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K-State Research and Extension News

Tree Tales

Tree Tales provides advice on tree care issues, tree selection and planting, and upcoming events and publications from the Kansas Forest Service.  Each segment is approximately 2-minutes in length, and is presented by forestry experts from the Kansas Forest Service.

Send comments, questions or requests for copies of past programs to ksrenews@ksu.edu.

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08-16-19CONTROLLING POISON IVY– Identifying and controlling poison ivy is often difficult. The saying “leaves of three, let it be” is generally a good rule to follow. However, a number of other woody plants and vines have three leaflets. K-State forester Ryan Armbrust discusses the options for controlling this widely despised native plant in the home landscape. TT 08-16
08-09-19SILVOPASTURE SYSTEMS– Silvopasture, the practice of integrating trees, forage and grazing of domesticated animals in a mutually beneficial way, is one of the oldest known forms of agriculture. It’s also one of several distinct forms of agroforestry. Properly managed, K-State forester Bob Atchison says silvopasture can increase productivity and long-term income due to the simultaneous production of tree crops, forage and livestock. TT 08-09
08-02-19THE IMPACT OF RAINFALL– Trees need water. But, how much? Too much or too little will impact whether a tree grows vigorously or suffers. K-State forester Ryan Armbrust offers some guidelines for determining how much water a tree really needs.TT 08-02
07-26-19A HISTORY WITH TREES– Trees have played an important role in the history of Kansas. Early settlers relied on trees for shade, firewood and homes. Many towns and rivers are named after trees. However, K-State forester Charles Barden says the clearing of trees along streams and rivers caused unstable banks, resulting in muddy water and increased siltation – something that is now being addressed through riparian buffers.TT 07-26
07-19-19BENEFITS OF SHADE TREES– Summer isn’t the time to plant trees in the home landscape. However, summer is a good time to observe how trees could help reduce energy costs by providing shade from the morning and evening sun and how they can make a patio or deck cooler and more enjoyable on those hot summer days. K-State forester Charles Barden discusses the benefits of shade trees.TT 07-19
07-12-19ADDRESSING EROSION CONCERNS– A recent site visit to help a farmer wanting to reduce soil erosion on his property showed he had a good understanding of how his stream worked. In fact, K-State forester Jarran Tindle says the farmer already had a plan in place to control erosion and all he did was emphasize the importance of low bank vegetation and suggested cutting back some trees to let in more light.TT 07-12
07-05-19THE STATE OF OUR FORESTS– A recent report from the USDA Forest Service provides a good picture of the opportunities and threats facing America’s forests and woodlands. K-State forester Bob Atchison says the report affirms that our forests and woodlands, including those in Kansas, are all in need of care and management if we’re to sustain this valuable resource.TT 07-05 
06-28-19FUNGAL DISEASES– The extended periods of wet weather across Kansas this year may have created a perfect environment for fungal diseases. K-State forester Charles Barden says a number of trees are susceptible to fungal diseases promoted by wet weather. TT 06-28
06-21-19GOOD FORESTRY COMMANDMENTS– In Kansas, 93 percent of the state’s forestland is privately-owned. As a result, management of this valuable resource falls on landowners. However, the Kansas Forest Service is in charge of providing oversight for the state’s forestland. K-State forester Bob Atchison says they’ve put together a list of the Ten Commandments of Good Forestry. TT 06-21
06-14-19SUMMER TREE PRUNING TIPS– Many older shade trees in the home landscape benefit from an early summer pruning. K-State forester Charles Barden says a light pruning helps reduce crown size, slows tree growth, keeps troublesome branches away from the roof and makes the lawn easier to mow.TT 06-14
06-07-19CEDAR APPLE RUST– Those strange-looking orange objects appearing on the branches of Eastern red cedar trees are the spore-producing body of one life stage of the cedar apple rust fungus. If these spores land on other apple trees, K-State forester Ryan Armbrust says it can cause stress, early defoliation and possible damage to the fruit.TT 06-07 
05-31-19SHAPING THE KANSAS LANDSCAPE– In the early days of settlement, state and federal legislation encouraged settlers in Kansas to establish forest plantations and farm woodlots. K-State forester Jarran Tindle looks at how this legislation helped shape today’s Kansas landscape.TT 05-31 
05-24-19NATIONAL WALNUT COUNCIL– For a prairie state, Kansas has a long history of producing impressive black walnut. The Kansas Forest Service is hosting the National Walnut Council Meeting next month north of Topeka. According to K-State forester Bob Atchison, the meeting provides an opportunity to learn more about the current management and care of black walnut and other valuable hardwoods.TT 05-24
