Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2015 First Detector Training Workshop Dates and Locations Announced

Dec. 2, 2014

Source: Kelly Estes, 217-333.1005,
News writer: Stephanie Henry, 217-244-1183,

2015 Invasive pest awareness workshops will focus on early detection and response

URBANA, Ill.  – University of Illinois Extension has announced the dates for its 2015 Illinois First Detector Invasive Pest Workshops covering important landscape and nursery pests, diseases, and invasive plants. Workshops will be offered at eight locations in Illinois beginning in January 2015.

Early detection and response is key to managing invasive pests. The Illinois First Detector Workshops, now in their third year, are aimed at improving first detector training and invasive species awareness. The workshops will cover new topics on current and emerging invasive plants, pathogens, and insects. Each location will have sessions covering the brown marmorated stink bug, viruses in ornamental plants, and invasive plants and their management, as well as a session devoted to discussing invasive pest pathways.

“Community involvement is key in the early detection of invasive species. We are very excited about these new workshop topics and look forward to working with participants in learning more about these issues facing our local communities,” said Kelly Estes, state survey coordinator.

As in previous years, these in-depth training sessions will cover material that includes:

  • Identification/detection
  • Life cycle/biology
  • Hosts
  • Sampling
  • Management
  • Commonly confused look-a-likes

Once again, those attending will also take part in hands-on activities, which will allow attendees to examine these pests and diseases in more detail.

The target audience includes certified arborists, tree care professionals, Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, forestry and natural resource professionals, conservationists, and others with an interest in trees.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be available for:  IAA Certified Arborists, Continuing Forestry Education Credits, Master Gardener, and Master Naturalist.

Workshops will be held at the following locations:

  • Collinsville, Jan. 29 – 618-344-4230
  • Wheaton, Feb. 3 – 630-584-6166
  • DeKalb, Feb. 4 – 815-758-8194
  • Mt. Vernon, Feb. 11 – 618-548-1446
  • Charleston, Feb. 12 – 217-543-3755
  • Macomb, Feb. 18 – 309-837-3939
  • Moline, Feb. 19 – 309-756-9978
  • Bloomington, Feb. 26 – 309-663-8306

Those interested in attending should contact the host locations above for registration. A $40 non-refundable registration fee covers instruction, on-site lunch, and training materials. Space is limited.

This program and materials are based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2014-70006-22557and coordinated by Kelly Estes, state survey coordinator, IL CAPS Program at the Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, and Diane Plewa, Plant Clinic diagnostician and outreach coordinator, Department of Crop Sciences. Additional support for this program will be provided by Christopher Evans, the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan - invasive species campaign coordinator, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Scott Schirmer, plant and pesticide specialist supervisor, emerald ash borer program manager, Illinois Department of Agriculture. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Emerald Ash Borer Community Preparedness Workshops in Southern Illinois.

Recent discoveries of Emerald Ash Borer in Perry and Williamson counties underscore the need for communities to be proactive against Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).

The University of Illinois Extension is offering the following programs for local officials, municipalities, park districts, arborists, and others impacted by the recent Emerald Ash Borer findings. The programs will be held at the following locations:

Thursday, November 13
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center
8588 Rte 148 Marion, IL 62959
From 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 13
Perry County Government Building Conference Room
3764 State Rte 13/127
Pinckneyville, IL 62274
From: 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Friday, November 14
Shawnee National Forest
50 Highway 145 South Harrisburg, IL 62946
From 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Workshop participants will learn about emerald ash borer, why it is a threat to our natural forests and urban trees, regulatory implications of the recent discoveries, and how to create a community action plan to manage ash trees on city-owned and private property. This workshop will discuss how to take inventory of all ash trees within a community in order to develop budget needs should large-scale ash tree removal become necessary.

