talks about EQIP and how landowners can use agroforestry techniques to promote conservation on their property without hurting their bottom line.
 

The Forest Stewardship Program, sponsored through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service and the Kansas Forest Service at Kansas State University, provides technical assistance to landowners to encourage and enable active long-term forest management. Bob Atchison, rural forestry program coordinator with the Kansas Forest Service, explains how the program operates in Kansas.
 

The Kansas Forest Service offers low-cost tree and shrub seedlings for use in conservation plantings. The seedlings can be used for a variety of conservation purposes, including windbreaks, woodlots, riparian plantings, wildlife habitat and Christmas tree plantations. K-State Research and Extension forester Charles Barden discusses the spring distribution and how to order seedlings.
 

A mild late-winter day is a good time to trim shrubs and small trees in the home landscape. K-State Research and Extension forester Charles Barden discusses how the trimmings, especially those from fruit trees, can be forced to produce buds and blossoms.
 
 

Kansas has exceptional outdoor hunting. The Kansas Forest Service is constantly partnering with others to enhance public land wildlife habitat to make Kansas hunting and fishing even better. Watershed forester Billy Beck discusses some of the many projects the Kansas Forest Service is currently tackling.
 
 

Acres of bottomland timber in Kansas is being bulldozed out to make room for row crops. This is concerning because it will have negative impacts on water, wildlife and the overall beauty of our state. There’s a program that gives landowners money to actively manage bottomland timber. However, Kansas Forest Service watershed forester Billy Beck says the application deadline for participating in the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative is March 21st.
 
 

The Dust Bowl of the 1930s led to the development of conservation practices to protect the soil from drought and wind. However, many of the trees planted following the Dust Bowl era have been removed to capture more crop acreage or need to be replaced. K-State Extension forester Charles Barden explains how today’s windbreaks differ from those planted in the 1940s and 50s.
 
 

Before the pace picks up in the springtime, landowners should take the time to plan for conservation tree plantings along stream banks or other watershed areas.  Selecting the right tree species is imperative to succeeding with riparian plantings, says K-State watershed forester Billy Beck.  This week, he discusses trees that suit the various needs in a riparian area.
 
 

A recent published report blows away the old misconception about the roles most mature trees and forests play in combatting climate change. As a result, Kansas Forest Service rural forestry program coordinator Bob Atchison says leaving older tree stands in place is a good idea, since cutting them down unleashes the carbon they spent their lifetimes absorbing.
 
 

Over a half-million dollars is now available to Kansas landowners, farmers and ranchers interested in restoring shelterbelts, windbreaks or managing woodlands adjacent to streams and rivers. The funds are available through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative, known as CCPI. The deadline for signing up is March 21st. Kansas Forest Service forester Bob Atchison details the program and how to apply for funding.
 
 

Winter is a good time to inspect the condition of riparian tree plantings or other conservation tree practices. Whether it’s a new or a long-established planting, K-State riparian forester Billy Beck says taking a good look at tree loss, damage, or other problems gives landowners an idea of what corrections need to be made when spring finally arrives.
 
 

Forty Years of the Endangered Species Act: Living with Endangered Species in Kansas” is the topic of the 2014 Kansas Natural Resources Conference being held January 30th and 31st in Wichita. K-State Extension forester and conference committee chair, Charles Barden, has more information on this year’s conference.
 

Survey work conducted by the U.S. Forest Service shows the inventory of woodlands in Kansas increased from 1.5 million acres in 1994 to over 2.4 million acres by 2010. Bob Atchison, rural forestry program coordinator with the Kansas Forest Service, says the survey also found some areas of concern.
 

Christmas is over and it’s time to take down the live tree you enjoyed for the past several weeks. While it may be convenient to set it out with the rest of your holiday trash, K-State Research and Extension forester Charles Barden says live trees can serve other useful purposes.
 

There are 23 million people in the United States who collectively own 283 million acres of woodlands, including about 2.4 million acres in the eastern third of Kansas. These woodlands help to provide clean air and water, carbon storage, outdoor recreation, wildlife habitat and timber products. However, Bob Atchison, rural forestry program coordinator with the Kansas Forest Service, says a national woodlands owner survey shows that very few owners are doing anything to manage or care for their woodlands.
 

2013 was a busy year for Kansas Forest Service foresters. In addition to overseeing eight other programs, watershed forester Billy Beck says the state’s four foresters were hard at work promoting streamside forests to protect the quality of the state’s drinking water. He discusses the initiatives implemented to help protect and improve water quality across Kansas.
 

Sediment is a serious problem facing Kansas drinking water reservoirs, such as Tuttle Creek and John Redmond. These lakes can fill in with dirt fast, but dredging them is expensive. Billy Beck, watershed forester with the Kansas Forest Service, says streamside forest buffers and red cedar revetments can be used to reduce the amount of sediment getting into the lakes and to protect the quality of the water.
 

Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is rapidly approaching – which means it’s time to put up the tree. For some, the tree is stored in the basement, attic or garage. For others, it can be found at a retail lot, garden center or chain store. And, for the more adventurous, it’s waiting to be discovered at a “choose-and-cut” farm. K-State forester Charles Barden urges everyone to purchase a real Christmas tree for the holiday. He talks about tree selection and maintenance of a real Christmas tree.

In response to the drought of the 1930’s, the federal government spent almost 14 million dollars to plant over 200 million trees and shrubs in the Great Plains to help reduce windblown soil. Not only was that goal accomplished, but Bob Atchison, rural forestry program coordinator with the Kansas Forest Service, says a 1986 study showed windbreaks also helped increase crop yield in fields with windbreaks. He says a new crop yield study is being planned and they’re looking for participants.

