Ask the Expert

Wisconsin State Farmer
Birds of prey of many kinds are often spotted along Wisconsin roads and highways, including the breathtaking Snowy Owl.

Q: In my pine trees, I've noticed this winter a huge mass of pine needles, some kind of nest. Do you know what this is?

A: This sounds like the drey of a red squirrel to me. Red squirrels typically use pine needles in creating these "nests" for the winter season.

Q: Have the snowy owls returned it to Wisconsin yet?

A: Snowy owls have been reported in a number of spots, though not in the numbers they have been present in during previous winter seasons. Populations are cyclical and every few years, snowy owl sightings are scarce in our area.

Q: When should I prune my lilacs?

A: The best time to prune lilacs is just after they flower in the spring. The same is true for all spring blooming woody shrubs.

Q: What are some good sources for hostas online?

A: My favorites include Land of the Giants Hosta Farm, located here in Wisconsin in Milton (, Naylor Creek ( and New Hampshire Hostas (