The program is FREE, but reservations are required by November 12. To register call University of Illinois Extension, Jackson county at: 618-687-1727 or register online at

Monday, October 27, 2014

Illinois Stop the Spread! Callery Pear Alternative Tree Demonstration Fall Planting

Jennifer Behnken, Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator
Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Dept. of Forestry
Agriculture Building - Mailcode 4411
1205 Lincoln Drive
Carbondale, IL 62901
Phone: 618/435-3341
Fax: 618/453-7475

Illinois Stop the Spread!
Callery Pear Alternative Tree Demonstration Fall Planting
Saturday, November 1, 2014, 9:30am-11:30am
Attucks Park/ Pyles Fork Reserve, 800 N. Wall St. Carbondale, IL       
           The Callery pear (also known as Bradford pear) is a potentially problematic tree for land managers and residents alike, prone to splitting and demonstrating invasive tendencies.  The Illinois Stop the Spread! campaign provides a positive solution to the problem of the Callery pear by identifying and promoting available species of native trees and shrubs which consumers, landscapers, and city planners may select as alternatives.  We continue these planting efforts at Attucks Park/Pyles Fork Preserve in Carbondale with the next installment of native trees and shrubs.
             Join us in the festivities to see how you can help extend our message and Stop the Spread in Illinois!  Come one, come all to view and participate in our planting project!  Approximately 20 trees and shrubs of varying species with desirable characteristics to serve as suitable replacements for ornamental pear trees will be planted with volunteers on the first Saturday morning of November 1st, starting at 9:30am.  Sport your favorite pair of work gloves and head on down to Attucks Park to help!  There will be a brief overview of tree planting methods followed by the planting itself.  Light refreshments will be offered. 
             This is a volunteer project and as such, we are asking for your help.  Please consider donating to Green Earth to supplement our efforts.  Funds will be used to offset costs of printing outreach materials which will be free to the public, as well as materials for tree maintenance, such as fertilizer and mulch.  Even one dollar can go a long way; all support, personal and businesses alike, is greatly appreciated! 
             For further inquiries, contact Jennifer Behnken, Southern Illinois University's community forestry coordinator at 618-453-2517 or or Karla Gage, coordinator at River to River Weed Cooperative Management Area at 618-998-5920 or

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

IDOA Monitoring Traps Detect Emerald Ash Borer in Additional Counties


 CONTACTS:  Jeff Squibb 217-558-1546

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), an invasive pest responsible for killing millions of ash trees in North America, has been confirmed in 14 new counties, including five that are located outside the current state quarantine zone intended to prevent the spread of the beetle.

“The quarantine boundaries obviously will have to be amended to include the new detections in Logan, Menard, Perry, Sangamon and Williamson counties, as well as two other counties outside the quarantine, Peoria and Tazewell, where EAB was detected for the first time earlier this year,” Warren Goetsch, Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau Chief of Environmental Programs, said. “We will do that after all of our findings are in, which should be by November.”

The new discoveries were made by Illinois Department of Agriculture employees as they retrieved and analyzed the many purple traps the department placed across the state to detect the presence of the tiny beetle, which is known for its distinctive, metallic green, wing color.
  • In Logan County, the ash borer was found on North St. in Atlanta. 
  • In Menard, it was discovered at Deerpath Lane and Oakland Ave. in Petersburg. 
  • The Perry County find was made on Reed Rd. in Du Quoin. 
  • In Sangamon County, the trap was located in an ash tree on Reynolds St. near Douglas Park. 
  • And, in Williamson County, it was detected on McDonald St. in Marion. 

The EAB traps also led to new confirmations in eight counties within the quarantine. Those counties are Coles, Douglas, Ford, Marshall, Piatt, Shelby, Warren and Woodford. An additional detection was made in Edgar County by an Eastern Illinois University professor and later confirmed through samples collected by IDOA staff.

Newly-infested counties are encouraged to begin putting the quarantine restrictions into practice.

“Residents, businesses and municipalities should familiarize themselves with the regulations in anticipation of being included in the quarantine,” EAB program manager Scott Schirmer said. “I would recommend they study management options as well to help establish plans and budgets for addressing their infestations.”

The emerald ash borer is native to Asia. Its larvae burrow into the bark of ash trees, causing the trees to starve and eventually die. Since the first detection of the pest near Detroit, Mich., in 2002, it has killed more than 250 million ash trees.