05-17-19TREES AND TOO MUCH RAIN– In recent years, drought – not excessive moisture – has been the concern for Kansas farmers, ranchers and homeowners. However, this year has been an exception. In addition to property damage caused by flooding, K-State forester Ryan Armbrust says there are three major concerns when it comes to trees and too much rain.TT 05-17 
05-10-19WATER QUALITY ADVOCACY– The Kansas Forest Service is working with a number of conservation partners to promote “best management practices” to reduce the amount of sediment and streambank erosion finding its way into Kansas reservoirs. K-State forester Shane Neel discusses the mission of the Water Quality Advocate Network.TT 05-10
05-03-19RIGHT TREE, RIGHT PLACE– Homeowners wanting to plant a tree this spring are advised to take several things into consideration before selecting a tree. In order to make the tree an asset rather than a liability, K-State forester Charles Barden suggests homeowners look up for power lines and other obstructions and think about whether the tree will still be a good fit for their landscape in 15 or 20 years.TT 05-03 
04-26-19CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIPS– The Regional Conservation Partnership Program promotes coordination between the Natural Resources Conservation Service and its partners, including the Kansas Forest Service, to deliver conservation assistance to farmers, ranchers and producers. K-State forester Bob Atchison discusses the environmental benefits of the program.TT 04-26 
04-19-19CELEBRATING ARBOR DAY Arbor Day is April 26th. K-State forester Charles Barden discusses the history of Arbor Day and the important role it plays in raising awareness of trees and helping the environment. In addition to planting a tree, there are a number of ways we can celebrate Arbor Day.TT 04-19
04-12-19STATE FOREST ACTION PLANS– The Kansas Forest Service is currently updating its action plan to improve the health of Kansas forestland and address potential threats. In the process, K-State forester Bob Atchison says seven key issues have been identified through public input.TT 04-12 
04-05-19A WALK IN THE WOODS – A walk in the woods this spring might create a sensory overload. According to K-State forester Charles Barden, there’s a variety of wild flowers, trees and mushrooms to see, smell and eat.TT 04-05
03-29-19RESTORING THE OAK SAVANNA– The oak savanna, where prairie transitions into forest, was once one of the most common vegetation types in the Midwest. Today, K-State forester Bob Atchison says it is highly endangered. He explains what landowners can do to restore and protect existing oak savannas in Kansas.TT 03-29
03-22-19NATIONAL WALNUT COUNCIL MEETING– Kansas is hosting the National Walnut Council meeting this June at the Prairie Band Casino and Resort north of Topeka. K-State forester Charles Barden says the meeting includes a variety of field trips and indoor seminars taught by national and regional experts.TT 03-22
03-15-19CONDITION OF RIPARIAN FORESTS– Streambank erosion is causing Kansas reservoirs to fill up with sediment. Riparian forests – trees adjacent to streams and rivers – play an important role in addressing this problem. K-State forester Bob Atchison says a new assessment of riparian forests in Tuttle Creek Watershed will help guide restoration work to improve the health of woodlands and reduce streambank erosion.TT 03-15
03-08-19BRANCH TRIMMING BOUQUETS– It won’t be long before homeowners can begin pruning shrubs and small trees in the home landscape. However, instead of discarding the branch trimmings, K-State forester Charles Barden says you can use them to make spring bouquets.TT 03-08
03-01-19A RICH FORESTRY HISTORY– Kansas is probably not the first state people think of when it comes to forestry. However, an 1880 forestry report sheds some light on the efforts made to improve the quality of life for Kansas settlers through the planting and maintenance of trees. K-State forester Jarran Tindle explains.TT 03-01 
02-22-19SLOWING EMERALD ASH BORER– Extreme cold, such as the recent “polar vortex” that swept through the U.S., may kill some Emerald Ash Borer larvae, but many will survive. K-State forester Ryan Armbrust  says the best defense against EAB is to focus on replacing existing ash with a variety of species of trees that will not be impacted as severely by future forest pests. TT 02-22
02-15-19PROTECTING TREES FROM ICE DAMAGE– It only takes a thin layer of ice to increase the weight of a branch enough to cause branch failure. K-State forester Ryan Armbrust says regular structural pruning can help protect trees from damage caused by heavy snow or ice. TT 02-15
