Monday, June 23, 2014

Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD), deadly to Black Walnuts, found in Indiana

Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) was recently discovered in Brown County, Indiana.  For a news article on the find go HERE.

Thousand Cankers Disease is a serious threat to Black Walnuts throughout the Eastern United States, including Illinois.  This disease is native to southwestern United States, where it is a minor pest on the native western walnuts, but it is deadly to the Black Walnut, native to the Eastern United States.  This is both a huge ecological and economic threat because of the importance of Black Walnut in our forested ecosystems and its high value as a timber product.

The diease has now been found in seven eastern states.  Surveys in Illinois have not found any Thousand Cankers Disease to date.  Illinois has external quarantines set up to restrict the importation of Black Walnut material from states with TCD.  Please check with the Illinois Department of Agriculture for more details about the quarantines.

The fungus, Geosmithia morbida, typically associates with the Walnut Twig Beetle.  This tiny beetle spreads the fungus from tree to tree.  What is particularly scary about the discovery of the fungus in Indiana is that it was discovered on weevils, making it the first time the fungus was found associated with an insect other than the Walnut Twig Beetle. 

Additional information from Illinois about TCD can be found at: and

Monday, June 16, 2014

Phenology Report for June 16, 2014

From time to time, we will be reporting on the development of invasive plants across Illinois, informing readers about what is in bloom, leafing out, setting seed, senescing in different regions of the state.  Feel free to add to the knowledge by emailing and letting me know what the plants are doing in your area of Illinois.
Phenology Report for June 16, 2014*
(Contributors include Cathy McGlynn, Karla Gage, Marilyn Leger, Eric Smith, Mike Davis, Matt Balk, Paul Bane, David Crady, and Mike Daab)
*Report based upon observations between June 5-16, 2014
Southern Illinois
  • Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata - Second-year plants are senescing, becoming chlorotic; siliques have matured and seeds are hardening. Seeds have not yet begun to dehisce as of June 3. Once this occurs, contact with the plant is not advised because seed are easily spread.
  • Bush honeysuckles, Lonicera maackii and L. morrowii - Amur honeysuckle has passed flowering stage and the fruits are beginning to form, still small. Morrow's honeysuckle has bloomed and now has bright red and orange fruits.
  • Japanese honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica – Japanese honeysuckle is in full flower now.
  • Border privet, Ligustrum obtusifolium - Flowering stage has passed peak and fruits are beginning to form.
  • Purple wintercreeper, Euonymus fortuneii - Plants that have enough available light (high in tree canopies or in open wooded edges) are producing flower buds.
  • Chinese yam, Dioscorea polystachya, syn. D. oppositifolia - Plants are beginning to produce flower buds. The beginning of bulbil production still has not been observed. Plants are climbing rapidly into the tree canopy as new plants continue to emerge from last year's bulbils.
  • Teasel, Dipsacus follonum and D. laciniatus - Teasel is bolting and almost at the stage of flowering. In fact, you could likely find a few plants already in flower
  • Japanese stiltgrass, Microstegium vimineum – Stiltgrass is 4-5 inches tall and getting ready to start its rapid summer growth. Look for it to rapidly increase in height over the next few weeks.
  • Poison hemlock, Conium maculatum – Poison hemlock has been in full flower but many of the flower heads are starting to fade and produce seeds.
 Southeast Illinois
  • Yellow sweet clover, Melilotus officinalis – Yellow sweet clover is in full bloom
  • Crown vetch, Securigera varia – Crown vetch is in full bloom, along with hairy vetch, Vicia villosa
  • Cypress spurge, Euphorbia cyparissias – Cypress spurge is in full bloom
Central Illinois
  • Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata – Plants are starting to have darkened seed pods.
  • Wild parsnip, Pastinaca sativa – Wild parsnip is in full flower right now and we have pulled a few that were passed flowering and had immature seeds.
  • Poison hemlock, Conium maculatum – Poison hemlock is in full bloom but seeds have not been observed yet.
  • Reed canarygrass, Phalaris arundinacea – Some heads starting to produce seed but all are still light and immature, most are flowering, and some are just sending out their flower stalk.
  • Canada thistle, Cirsium arvense – Canada thistle is starting to flower fully now. Bull thistle, Cirsium vulgare, is still low to the ground without much of it shooting up the center stalk yet
  • Japanese honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica – Vines are just starting to flower in a few areas.
  • Crown vetch, Securigera varia – Crown vetch has been flowering for a few weeks now, though there is still time yet before it develops seed.
  • Yellow sweet clover, Melilotus officinalis –Yellow sweet clover is in full flower and some are ending their flowering. Alfalfa and white sweet clover are also beginning to flower out.
  • Cutleaf teasel, Dipsacus laciniatus – Teasel is starting to bolt. Some that were low to the ground just last week, are now 3 to 4 ft tall.
 Northeast Illinois
 Northwest Illinois
  • Yellow sweet clover, Melilotus officinalis – Plants are beginning to flower but seed pods not completely formed yet. White Sweet Clover is not in flower yet but stands at mature height.
  • Multiflora rose, Rosa multiflora – Established plants are beginning to flower. Leaves are fully expanded on newer recruitment.
  • Garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata – Plants have finished flowering and seed pods have fully developed. In drier spots leaves are beginning to senesce.
  • Amur honeysuckle, Lonicera maackii – Plants are beginning to flower in dry uplands and are leaves have fully expanded in wetter areas.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Awards given out for outstanding invasive species work in Illinois

June 2, 2014  Article by Chris Evans,, 618-435-8138

Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month (ISAM) started in May 2010. ISAM is a statewide campaign to increase the public’s awareness and knowledge about invasive species. It provides an opportunity for citizens of Illinois to participate in invasive species awareness events around the state and learn more about what they can do to help fight this threat. This year, over 120 events are being held across the state as part of ISAM.

