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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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.

Landowners who are serious about managing their woodland resources will often hire the services of a certified forest contractor.  K-State forester Bob Atchison endorses that idea. And he urges landowners to fully formalize that agreement with the contractor.  Here, he covers some of the finer details of that.

A marriage of conservation forestry and hay crop production will be on full display at the 2014 Fall Forestry Field Day to be hosted by the Kansas Forest Service on October 16th.  The location will be near Valley Falls in northeast Kansas, and as K-State forester Charlie Barden outlines here, the field day will be a terrific learning opportunity for landowners.    

Research in previous years has documented the actual benefits in crop production from having a tree windbreak or shelterbelt along the field border.  The Kansas Forest Service at K-State is about to embark on a fresh new round of research on this factor, called the Great Plains Crop Yield Study.  K-State forester Bob Atchison talks about that initiative, inviting landowners to participate.

- 8/8/2014
An agro-forestry concept called “alley cropping” will be on full display at the 2014 Fall Forestry Field Day to be hosted by the Kansas Forest Service on Thursday, October 16th.  The location will be the Buchanan Tree Farm near Valley Falls in northeast Kansas.  K-State forester Bob Atchison previews the field day, urging landowners to attend and learn about alley cropping and other tree management topics.

- 8/1/2014
In the early history of Kansas, natives relied heavily upon trees growing along stream banks for their very survival.  K-State forester Charlie Barden explains how trees remain an important part of everyday living, and what can happen when trees are removed for agricultural purposes.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program is now providing financial assistance to producers who are looking to make improvements and renovations to their woodlands. K-State forester Bob Atchison covers the eligibility requirements for receiving E-Q-I-P funds for these purposes.

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.