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    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

    The Practical Science of Planting Trees


    Many trees planted in urban landscapes fail prematurely or struggle to survive because of improper or out-of-date planting procedures, despite the ever growing body of research available that can be utilized to plant trees that will last a lifetime.  Improper planting has a profound effect on tree survival, health, and longevity. Up to 50% loss of trees within the five years of planting is not uncommon. The half-life of street trees in general ranged from 13–19 years. Lack of tree establishment leading to drought stress was found to be the most frequent cause of death.

    Planting is not just the 20 minutes it takes to get the roots in the ground.  That approach on a difficult site can be a recipe for failure.  Installing the root ball is only one step in a multi-step best management practice designed to produce long-lived trees.  This half-day Tree Academy workshop will present planting as a step-by-step process through illustrated lecture presentations, videos and demonstrations. 


    1.        Evaluate the limitations of the site

    2.        Make site Improvements

    3.        Select a species compatible with site conditions

    4.        Recognize seasonal limitations

    5.        Select quality nursery stock of the appropriate production method

    6.        Prevent damage during transport , handling and storage

    7.        Install the root ball

    8.        Support, train and protect the new tree

    9.        Design a care program for the initial establishment (guarantee) period

    10.    Continue care at an adjusted level until the root system is completely established


    Since the location will be downtown, planting demonstrations will be included via videos and indoor demonstrations.  Existing plantings surrounding the convention center will be utilized to evaluate tree response to planting site designs.


    Gary Watson joined the Morton Arboretum in 1986 and is currently a Senior Research Scientist and Head of Research.   His primary research interest is in understanding how to maintain a healthy balance between the crown and the root system of trees on difficult landscape sites.  Gary is also Editor-in-Chief or Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, organizer of The Landscape Below Ground Conferences and Editor of the Conference Proceedings, and author of The Practical Science of Planting Trees.

    Climbers' CornerTree Academy

    ©International Society of Arboriculture 2009-2018
    PO Box 3129 • Champaign, IL 61826, USA • +1.217.355.9411

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