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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Over the last several years, drought has ravaged tree resources in the Great Plains and the West.  Even hardy species like eastern red cedar have suffered mightily in the dry conditions.  The Kansas Forest Service stands ready to assist landowners in restoring shelterbelts and other tree plantings, as outlined this week by K-State forester Bob Atchison.

- 7/11/2014
The benefits of a well-located shade tree go far beyond merely providing a cool place to hang out during hot summer days. And now is a good time to take note of where a shade tree would fit in the home landscape.  K-State forestry specialist Charlie Barden discusses that this week.

When purchasing firewood, it is best use local firewood and avoid transporting it from far distances. That way, there will be fewer risks of bringing unwanted pests with it.  Forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust of Kansas State University justifies the reasons for doing so.

- 6/26/2014
Trees provide a number of benefits to the environment. Some trees may require different management requirements when they become damaged. K-State forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust explains some of the methods that can be used to correct tree damage problems.

Well-placed, well-managed conservation trees can be compatible with native grasslands.  That has been proven by one northeast Kansas farmer, who recently received the 2014 Kansas Agro-forestry Award.  This week, K-State forester Bob Atchison tells what this producer has done to harmonize trees and grasses.

Despite recent rainfall amounts, hot temperatures can leave trees and lawns dry. It is important to water frequently and also use proper methods to gain best results. K-State forester Charlie Barden provides guidelines on watering trees during the summer heat.

Kansas is scheduled to host the National Walnut Council Meeting June 8th-11th in Manhattan. This meeting will give participants the opportunity to learn more about Kansas walnut tree resources through seminars and field trips. This national meeting is held in Kansas once in about every 10 years. K-State forester Charlie Barden provides a preview.

- 5/30/2014
Hedge trees were originally introduced in Kansas as a “living fence” for livestock.  However, this tree has become an invasive species in many Kansas pastures.  On this week’s Tree Tales, K-State forester Bob Atchison talks about the history of the hedge tree, and that it can be managed successfully for its conservation value.

Every spring, many oaks in eastern Kansas succumb to a disease called oak wilt. This disease can quickly cause decline and death.  Currently, oak wilt is only found in the eastern-third of Kansas where it threatens several species in the red oak group. Ryan Armbrust, forest health specialist with the Kansas Forest Service at Kansas State University, says there are few options for treatment of infected trees, with removal and destruction the recommended course of action.
 

Forest stewardship is the careful management of the woodlands that we have been entrusted to care for. However, these woodlands are often neglected. Bob Atchison, a forester with the Kansas Forest Service at Kansas State University, explains how landowners can receive assistance to help manage and care for the trees on their property through the Forest Stewardship Program.
 

Kansas has received some timely rain this spring, providing some relief from continuing drought conditions. However, we can’t rely solely on Mother Nature to provide the necessary rainfall to keep our trees and vegetation healthy and vigorous for years to come. In advance of the summer heat, Ryan Armbrust, a health specialist with the Kansas Forest Service, offers several tips for increasing the available soil moisture for landscape trees and shrubs.

Older landscape shade trees can be safely pruned in early summer to help control size and growth. Pruning can also prevent heavier branches from rubbing against the house or roof and removing troublesome branches can make it easier to back out of the driveway or to mow the lawn. K-State Research and Extension forester Charles Barden offers some tips for early summer pruning.
 

Black walnut is the most valuable timber species. In Kansas, black walnut accounts for the majority of the veneer harvested. Bob Atchison with the Kansas Forest Service at Kansas State University, discusses the value of black walnut and previews the upcoming National Walnut Council meeting being held in Manhattan in June.
 

The Kansas Forest Service, Kansas Chapter of the Walnut Council and the Kansas Forestry Association are hosting the 2014 National Walnut Council Meeting in June in Manhattan. The meeting will feature nationally recognized and local experts in the growth, culture and utilization of black walnut and other fine quality hardwoods. Forester Bob Atchison previews the meeting and how to register to attend.
 

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.

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