02-08-19ESTABLISHING LIVESTOCK WINDBREAKS– A typical Kansas winter can take a toll on the health of a cattle herd. However, studies show that cattle protected by windbreaks do much better in extreme conditions. K-State forester Bob Atchison says the Kansas Forest Service is now accepting tree orders from producers interested in establishing livestock windbreaks and that foresters are available to assist with windbreak planning and design.TT 02-08
02-01-19PROTECTING THE GREAT PLAINS– At the height of the Dust bowl in the 1930s, the federal government spent millions to plant trees to serve as windbreaks and shelter belts in the Great Plains. K-State forester Bob Atchison says that green infrastructure is in need of renovation and steps are being taken to identify where to focus limited resources to renovate those old windbreaks, establish new ones and address invasive species.TT 02-01
01-25-19BENEFITS OF WINTER TREE PRUNING– Most people probably wouldn’t think pruning their trees in the winter is a good idea. However, K-State forester Ryan Armbrust says there are several benefits – for both trees and homeowners – to tackling that project before spring arrives.TT 01-25
01-18-19USDA FOREST SERVICE INVENTORY– According to a report from the USDA Forest Service, the Northern Great Plains, which includes Kansas, has 6-point-8 million acres of forestland and another 5-point-1 million acres and 458 million trees that don’t qualify as forestland but are critical for windbreaks and riparian woodlands. K-State forester Bob Atchison takes a closer look at the Forest Service Inventory for 2011-2015.TT 01-18 
01-11-19UNEXPECTED INSECT GUESTS– Firewood is typically harvested from trees that are declining or are past their prime. As a result, native borers are often found in these declining trees. Because the insects overwinter in these declining trees, they may emerge early when the firewood is brought inside the home. However, K-State forester Ryan Armbrust says these unexpected guests are harmless. TT 01-11
12-21-18CELEBRATING CONSERVATION– The 12th annual Kansas Natural Resources Conference will feature over 70 concurrent programs and poster displays on a variety of natural resource topics, ranging from fisheries and wildlife to forestry, range and water quality. K-State forester Charles Barden previews the upcoming conference.TT 12-21
12-14-18APPLY NOW FOR EQIP FUNDING– The deadline for farmers and ranchers to apply for financial assistance to plant trees or manage woodlands or windbreaks through EQIP, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, is December 21st. K-State forester Bob Atchison covers the benefits of the program, the financial assistance that is available, and the application process.TT 12-14 
12-07-18SHARED STEWARDSHIP STRATEGY– The U.S. faces significant issues in sustaining its agriculture and natural resources. Many of the issues have been identified in Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s Shared Stewardship Strategy. K-State forester Bob Atchison says the Kansas Forest Service will be working to address those issues.TT 12-07
11-30-18AN EVERGREEN OF MANY COLORS– The Eastern Red Cedar is an evergreen that serves as a windbreak for homesteads and fields and as food and shelter for deer, game birds, song birds and many other species. While the Eastern Red Cedar is an evergreen, K-State forester Ryan Armbrust says its color is not constant.TT 11-30
11-23-18BENEFITS OF A WOOD STOVE– A wood stove, whether it operates on firewood or pellets, can reduce heating costs in the winter. However, K-State forester Charles Barden says a wood stove might not be right for everyone.TT 11-23
11-16-18SELECTIVELY THINNING TREES– Selectively thinning out lower quality trees, such as hackberry, locust and hedge from woodlands and windbreaks provides firewood as a heating source and clears the way for good walnut and oak. K-State forester Bob Atchison says there is government assistance through EQIP – the Environmental Quality Incentives Program – available to landowners interested in managing their woodlands and windbreaks.TT 11-16
11-09-18BUSH HONEYSUCKLE CONTROL – November is one of the best time to control bush honeysuckle, a non-native invasive shrub plaguing wooded areas in Kansas. They can be easily detected this time of year because it’s one of the only understory shrubs that are still green. K-State forester Ryan Armbrust offers some tips for controlling bush honeysuckle. TT 11-09
11-02-18SELECTING QUALITY FIREWOOD– The days getting shorter and cooler serves as a reminder that it’s time to start securing firewood for the winter. However, not all firewood burns the same. K-State forester Charles Barden discusses the heating value of the various wood species and what constitutes quality firewood.TT 11-02
10-26-18HARVESTING TIMBER IN KANSAS– Kansas farmers and ranchers are often approached about selling timber on their property. However, before any sales take place, K-State forester Bob Atchison says fair market value needs to be determined – which includes seeking bids from several timber buyers. He discusses the steps involved in selling timber and how the Kansas Forest Service can guide sellers through the process.TT 10-26
