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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- 9/4/2015
If you think spring is the only time to do major work in your yard, you just may be surprised. Fall is actually the perfect time to work on landscaping. Trees are big-ticket landscape items that nonetheless add a lot of value to your home, too. This week, K-State Research and Extension forester Charles Barden talks about planting trees this fall.

- 9/1/2015
As the 17-year cicada season has come to an end, a lot of tree owners are wondering if these red-eyed insects caused any damage to their hardwood trees.   K-State forester health specialist Ryan Armbrust talks about the likelihood of that, and what to do if there was any damage left behind.

- 8/24/2015
In mid-to-late summer, you may notice silk webs beginning to form around the shoots and leaves of certain shade trees.  Chances are good that you have a fall webworm infestation. This week, K-State forester health specialist Ryan Armbrust talks about what fall webworms are and how to best take care of them, before they damage your hardwood trees.

Well-intentioned as it might be, government policy can sometimes interfere with natural resource management.  This week, K-State forester Bob Atchison points out how energy policy can adversely impact forest conservation…something that he says should be addressed.

Trees are known to help keep cattle comfortable on a hot summer day, as well as protect them from harsh winter weather. K-State watershed forester Mitch Lundeen talks about the benefits of having trees in your pasture, as well as how to manage those trees.

Smokey Bear is a widely-recognized symbol for wildfire prevention who appeals to kids and adults alike.  This week, K-State forester Charles Barden shares the history of this educational character, who is still going strong after debuting over seven decades ago.

- 7/24/2015
Dutch elm disease (DED) is one of the most destructive shade tree diseases in North America. The disease affects American elms and other elm species, killing individual branches and eventually the entire tree within one to several years. This week, K-State forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust talks about the history of DED and treatments.

Homeowners who have evergreen shrubs in their landscapes are accustomed to dealing with bagworms…a pest that can cause damage to evergreens over time.  Bagworms can also infest windbreaks and other larger evergreen tree plantings.  This week, K-State forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust talks about the challenge of bagworm control in conservation plantings.

- 7/10/2015
Not many people know that here in Kansas, there is a “cross-timber” forest that has its own ecosystem. Forester Bob Atchison of K-State talks about where this timber tree park is located, its history and activities associated with that that people can enjoy.

- 7/7/2015
Elm trees are a perfect shade tree on a sunny day, but they are vulnerable to leaf diseases caused by leaf beetles and elm flea weevils. K-State Research and Extension forester Ryan Armbrust shares ways to deal with these pests invading your elm trees.

- 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.