In 2011, the ISAM committee decided to initiate an awards program to formally recognize and honor outstanding contributions to the prevention, control, and management of invasive species in the state of Illinois. For 2014, The Illinois Invasive Species Awareness Month Committee would like to recognize recipients in five categories: Professional of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Professional Organization of the Year, Business of the Year, and Educator of the Year. Recipients of the 2014 ISAM awards were officially recognized at an awards ceremony in Springfield at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) office. IDNR Office of Resource Conservation Director Jim Herkert was on hand to present the awards. The ceremony was part of the 2014 Illinois Invasive Species Symposium on May 29th, 2014 at the IDNR Office Building in Springfield, IL.

2014 ISAM Award recipients.  From left: Paul Bane, David Crady and Jeff Horn of the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation (accepting the award for Professional Organization of the Year), Gary Knosher of Midwest Groundcovers, LLC (accepting the award for Business of the Year), Marilyn Leger of the East Central Illinois Invasive Plant Taskforce (Volunteer of the Year), Henry Eilers (accepting the award for Susan Shelton for Educator of the Year) and Pat Charlebois of the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (Professional of  the Year)
This year’s recipients are:

Professional of the Year – Pat Charlebois, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Pat is receiving this award for her leadership in aquatic invasive species education, outreach, messaging, and policy throughout the state. Pat’s hard work has contributed significantly to increasing the public’s awareness of aquatic invasive species. Through her efforts, the new “Be a Hero, Transport Zero” campaign is being expanded towards a comprehensive campaign to address all invasive species spread throughout Illinois. In addition, Pat has been instrumental in supporting policy changes, such as the addition of 27 new aquatic plants to the Illinois Injurious Species list.

Professional Organization of the Year – Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation

The Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation is receiving this award for their leadership in invasive species control and natural areas management in northwestern Illinois. Jo Daviess conservation Foundation partnered with other organizations and took on a leadership role in the development, organization and implementation of the Northwest Illinois Invasive Species Strike Team. This team has been responsible for the treatment of over 650 acres of invasive plant populations in natural areas across six northwest Illinois counties.

Volunteer of the Year – Marilyn Leger, East Central Illinois Master Naturalists

Marilyn Leger is receiving this award for her dedication and leadership in invasive species work in east central Illinois and statewide. Marilyn has been a driving force to address invasive species in east central Illinois. Through the local chapter of the Master Naturalists, Marilyn founded and co-chaired the East Central Invasive Plant Task Force. Under her leadership, this task force has organized trainings, published invasive plant educational material and created the ‘Great Garlic Mustard Hunt.’ In addition, Marilyn has been heavily involved in the Illinois Invasive Plant Species Council and has been instrumental in the assessment of plant species

Business of the Year – Midwest Groundcovers, LLC

Midwest Ground Covers, LLC is receiving this award for their leadership in developing the relationship between green industry and conservation. Both Gary Knosher, President and CEO, and Trish Beckjord, Sales Consultant/Native Plant and Green Infrastructure Specialist, have served on board and committees with regional, state, and local organizations that address invasive species. Midwest Groundcovers, LLC’s willingness to work hard to keep the dialogue on invasive species and the green industry open and productive is invaluable to Illinois.

Educator of the Year – Susan Shelton, Litchfield High School

Susan Shelton is receiving this award for her leadership in invasive species education at Litchfield High School. Susan, for the last eight years, has guided her students to volunteers to control invasive plant species. Her classes have assisted the Shoal Creek Volunteers and the Montgomery County Natural Area Guardians to manage local natural areas and remove invasive species. Her efforts have led to over 2,400 volunteer hours contributed to remove invasive species. In addition to the on-the-ground benefits, Susan’s work has guided and taught students to importance of natural areas and management.

Monday, June 2, 2014

New Webinar - Fading Forests: Protecting America’s Trees from Non-native Pests and Diseases

The Environmental Law Institute and the National Invasive Species Council are co-sponsoring a webinar on June 12th, from 1-3c.  The title is Fading Forests: Protecting America’s Trees from Non-native Pests and Diseases.

To register:

Americans count on trees and forests to provide shade and shelter, jobs and products, and clean air and water, both today and for generations to come. However, non-native insects and diseases are destroying North American trees and forests. In some cases, entire species of trees are being removed from our forests and neighborhoods, causing economic and environmental costs and reduced quality of life in our communities. In this webinar, the authors of Fading Forests III: American Forests: What Choice Will We Make? will present policy and management options that can protect our trees and forests, followed by comments by a panel of experts from government, industry, and non-governmental organizations.
·        Dr. Scott Schlarbaum, Professor, University of Tennessee
·        Dr. Faith Campbell, Senior Policy Representative, The Nature Conservancy
·        Dr. Richard Sniezko, Center Geneticist, Dorena Genetic Resource Center, U.S. Forest Service
·        TBD, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
·        Dr. David Rizzo, Professor, University of California at Davis
·        TBD, Industry
·        Read Porter (moderator), Senior Attorney, Director of Invasive Species Program, Environmental Law Institute