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Avoiding Tree Damage During Construction brochure
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Overview of ISA History

Trees possess majestic beauty. They symbolize strength and endurance. Our reverence and affection for trees predates written history. But while our appreciation for trees is ageless, our knowledge required for their proper care has been more limited.

By the late 1800s, plant care had become an established and rapidly growing profession. During that same era, expanding industrialization and urbanization were adding new stresses to trees and the detrimental effects were becoming apparent.

Unfortunately, scientific understanding of plant dysfunction and reliable information about plant care were scarce.

The turn of the century saw red flags being raised by many of the more aggressive plant care people. Some began their own research efforts and some lectured to local audiences. But each of them realized it simply wasn’t enough. In 1901, John Davey, founder of the Davey Tree Expert Company, wrote The Tree Doctor. In the book’s introduction, Mr. Davey observed:

The time has come when tree planting and tree culture must be studied in connection with the physiology of plant life. If this is not done, a calamity will befall the inhabitants of these fruitful regions to an extent that no human mind can conceive.

Other plant care practitioners across North America and Europe were expressing similar sentiments.

It was not until 1924, however, that members of the Connecticut Tree Protective Association convened a meeting that would plant the seed of the organization that would ultimately revolutionize the tree care industry. It was this gathering that was to become the first of 75 annual conferences of the organization that has evolved into today’s International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). The history of modern arboriculture is largely the story of the development of ISA in the 20th century. And while such a history is not exclusively that of ISA and its predecessor organizations, there is little of significance in arboriculture that is not reflected in its publications since its inception in 1924.

To Learn More

To read a more complete history of ISA, download the Memory Lane brochure, which outlines our advancements within each decade.

You might also enjoy one of our DVDs, called The Legends of Arboriculture. This video provides an insightful historical record of arboriculture through the eyes of those who experienced it first-hand. You can purchase this video through the ISA Web Store.

©International Society of Arboriculture 2009-2017
PO Box 3129 • Champaign, IL 61826, USA • +1.217.355.9411

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