The tiny beetle often is difficult to detect, especially in newly-infested trees. Signs of infestation include thinning and yellowing leaves, D-shaped holes in the bark of the trunk or branches and basal shoots. Anyone who suspects an ash tree has been infested should contact their county Extension office, their village forester or the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

The state quarantine currently includes 49 Illinois counties and is intended to prevent the artificial or “human-assisted” spread of the beetle through the movement of potentially-infested wood and nursery stock. Specifically, it prohibits the removal of the following items:

  • The emerald ash borer in any living stage of development.
  • Ash trees of any size.
  • Ash limbs and branches.
  • Any cut, non-coniferous firewood.
  • Bark from ash trees and wood chips larger than one inch from ash trees.
  • Ash logs and lumber with either the bark or the outer one-inch of sapwood, or both, attached.
  • Any item made from or containing the wood of the ash tree that is capable of spreading the emerald ash borer.
  • Any other article, product or means of conveyance determined by the Illinois Department of Agriculture to present a risk of spreading the beetle infestation.
The counties currently under quarantine are Boone, Bureau, Champaign, Carroll, Clark, Coles, Cook, Cumberland, DeKalb, DeWitt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, Macon, Marion, Marshall, McHenry, McLean, Mercer, Moultrie, Ogle, Piatt, Putnam, Rock Island, Shelby, Stark, Stephenson, Vermilion, Warren, Whiteside, Will, Winnebago and Woodford.

For further information about the beetle, visit on the internet.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Illinois Regulated Plant Species

Illinois has several laws that regulate the sale, purchase, planting, and transport of plant species.  Below is a composite list of all of the regulated species in Illinois (with the exception of species listed on the Illinois seed law, which only regulates seeds and seed mixtures)

List of Regulated Species in Illinois
E = Exotic Weed Species (Illinois Exotic Weed Act (525 ILCS 10/))

Common ragweed*                        Ambrosia artemisiifolia, N
Giant ragweed*                               Ambrosia trifida, N
          * Ragweeds are only regulated within the corporate limits of cities, villages, and incorporated towns;
Mosquito fern                                 Azolla pinnata, I
Flowering rush                               Butomus umbellatus, I
Marijuana                                         Cannabis sativa, N
Musk thistle                                     Carduus nutans, N
Mediterranean killer algae         Caulerpa taxifolia, I
Canada thistle                                  Cirsium arvense, N
Brazilian elodea                              Egeria densa (syn. Elodea densa), I
Anchored water hyacinth          Eichhornia azurea, I
Glossy buckthorn                           Frangula alnus, E
Hydrilla                                              Hydrilla verticillata, I
European frogbit                            Hydrocharis morsus-ranae, I
Miramar weed                                 Hygrophilia polysperma, I
Chinese waterspinach                  Ipomoea aquatica, I
Yellow flag iris                                Iris pseudacorus, I
Oxygen weed                                   Lagarosiphon major, I
Asian marshweed/ambulia       Limnophila sessiliflora, I
Japanese honeysuckle                 Lonicera japonica, E
Purple loosestrife                          Lythrum salicaria, E
Arrowleaf                                         Monochoria hastata, I
Heartshape pickerelweed          Monochoria vaginalis, I
Parrot feather                                 Myriophyllum aquaticum, I
Eurasian watermilfoil                  Myriophyllum spicatum, I
Brittle naiad                                      Najas minor, I
Yellow floating heart                    Nymphoides peltata, I
Duck lettuce                                     Ottelia alismoides, I
Curlyleaf pondweed                      Potamogeton crispus, I
Kudzu                                                   Pueraria montana, E,N
Saw‑toothed buckthorn               Rhamnus arguta, E
Common buckthorn                       Rhamnus cathartica, E
Dahurian buckthorn                      Rhamnus davurica, E
Japanese buckthorn                       Rhamnus japonica, E
Chinese buckthorn                         Rhamnus utilis, E
Multiflora rose                                 Rosa multiflora, E
Arrowhead                                         Sagittaria sagittifolia, I
Giant salvinia                                     Salvinia auriculata, I
Giant salvinia                                     Salvinia biloba, I
Giant salvinia                                    Salvinia herzogii, I
Giant salvinia                                    Salvinia molesta, I
Perennial sowthistle                      Sonchus arvensis, N
Sorghum*                                           Sorghum almum, N
*  includes other Johnsongrass X sorghum crosses with rhizomes
Johnsongrass                                    Sorghum halepense, N
Exotic bur-reed                                Sparganium erectum, I

Water chestnut                                Trapa natans, I

In addition, the Illinois Invasive Plant Species Council has assessed and is formally recommending the following plants for regulation (they are not yet regulated species):