The Kansas Forest Service at Kansas State University provides assistance to people of the state to protect and manage the state’s 5-point-2 million acres of forests, woodlands and agro-forestry resources.  Rural forestry program coordinator Bob Atchison explains the many ways the Kansas Forest Service helps people achieve their land management goals.

As the weather gets colder, firewood is often used as a primary or supplemental heating source. K-State Research and Extension forester Charles Barden says there are some considerations that go along with using firewood to heat a home. He lists some of questions homeowners may want to ask themselves if they’re considering using firewood as a heating source.

Green shrubs and red berries are often associated with winter. However, if you’ve seen these shrubs in the eastern quarter of Kansas recently, it’s probably exotic bush honeysuckle, an invasive plant that can be hard to control. K-State Research and Extension forester Charles Barden talks about how to identify and control exotic bush honeysuckle.

Now is the time to plan for next year’s forestry projects. Planning far in advance greatly increases the chances of a successful and enjoyable project in the spring.  Kansas Forest Service watershed forester Billy Beck discusses some of the things landowners can do now to be ready for tree planting in the spring.

Fall not only brings cooler temperatures, it also brings an abundant display of color from a variety of trees across the entire state. K-State forester Charles Barden details some of the trees that help bring the Kansas landscape to life in the fall, as well as some of the communities where the trees can be found.

The Kansas Forest Service acts as a technical service provider to Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy groups throughout Kansas.  Watershed forester Billy Beck says WRAPS groups can help landowners with a variety of water quality-enhancing projects. He details some of the uses allowed under this cost-share program.

This year's Fall Forestry Field Day on October 10th is taking participants to southeast Kansas and pecan country! The event is being held 10 miles east of Parsons on Bill Devlin’s 280 acre tree farm. K-State forester Charles Barden says the field day covers more than just pecan production.

Almost half of the total volume of hardwood – or deciduous trees – are cull and unusable for wood products because of defects or wood type. NRCS provides funding from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, EQIP, to provide financial assistance to landowners interested in implementing forestry practices, such as thinning and tree planting to improve the health of woodlands and forests and to renovate old windbreaks. Kansas Forest Service rural forestry program coordinator Bob Atchison explains how landowners can participate in EQIP.

This year's Fall Forestry Field Day on October 10th is taking participants to southeast Kansas and pecan country! The event is being held 10 miles east of Parsons on Bill Devlin’s 280 acre tree farm where Hickory Creek meanders through groves of pecan, black walnut, pin oak, green ash and shagbark hickory. According to Kansas Forest Service rural forestry program coordinator Bob Atchison, the purpose of the field day is to provide landowners, ranchers, farmers and natural resource professionals the opportunity to receive best practices information from experts regarding the cultivation and management of Kansas forests, woodlands and related natural resources.

The emerald ash borer is a serious threat to ash trees in home landscapes and rural areas. This insect will kill ash trees regardless of their age, health or size. The emerald ash borer is known to be in two Kansas counties:  Wyandotte and Johnson. Kansas Forest Service health specialist Nicole Opbroek details the damage the emerald ash borer can cause.

Fall is an excellent time to add evergreen and deciduous trees to the home landscape. Charles Barden, a forester with the Kansas Forest Service, offers some tips on selecting, planting and caring for newly planted trees.

Recent studies show only about 10% of Kansas woodlands are being actively managed and that close to 48% of these woodlands consist of cull timber – trees with no commercial value because of defects, size or species type. Bob Atchison, rural forestry program coordinator for the Kansas Forest Service, explains how the state’s woodlands can be improved for commercial purposes or to provide better habitat for wildlife.

Trees played an important role in Kansas’ history. State forester Charles Barden says the cottonwood, the official state tree, and the sugar maple both played important roles in helping early settlers by providing some much-needed shade, serving as a sign that water was nearby and supplying a marketable commodity.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recognized Kansas forests, woodlands and windbreaks as a natural resource concern. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program – EQIP – helps farmers, ranchers and other landowners renovate old windbreaks, plant trees and improve the health of their woodlands. Kansas Forest Service rural forestry program coordinator Bob Atchison says EQIP provides financial assistance to encourage participation in these types of conservation practices.

Oak wilt is a systemic wilt disease of oaks that is a problem in limited areas or pockets in the eastern third of Kansas. The disease is usually found in oak woodlands or in urban subdivisions that were built in areas where native oak stands were present. Kansas Forest Service health specialist Nicole Opbroek discusses the symptoms and control measures for oak wilt disease.

Damage caused by adult flathead appletree borers is more noticeable than in past years. Young trees are often girdled and killed and older trees are frequently injured by the loss of bark above damaged areas. Kansas Forest Service health specialist Nicole Opbroek says larval damage may first appear as dieback of larger branches.

Trees less than three years old require more attention than older trees. But what if you don’t have the time to provide the necessary care? Watershed forester with the Kansas Forest Service, Billy Beck, says to hire a qualified forestry contractor to do the work. The Forest Service has information on its website to help find the right forestry contractor for your job.
 

Smokey Bear remains one of the most successful public-service figures in the country by updating his appearance and messages about preventing wildfires. State forester Charles Barden looks at some of the myths surrounding Smokey Bear and how his public service campaign has changed over the last 69 years.

While most folks associate tree planting with the spring, there are several advantages to planting trees in the fall. Kansas Forest Service water quality forester Billy Beck covers some of the advantages of planting trees along streams and rivers this fall to fight erosion and improve habitat and water quality.

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