Extension Publications

Buffer Strip Design, Establishment and Maintenance -- Stewards of Our Streams
This publication discusses how to design, plant, and maintain a multi-species buffer strip, which is an important part of river ecosystems.
Choosing an Arborist
Tree work should be performed only by a properly trained and equipped arborist. Considerations in choosing an arborist include certification, insurance, references, contracts, etc.
Common Problems of Ash Trees
Many ash tree problems can be mistaken for emerald ash borer infestation. Before removal or needlessly treating with pesticides, use this diagnostic guide to distinguish emerald ash borer injury from other common problems of ash.
Community Tree Planting and Care Guide
Trees provide many benefits to communities such as improved air quality, wildlife habitat and reduced energy consumption during the summer and winter. This publication discusses proper techniques for selecting, planting and caring for trees.
Conifer Species for Iowa -- Community Trees
With their ever-present foliage, conifers make excellent screens, windbreaks, and hedges and provide year-round visual interest. The included list of recommended conifers is a guide for homeowners and landscape professionals.
Considerations for Prescribed Burning: Ignition Techniques
When initiating a prescribed fire, it is important to determine the type of ignition pattern, or combination of patterns prior to the burn. Making this determination depends on several factors: burning objectives, fuel characteristics, pre- and post-burn weather, smoke management, manpower and equipment availability, and adjacent fuels.
Considerations for Prescribed Burning: Timing a Prescribed Burn
Prescribed fire is a tool utilized under very specific and predetermined conditions to manipulate the environment and achieve a desired outcome. Fires helped to control unwanted pests, and to increase safety around the living areas by increasing the visibility. Learning from the past, land stewards now use prescribed fire in forests to manage vegetation, improve wildlife habitat, and control pest problems.
Considerations for Prescribed Burning: Tools & Safety Gear
Prescribed fire is one of a suite of tools used to manage landscapes to achieve specific management goals. Safety in using prescribed fire is of utmost importance. To conduct a safe and effective prescribed fire requires not only a burn plan and clear lines of communication, but also the right equipment and a crew who know how to safely use that equipment and employ the correct firing techniques.
Consulting Arborists Provide Service in Iowa
Arborists specialize in the management and care of individual trees. This publication provides a list of arborist vendors certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), along with their contact information.
Developing a Prescribed Fire Burn Plan: Elements & Considerations
Burn plans are a critical component of any prescribed burn. The purpose of a burn plan is to provide a description of the burn area, target weather conditions, hazards that may be encountered, personnel needs and safety and contacts to make prior to burning. This publication includes a burn plan template and explains the importance and purpose of each section of the template.
Emerald Ash Borer Management Options
Homeowners and commercial pesticide applicators will find control measures to consider in preventing and treating the infestation of ash trees by the emerald ash borer. Includes product recommendations and evaluation of insecticide effectiveness.
Establishing a Community Tree Program - Community Trees
This publication is intended to help cities and towns develop and administer a community tree program. Because communities are unique, the program should be tailored specifically for each community.
Fire in Grazing Management: Patch-Burn Grazing
Fire is a critical natural process necessary for maintaining ecosystems around the world, providing a means for renewal, regrowth and maintenance of habitats. In grassland and savanna ecosystems, fire plays an important role by limiting encroachment of wood species and cycling nutrients; however, in nearly all grassland and savanna habitats fire was not the only process at work. Historically, fire was closely coupled with grazing – namely by large mammals.
Forests - Iowa's Nature Series
The forests of a prairie state like Iowa are unique refugia of biological diversity and important ecological and economical function. This article explores Iowa's forest ecosystems and the critical roles they play in our environment, economy, and quality of life.
Iowa's Forest Birds
Iowa’s forests play host to a spectacular diversity of birds throughout the year. This article explores this diversity, describing how birds feed, nest, and move within and among many different types of forests found in Iowa. The management of forest habitats for birds is explored with recommendations for making the most of any forest parcel for birds and the people that enjoy them.
Managing Storm-Damaged Trees - Sustainable Urban Landscapes
Here are pruning tips for do-it-yourselfers or hiring hints if you bring in a professional.
Oak Wilt - Identification and Management - Sustainable Urban Landscapes
Oak wilt, the most damaging disease of oak trees in lowa, has killed many forest and landscape oaks in the eastern and central United States. Oak wilt has not devastated its host species, however, mainly because its spread from diseased to healthy trees has been relatively slow and sporadic. Nevertheless, local outbreaks of oak wilt can kill or injure many trees. The management practices described in this publication can help minimize the risk of losing oaks to this disease.
Power Lines and Trees -- Community Trees
To assure safe and reliable electric service, trimming or removing trees near power lines is sometimes necessary. Included are descriptions of proper tree pruning methods to discuss with a qualified arborist.
Properties and Uses of Iowa Hardwoods
Using native hardwoods can be cost-effective for Iowa landowners. Learn more about the uses and characteristics of Iowa hardwoods.
Safe Mushroom Foraging
This field guide provides information on mushrooms found throughout Iowa. It provides foragers guidance on the time of year each mushroom is available, its key characteristics, habitat and look-alike mushrooms. There is also information on common mushroom myths and best practices for searching for them in the wild. Full-color photographs also help hunters identify mushrooms they come across.
Shade Trees for Iowa - Ash Alternatives
This publication lists several shade tree selections for the Iowa landscape. It lists trees that might serve as replacements for the ash tree, which is susceptible to the emerald ash borer.
Small-stature Trees for Iowa - Ash Alternatives
This publication lists several small-stature tree selections suitable for the Iowa landscape. These trees listed serve as suitable replacements for ash trees, which are susceptible to the emerald ash borer.
Smoke Management for Prescribed Burning: What to Consider
Managing smoke produced by prescribed fires has, in recent years, become a critical consideration when planning a prescribed fire event. In some situations, planning for smoke management may be more complicated than planning for the prescribed fire itself. Considerations such as human and animal health and safety, air pollution, and reduced visibility must be taken into careful account when planning even a small, routine prescribed burn.
Topping - Tree Care or Tree Abuse? -- Sustainable Urban Landscapes
Since topping trees is harmful, read about alternatives to solve site problems.
Understanding the Effects of Flooding on Trees -- Sustainable Urban Landscapes
Flood-stressed trees show a variety of symptoms and also become candidates for insect and disease damage. Research has found some trees are more tolerant than others.
Windbreaks for Wildlife
Windbreaks provide many benefits to farms such as reducing energy consumption, controlling odor, protecting buildings and livestock from the elements and improving aesthetics. This publication discusses the importance of windbreaks, their design and the best species of trees or shrubs to plant.