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    Trees of Eastern North America
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    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

    Conifers for Urban and Community Forests: The Good, the Bad, and the Underused


    Evergreen and deciduous conifers are an often over-looked component of urban and community forests. If selected properly, conifers can add species diversity, vertical structure, and a wide array of ecosystem services in urban and suburban landscapes. Unfortunately, a handful of landscape conifer species—including Colorado blue spruce, Austrian pine, and Scotch pine—have been widely overplanted in much of the United States and suffer from a myriad of pest problems. In this presentation, we will discuss conifers that have become problematic. We also will present a series of alternative conifer selections, including many that are well suited to a range of sites, yet are underused in most landscapes.

    Conference Proceedings Documents


    Dr. Bert Cregg (Ph.D., Forest Resources, University of Georgia) is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Horticulture and the Department of Forestry at Michigan State University.  Dr. Cregg conducts research and extension programs on management and physiology of trees in landscapes, nurseries, and Christmas tree production.  He has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals and is a frequent contributor to professional trade publications including the Great Lake Christmas Tree Journal, and the Michigan Landscape.  Dr. Cregg is a co-founder of "the Garden Professors" blog, which engages hundreds of readers daily on the science of tree care and landscape horticulture; visit them at:

    This presentation is co-authored with John M. Ruter, University of Georgia Department of Horticulture. Dr. Ruter’s research and extension activities are focused on nursery crop production in the southeastern United States, and he has been in charge of the development of the Coastal Plain Research Arboretum since 1991. He is an adviser for the native plant community-based landscape at the National Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory, and he has published over 300 scientific and popular articles. Among Dr. Ruter's awards and honors are the “Award of Merit” given by the Garden Club of Georgia, Inc., for his work in preserving and promoting native plants. In 2000, he received the D.W. Brooks Faculty Award for Excellence in Research given by the University of Georgia. Dr. Ruter received the 2002 Distinguished Achievement Award for Nursery Crops given by the American Society for Horticultural Science as well as the William F. Kosar Award from the Holly Society of America. He is co-author (with Tom Cox) of Landscaping with Conifers and Ginkgo for the Southeast.

    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

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