By: Al Koeppel, Kretz Lumber Company, with insight from Linda Williams, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
This spring and summer, we have found that spruce trees, which include blue, white and Norway species, are under attack. They are being impacted by a fungal disease which goes by the name of Rhizosphaera needle cast. It’s a mouthful, no doubt, and it’s wreaking havoc on our spruce population.
I reached out to Linda Williams, Forest Health Specialist - Northeastern Wisconsin from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to get her insight into the disease. This is what she shared:
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Get outside and share with us your best spring scenery photo. Enter our contest by uploading your favorite photo to our Facebook page. We’ll compile all entries into an album and fans will then vote on their favorite. The photo with the most likes at the end of the voting period will receive a $25 Mills Fleet Farm gift card!
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By Dick Ballou, Volunteer Coordinator, Cedar Lake Buckthorn Control Project
There is a red barn in northwest Wisconsin, and adjacent to this red barn is a 3-acre woodlot that is not unlike one that might be found almost anywhere. The land was used primarily for nature walks and hunting in the fall; sadly, it is now nearly useless for either activity. The little red barn was once part of a real farm, and years ago it was converted to a popular summer theatre, where the actors, stagehands, and theatergoers all loved watching the graceful white-tailed deer around the barn. But gradually there were fewer animals, and then none at all.
This woodlot had gradually become ‘choked off’ by an invasive tree known as buckthorn. Some tall pines, oak, cherry, and other native trees could be seen above the 12-15 foot canopy of buckthorn, but all that remained underneath was a wall of invasive growth that was so thick that neither man nor animal could enter. Moreover, the invasive growth was so dense that seeds from native plants could not germinate and grow – the ground underneath was plain dirt, with no grass, weeds or other new growth. When it rained there was mud.
This example should serve as a wake up call to landowners who own woodlots – check your land for buckthorn!
Kretz Lumber Company, joined by landowner and logger Rick Peters, head out to the woods of Wisconsin's Shawano County to discuss economic and physiological challenges that can occur when growing large diameter trees.
In order to answer what makes a log a veneer grade log, let’s first define what veneer is. Most people understand what lumber is (logs that are sawn into boards which are generally 1 or 2 inches thick and 4 to 10 inches wide). Veneer on the other hand is produced when logs are put on a lathe and long continuous sheets of wood are peeled off. These sheets of wood are generally around 1/42 of an inch thick for hardwood. Plywood (which you see sold at retail lumber yards) is actually sheets of veneer glued together. Hardwood doors and furniture are generally made from veneer.
Now we will get to the question. Defects are what determine whether or not a log is graded as a veneer log. Knots is one form of defect. A knot is created when limbs prune off and the tree grows additional wood over the area. Knots can fall out of the sheets of veneer during production and they can be a visual deformity. Seams are a major defect, which cause the sheets of veneer to break and come apart. Other defects include bird peck, gum, ring shake, insect damage, color and mineral. Another criteria for veneer logs is diameter and length. Logs that are too small or logs that are too big in diameter affect grade and quality. Logs that are 12 inches in diameter or larger is a common size that is utilized in veneer mills. Logs that are over 30 inches in diameter are generally not desirable because there are limitations to the size of logs that a lathe can handle.
During the autumn months the leaves on deciduous trees turn colors and soon thereafter fall from the tree. But have you noticed that some species retain their leaves until spring? In central Wisconsin this is most common on oak and beech trees. The term for this leaf retention phenomenon is called marcescence, which basically means “hold on to stuff”. On a tree that loses it leaves such as maple, when the nights get longer and the days get shorter, the cells at the junction of the leaf and twig start to divide. This forms a layer of cells that slowly block the transport of carbohydrates from the leaf and nutrients from the twig. Ultimately killing the leaf and severing it from the twig. Ecologists have yet to figure out the exact reason that some species retain their leaves. With this lack of scientific evidence brings on some interesting theories and speculation to why this occurs.
Dry infertile sites are where we commonly find oak and beech trees. These soil conditions may play a role in why leaf retention is important to these species. Retaining leaves until spring would definitely slow the decomposition and would increase the organic material on the forest floor during the growing season for the parent tree. This could give that tree a competitive advantage on poor sites by increasing nutrition and retaining moisture on the forest floor.
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Get outside and share with us your best Wisconsin winter photo. Enter our contest by uploading your favorite photo to our Facebook page. We’ll compile all entries into an album and fans will then vote on their favorite. The image with the most likes at the end of the voting period will receive a $25 Mills Fleet Farm gift card!
To enter our contest:
Kretz Lumber Company is tying Red Robin athletic success to charitable donations throughout the community.
For the remainder of the winter sports season, the hardwood lumber manufacturer will select a weekly local charity, and make a monetary contribution based on the play of Antigo’s varsity teams during that week’s home contest. The company will donate $5 for each:
“Our company is very team orientated, with many of our employees former Red Robin students and athletes,” commented company president Troy Brown. “We figured this was a unique way we could show our community pride, while supporting our local high school teams and student athletes, all the while helping some of our great local causes.”
"We chose the winter sports season because it’s the longest, and has the most teams competing," continued Brown. "We're hoping by highlighting home contest in these sports, we may encourage more fan support as well. We are planning on making this a recurring yearly commitment.”
Local charities selected by Kretz include: The Giving Tree of Langlade County, Langlade County Humane Society, Avail, Antigo Community Food Pantry, Boys and Girls Club of Langlade County, Antigo High School Athletics, WeekEnd Backpack Program (WEB), Habitat for Humanity of Langlade County, and Langlade County 4-H. A $100 minimum donation will be made to each cause.
The gun deer season is here and it's time to get out in the woods and bag the biggest buck! Enter the 2017 Kretz Lumber Company’s Big Buck Contest and you could win more than just bragging rights. Every entrant has a chance to win!
There are two ways to win:
To enter our contest, follow these three simple steps:
We are using a complete honor system. Kretz Lumber Company reserves the right to disqualify any entries suspected of cheating.
We will announce the winners the week of November 27, 2017 on our Facebook page.
Good luck and have a safe hunt!
This contest is in no way sponsored or administered by Facebook.
One of the greatest threats to Wisconsin forests is spreading rapidly and some experts consider it more destructive and dangerous than oak wilt, dutch elm and emerald ash borer combined. Invasive species garlic mustard and buckthorn are decimating forests and forestry experts say many landowners and outdoor enthusiasts aren’t familiar with the plants. In order to change that, leaders are hosting a free program for anyone interested in learning how to identify and treat these forest killers.
“This is the greatest threat to our northern Wisconsin forest since the Peshtigo fire,” stated Dennis Fincher, Kretz Lumber Company Forester. “The growth of garlic mustard and buckthorn is exploding rapidly. The horror stories are beginning, yet many landowners don’t know how to identify these plants or what to do if they find them on their property.”
To raise awareness and educate the public, leaders from Kretz Lumber Company and the Department of Natural Resources are presenting a free program to teach residents how to identify and treat garlic mustard and buckthorn. The invasive species program will be held on Thursday, November 2 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Langlade County Fairgrounds Multipurpose Building, 1635 Neva Road, Antigo. Anyone with questions can call Dennis Fincher, Kretz Lumber Company Forester, at 715-493-4041 or Travis Larson, Department of Natural Resources, at 715-623-4190.
The program is sponsored by Kretz Lumber Company, the Department of Natural Resources, Langlade County Forestry, and Verso Paper.