10-19-18EXPERIENCING FALL IN KANSAS– As we move deeper into fall, a journey across Kansas reveals a spectacular array of colors and beauty. K-State forester Charles Barden discusses some of the best places to experience fall in Kansas. TT 10-19
10-12-18FOREST STEWARDSHIP AWARD– A 200 acre Kansas tree farm has been recognized with a prestigious forestry award for its long-term commitment, productivity and health of their woodlands. K-State forester Bob Atchison has the full story of this year’s Forest Stewardship Tree Farmer of the Year.TT 10-12
10-05-18MANAGING STREAMSIDE VEGETATION– Managing streamside vegetation is an important part of managing Kansas streams. According to K-State forester Jarran Tindle, planting a wide variety of species helps ensure the long-term health and value of the streamside forest.TT 10-05
09-28-18SLOPE STABILIZATION– When stream systems are in balance, the stream migrates at a very slow rate while maintaining its shape and pattern. However, when a stream system is out balance, they exhibit accelerated bank erosion. K-State forester Jarren Tindle discusses how the use of woody vegetation to promote slope stabilization.TT 09-28
09-21-18BIOTECHNICAL PROTECTION– Many streambank systems are out of balance and exhibit accelerated bank erosion and down cutting stream beds. However, K-State forester Jarren Tindle says biotechnical streambank protection can be used to reduce the force of water and increase soil resistance to erosion by establishing a living structure of woody vegetation.TT 09-21 
09-14-18ALLEVIATING STREAMBANK EROSION– Approximately half of the sediment in federal reservoirs in Kansas is coming from streambank erosion. K-State forester Jarren Tindle outlines the steps private landowners can take to slow down streambank erosion, and in the process, extend the life of our reservoirs.TT 09-14
09-07-18FALL TREE PLANTING TIPS– Fall is a great time to add evergreens and deciduous trees to the home landscape. If you’re undecided about which species to plant, K-State forester Charlie Barden says visiting a nursery provides a good idea of how those trees will look in the fall. He also offers tips for fall planting, watering and mulching.TT 09-07
08-31-18PLANTING NUTS IN THE FALL– While most tree planting is done in the spring, those interested in establishing trees in the home landscape this fall should consider planting nuts by collecting local seed. K-State forester Bob Atchison says most trees in Kansas drop their seed in the fall, including black walnut and oak acorns.TT 08-31
08-24-18KANSAS AGROFORESTRY AWARD– The 2018 Kansas Agroforestry Award has been presented to the Kickapoo Tribe for the conservation work they’ve accomplished on their reservation located west of Horton. K-State forester Bob Atchison details the work that’s been done and how you can see that work firsthand by attending Fall Forestry Field Day in October. TT 08-24
08-17-18LATE-SEASON DEFOLIATION– Emerald ash borer has been present in northeast Kansas for several years, but not every ash tree that looks rough is infected. K-State forester Ryan Armbrust says the tree may be experiencing late-season defoliation which is rarely fatal. TT 08-17
08-10-18SIGNS OF DUTCH ELM DISEASE– After accidentally entering the United States on elm logs shipped from France to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1931, Dutch Elm Disease started killing many planted and native elm trees in Ohio within five years. The disease was first reported in Kansas in 1957. Despite the threat of DED, K-State forester Ryan Armbrust says there are a number of American elm hybrids that are well-suited for planting in Kansas.TT 08-10
08-03-18COMBATING OAK WILT DISEASE– Every year a number of oaks in eastern Kansas suffer from a disease called oak wilt which quickly causes decline and death. K-State forester Ryan Armbrust says there’s little that can be done to save a tree from oak wilt but there are steps that can be taken to help protect oaks from exposure to the disease.TT 08-03
07-27-18THE HISTORY OF TREES IN KANSAS– Trees have played an important role in the history of Kansas. Settlers often looked for a grove of tall cottonwood trees as a place to make camp because it meant water was nearby. However, K-State forester Charles Barden says the clearing of trees along streams and rivers caused unstable banks, resulting in muddy water and increased siltation in our reservoirs – something that’s now being addressed through riparian buffers.               TT 07-27 
07-20-18MANAGING WOODLANDS IN KANSAS– There are more than two million acres of woodlands in Kansas. If those acres are properly managed, it can provide an economic value to a farm’s operation. K-State forester Bob Atchison says the Kansas Forest Service can connect woodlands owners with organizations and councils that can help them diversity their income and increase the value of the overall farm.TT 07-20 
