Shake snow from branches to prevent long-term damage, say UW Extension educators

UW Extension horticulture specialist Karen Panter in Laramie visits with Fremont County Master Gardeners via Zoom during today’s snowstorm hitting the state.

Prevent long-term damage to trees from sticky spring storms by shaking branches and dislodging the heavy snow, said a University of Wyoming Extension horticulture educator.

Many trees have already begun or are leafed out.

“All of the weight from late spring snows is usually heavy and tears branches from trees, there is so much surface area from the leaves to hold the snow,” said Donna Hoffman, based in Casper.

The storm this morning was dumping large amounts of heavy, wet snow in many areas of the state, with southern and eastern Wyoming receiving the initial brunt of the storm today. More is expected through Friday.

Hoffman recommended shaking branches or the trunks of young trees with a long broom, being careful not to scrape the bark.

Tears to bark when limbs break from the trunk leave long-time scars.
“The vascular tissue is right below the bark, and if the vascular tissue is removed, parts of the tree are unable to get water or nutrients,” said Hoffman. “Tears to bark affect trees for a long time.”

There is probably not much that can be done for larger, older trees with more structure, she said.

Trees in parts of Wyoming received extensive damage from storms in 2013, particularly Casper. For those facing broken branches, proper tree pruning is needed. Hoffman said UW Extension offices have information describing how to care for damaged trees.

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Agricultural society honors UW scientist for research efforts

Sadanand Dhekney at the Sheridan Research and Extension Center modifies and uses existing DNA sequences in grape plants to obtain desirable characteristics. Nothing new is added.

A scientist at the Sheridan Research and Extension Center who uses precision breeding to improve grape varieties and vineyard management has been recognized by the national honor society of agriculture.

Sadanand Dhekney received a Faculty Award of Merit from the Wyoming chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta during the organization’s award ceremony in April at the Laramie campus of the University of Wyoming.

Dhekney is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and also teaches at Sheridan College. He uses techniques in breeding and biotechnology, along with improved management practices, for expanding grapevine production in Wyoming.

Old technology inserts transgenic DNA sequences into plants to modify crops, such as making them herbicide-resistant.

“The next generation has nothing to do with inserting transgenes in plants,” said Dhekney, who has had six researchers from other countries request to work in his laboratory and learn the techniques. “The existing DNA sequences from plants and their wild relatives are modified and utilized. Nothing new is added.”

The Sheridan center is part of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station based in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Dhekney joined UW in 2012.

Buffalo workshop focuses on producer prevention of food-borne pathogens

Water quality and testing and post-harvest produce handling are among topics at a good agricultural practices (GAP) workshop in Buffalo June 2-3.

Creating a food safety plan and soil and manure management are other focuses, said Blake Hauptman, University of Wyoming Extension educator. He said the workshop is for small, medium and large-scale producers to help protect customers from food-borne illnesses.

Sessions are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. both days at the Hampton Inn and Suites.

The workshop will provide details and information on farm audits for producers considering becoming certified in good agricultural practices and food safety.

GAP and good handling practices are voluntary audits through the USDA that verify fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards.

Cost of attendance is $25 and includes lunch both days. Hauptman encouraged pre-registration to ensure lunch and a copy of the workbook.

Register at Hauptman said scholarships are available from the Powder River Basin Resource Council to cover registration fees. Apply at and follow directions.

For more information, contact Megan Taylor with the Powder River Basin Resource Council at 307-683-7761 or; extension educator Hannah Johnson at 307-682-7281, or; or Hauptman at 307-283-1192 or

This workshop is funded by the Wyoming Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Grant program and is being co-sponsored by UW Extension and the Powder River Basin Resource Council.

Casper hosts Central Wyoming Tree Care workshop May 26

Emerald ash borer, young and mature tree pruning, tree planting, tree care and urban forest diversity are among topics at the Central Wyoming Tree Care workshop in Casper Friday, May 26.

Sessions are 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Agricultural Resources and Learning Center building, 2011 Fairgrounds Rd., said Donna Hoffman, University of Wyoming Extension horticulture educator in Natrona County.

“Regional and local experts will provide educational presentations and demonstrations of proper techniques and methods for tree care,” she said.

The event is open to the public, and Hoffman encouraged local arborists, nursery workers, homeowners and tree enthusiasts to attend.

Hoffman said workshop goals are to promote sustainable urban and community forestry and improve neighborhood green spaces by training community residents and local professionals to properly install and maintain private and community trees.

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UW Extension bulletin examines conservation market exchanges

Agricultural economists at the University of Wyoming explain conservation market exchanges in a bulletin from the University of Wyoming Extension.

“Designing Markets for Habitat Conservation: Lessons Learned from Agricultural Markets Research,” B-1297, shows the importance of thinking about market design when setting up a habitat exchange or bank. The rules of trading can affect market outcomes for buyers and sellers, the authors state in the bulletin.

A growing number of programs provide financial incentives to landowners to implement conservation. Conservation banks and exchanges protect land for habitat and other natural resource values to offset habitat loss elsewhere.

Landowners generate credits by enrolling acres or parcels of land that have habitat value with agreements to preserve and manage the land.

The bulletin can be viewed or downloaded by going to and typing the title or B-1297. PDF, HTML or ePub versions are available.