NORTHWOODS - White birch trees help define our Northwoods forests.
But these trees can be threatened by many different pests.
White birch is a pioneer species, meaning it grows well in landscapes that have been hit by fire or otherwise cleared.
Right now, as a whole, the Northwoods white birch population is getting older quickly.
"As those trees age, their systems are not as durable as when they're nice, healthy, younger, vigorous trees," says DNR Forester John Gillen.
Diseases in white birch are often due to more than one factor.
Many trees have become dehydrated or defoliated, especially in the drought of the last decade.
"Then, a big influx of insects may attack the trees because they're under stress. That, often times, is what ends up killing individual trees or a stand of white birch," Gillen says.
Insects like the bronze birch borer, birch leafminer, and forest tent caterpillar can be common in the Northwoods.
That goes for white birch both in the forest and in your yard.
"A good thing to keep an eye out for in all tree species is pay attention to what's happening with the crown of the tree - if there's any defoliation happening, or if the coloration of the leaves is changing," says Gillen.
The best way to keep your white birch healthy is to make sure it's always well watered.
That makes it strong enough to fight off insects and diseases.
RHINELANDER - A snow storm caught Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander off guard last weekend and collapsed a greenhouse. Now that spring weather is here, Hanson's is ready to move forward by making some adjustments. "We got by for 25 years doing what we were doing," said Hanson's Garden Village Co-owner Brent Hanson. Last weekend's spring snow storm set back Hanson's. "We thought we were ahead of schedule having that greenhouse nice and filled," said Hanson's Manager Beth Hanson.
"One bad storm and there you go. Things happen," said Brent. The storm collapsed a greenhouse holding thousands of plants. "For years we've gotten by with these lighter cheaper green houses," said Brent. "We'll be down a greenhouse for a little bit here," said Beth. Now Hanson's will only use sturdier and solid greenhouses so that collapses don't become a pattern.
RHINELANDER - Oneida County needs more foster care homes. Right now, there are nine licensed foster homes in the area, most of which are full according to the county's social services department.
Foster Care Coordinator Rachel Nelson says that in Oneida County there are 24 children currently living in foster homes. The department participated in a statewide foster care recruitment project last fall, and discovered just how great the need is.
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