07-13-18WINDBREAKS AND CROPS– Research suggests a correlation between properly functioning windbreaks and an increase in crop yields. K-State forester Charles Barden has been researching the connection between windbreaks and crops and now he’s looking to expand the study across the region from Texas to Nebraska.TT 07-13
07-06-18TIPS FOR WATERING TREES– When nature isn’t providing enough moisture to keep trees healthy, homeowners need to make up the difference. But how much water do trees need? K-State forester Bob Atchison offers tips for watering newly planted and mature trees in the home landscape.TT 07-06
06-29-18EARLY SUMMER TREE PRUNING– Many older shade trees in the home landscape will benefit from an early summer pruning. K-State forester Charlie Barden says a light pruning now helps reduce crown size, slows tree growth, keeps troublesome branches away from rooftops and makes mowing the lawn a little easier. TT 06-29
06-22-18WOODLANDS AND WINDBREAKS– The 2.5 million acres of forests and 1.2 million acres of windbreaks, riparian woodlands and other trees in Kansas play a vital role in helping the environment. K-State forester Bob Atchison discusses the benefits of managing and caring for woodlands and windbreaks.TT 06-22 
06-15-18TREE PLANTING SUCCESS– A successful tree planting involves much more than digging a hole and covering it with soil. For example, weeds and grasses should be kept away from the base of the tree to reduce competition for water and nutrients. K-State forester Bob Atchison discusses the steps involved in a successful tree planting.TT 06-15
06-08-18WATERING TREES AND SHRUBS– Even when it rains during the summer, it might not be enough to adequately satisfy the needs of trees and shrubs in the home landscape. K-State forester Charlie Barden offers tips on how to water trees and shrubs without using too much or too little water.TT 06-08
06-01-18PINE TREE NEEDLE BLIGHT– If your pine tree needles have brown tips, needle blight could be the cause. Ryan Armbrust, health and conservation forester with the Kansas Forest Service, says this fungus often results in premature leaf drop which can weaken pine trees.                    TT 06-01
05-25-18THE IMPORTANCE OF WINDBREAKS– The purpose of a windbreak is to reduce wind speed.  K-State forester Bob Atchison says reducing heating costs, providing food and cover for wildlife, and reducing livestock feeding costs and stock losses are just a few of the benefits associated with having a windbreak.TT 05-25 
05-18-18ESTABLISHING PECAN PLANTATIONS– Pecan is the largest member of the hickory family and can be grown in southeast Kansas as a source of additional income. K-State forester Bob Atchison says the Kansas chapter of the Walnut Council will provide additional information about establishing pecan plantations at the Walnut Council Field Day on June 16th at the K-State Pecan Experimental Field near Chetopah.TT 05-18
05-11-18SELECTING LANDSCAPE TREES– Trees can definitely enhance the appearance of the landscape. However, if homeowners choose the wrong species or plant them in a bad location, K-State forester Charlie Barden says trees can become a liability rather than an asset.TT 05-11
05-04-18WALNUT COUNCIL FIELD DAY– The Kansas Chapter of the Walnut Council is hosting a Field Day June 16th at the K-State Pecan Experiment Field in Cherokee County. K-State forester Charlie Barden provides a preview of the field day – which he says may be the last at the 80 acre site.TT 05-04
04-27-18GROWING BLACK WALNUT TREES– Black walnut, which can be grown in the Midwest, including the eastern third of Kansas, is in high demand for wood products. However, for black walnut to thrive, they need loamy soils that are high in organic matter and should be planted in areas that drain well and receive full sun. K-State forester Bob Atchison offers advice for planting black walnut trees.TT 04-27
04-20-18CEDAR APPLE RUST FUNGUS– The alien-like orange objects that appear on the branches of Eastern red cedar trees following a rain storm in April and May are the spore-producing body of one life stage of the cedar apple rust fungus. K-State forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust says these spores find a home on a variety of apples – leading to a second stage of this rust disease. TT 04-20
04-13-18HARVESTING MOREL MUSHROOMS– A variety of wildflowers will soon be blooming in Kansas woodlands. In addition, the arrival of morel mushrooms – which often coincides with turkey season – sends hunters deep into the woods in search of one of the most desired mushrooms in the world. K-State forester Bob Atchison discusses how to harvest and handle these elusive mushrooms.TT 04-13
04-06-18TREE PLANTING DIVERSITY– Throughout history, there have been numerous pests and diseases that have impacted the health of our trees – and that impact was undoubtedly amplified by planting too many of the same species in one place. However, K-State forest health specialist Ryan Armbrust says tree planting diversity involves more than simply planting multiple species.TT 04-06