Oriental bittersweet                     Celastrus orbiculatus
Poison hemlock                             Conium maculatum
Exotic olives                                    Elaeagnus umbellata, E. pungens, E. angustifolia
Giant hogweed                                Heracleum mantegazzianum
Exotic bush honeysuckles         Lonicera maackii, L. tatarica, L. morrowii, L. fragrantissima
Lesser celandine                            Ranunculus ficaria (syn. Ficaria verna)
Salt cedar                                          Tamarix sp.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Strange things happen to guys who wear pants - plant seed transport article

"Birds, bats and bees might be the most famous plant pollinators, but seeds like to hitchhike on clothing, making us surprisingly good seed carriers."

National Public Radio has a very interesting article on the ability of humans to move seeds around. Complete with video clips. You can read the article at:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Is Stiltgrass Killing our Toads? Yes, but indirectly.

Japanese stiltgrass infestation

Invasive plant impacts on native plant species and on community structure is well documented.  Invasive plants direct-impacts on native wildlife through reduction in forage availability is also fairly straightforward.  What is less understood is the more complex indirect-impacts on wildlife from invasion by exotic plant species.

We've discussed these types of indirect-impacts to wildlife from invasive plants here on this blog several times.  Buckthorn infestations alter the distribution and movement patterns of predators, contributing to the decline of amphibians in the upper Midwest LINK.  Bush honeysuckle can change the competition balance in amphibians, leading to dominance by one native species, to the detriment of many other species LINK.  Invasive plants of prairies, such as knapweed and leafy spurge, alter the habitat structure in such a way that promotes increased web building by native spiders, leading to a trophic cascade that impacts native flora and fauna by throwing everything out of balance LINK.  In a presentation at this year's Illinois Invasive Species Symposium, Dr. Matt Allender indicated that the reduction in habitat quality from invasive plant species could be contributing to the decline in health and wellness for box turtles, which makes them more susceptible to diseases LINK.

Of course, sometimes our native wildlife can facilitate invasive plants, as is the case with deer and garlic mustard LINK.

A recent article published in the journal Ecology brought to light evidence that Japanes stiltgrass is indirectly leading to increased mortality of young toads.  Worse yet, this indirect impact is greatest felt in forests, a preferred habitat for young toads and traditionally a stronghold for survivorship.  Now habitat that once was a source, could be a sink.

So how and why is this happening?  Basically stiltgrass infestations are superb habitat for wolf spiders and wolf spiders are super predators and they love to eat young toads.  So more stiltgrass = more wolf spiders = less toads.  A press release published in Science Daily (LINK) elaborates:

Spiders are incredible predators, Maerz explained, and they eat everything -- even other spiders. That typically keeps spider populations in check, Maerz said, but Japanese stiltgrass is "kind of like a tall shag carpet," and it provides the cannibalistic spiders refuge from one another. The accumulation of large, predatory spiders in these invaded habitats then results in higher mortality for small toads that have recently emerged from wetlands... spider densities were 33 percent higher and toad survival decreased by 65 percent... with the presence of stiltgrass. The presence of stiltgrass alone, in the absence of spiders, did not affect toad survival.  "Spiders are actually tremendously important and incredibly abundant predators on the forest floor, and they will eat many of the small species that live there, so this effect is unlikely to only influence toads,"

This research made the cover of the journal Ecology and for good reason!  Just to notice and speculate about this type of interaction is impressive enough, but then to design a study that teases out other impacts and clearly demonstrates this important impact and result from invasion is admirable. 

The citation for the research is:

Jayna L. DeVore, John C. Maerz. Grass invasion increases top-down pressure on an amphibian via structurally mediated effects on an intraguild predator. Ecology, 2014; 95 (7): 1724

Amphibians, as a suite of species, are in global decline. This trend holds true here in Illinois as well. Water pollution, climate change, and habitat loss are all contributing to this decline and now we are starting to understand that invasive plants not only impact forage availablity for wildlife but, in addition, can cause much more complex changes to invaded areas that are not as easy to understand or mitigate.  We need more research like this.  We need to understand these impacts, just to allow us to be able to prioritize our control efforts and develop practices and protocols to better manage our native wildlife.