Newsletter: MyMinnesotaWoods – Sept. 2020

Here we go! September is here and we’ve had just a few days of chillier temperatures, but that’s been more than enough to get us ready for all the splendor that autumn brings. Color changes have barely started in the north woods, but we’ll be surrounded by bursts of red, gold and orange before you know it! Take some time this month to get outside in the woods and enjoy the beauty, and be sure to use the MNDNR’s handy Fall Color Finder to keep tabs on timing and the best spots.

Upcoming webinar on emerald ash borer:
Emerald ash borer is one of Minnesota’s most impactful invasive forest pests. This month’s webinar will discuss the current status, distribution, and quarantine updates related to EAB. We will also present an update on EAB biocontrol efforts and provide new resources for private landowners seeking to manage ash in their woodlands.
Wild cucumber vine is everywhere!
Wild cucumber vine is a native, annual vine that is being found all across Minnesota. While it’s not an invasive species, it is very noticeable along roadsides, forest edges, hedgerows and fences. Learn more about how to identify this aggressive native plant.
New video on becoming an advocate for natural resources:
Being a steward of the environment doesn’t have to stop at your property line. You can make a big difference by advocating for change with policymakers and natural resource managers. Watch the new video “Engaging with decision makers” to learn about becoming a volunteer advocate for natural resource management.
Ask a forester: How can I estimate the age of my tree?
The Extension Forestry team received a question from a homeowner last week: “We have a very old oak in our yard and we’re wondering how old it is.” There are several ways to find the age of a tree:
 
Foresters use an increment borer to extract a tree core from the stem and count the rings. This is the most common way and does not generally affect the tree. 
 
The issue for this homeowner was that the tree was a large oak. Extracting a tree core would be the logical option, but we were hesitant to suggest this this for the homeowner’s yard tree. Plus, finding an increment borer big enough would be tough! The largest increment corer a Minnesota forester will usually carry is a 12-inch corer which can core a two-foot diameter tree. Plus, we want to avoid doing any damage to oaks in the summer due to transmission of the oak wilt fungus.
 
Instead of coring the tree, a mathematical formula can be used to estimate the age of the tree. A recent post from Purdue University explains how to do this. As an example, a 24-inch diameter white oak would have a total age of 120 years. To get a better estimate of the tree’s age, the post also explains an “urban forest factor” for open-grown trees that are found in yards.
Minnesota Woodland Owner Weekend:
You are invited to attend a virtual workshop designed for woodland owners and nature lovers in Minnesota. Watch all the pre-recorded sessions at your own convenience, then join us for live Zoom Q&A sessions with all the presenters on October 3. Visit Saint John’s OutdoorU website to register, and view the event brochure, session descriptions and schedule for the live Q&A sessions.