Shade Tree Session Highlights

Here are some highlights of the sessions we have lined up for 2019. The full schedule will be available by mid-February.

General Sessions

John Ball

When Plants Go Bad: the Toxicology of Trees

John Ball, South Dakota State University

We tend to look at trees and other plants as benign, peaceful and passive.  But they also have a dark side and can cause serious harm to the unsuspecting arborist who dares touch them or inhale their dust. This session will cover the toxicology of trees.
A Fun Fact about John: He raises dairy goats.

Brian Kane

Managing Tree Risk AND Wildlife Habitat

Brian Kane, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Arborists and urban foresters regularly manage tree risk through arboricultural practice (pruning, cabling, removal). Should you also consider wildlife—and how?

A Fun Fact about Brian: Brian has been a passionate birder, traveling the world in search of “life birds,” for 20 years.


Elizabeth Maloney

Understanding and Preventing Lyme and other Tick-Borne Diseases

Elizabeth Maloney, Partnership for Tick-Borne Diseases Education

This presentation provides an overview of Lyme disease, details about black-legged ticks (the vectors of Lyme disease) and effective strategies for preventing Lyme and other tick-borne infections.

A Fun Fact about Elizabeth: Elizabeth lived in Guam for three years and hiked most of the jungle trails.

Rebecca Montgomery

Nature's Calendar

Rebecca Montgomery, University of Minnesota, Department of Forest Resources

Timing is everything, right? In this talk, I highlight how the timing of seasonal life cycles of plants and animals (aka phenology) offers an ecological calendar that connects people to the world around us, teaches us about climate change and can be used in urban and community forestry.

A Fun Fact about Rebecca: Rebecca used to compete in Hawaiian outrigger canoe racing.

Kathleen Wolf

Healthy Cities and Healthy People: the Importance of Trees

Kathleen Wolf, University of Washington

Nearly 40 years of research shows that urban nature experiences promote human health and wellness. What about trees? A research review has focused on the specific health benefits provided by the urban forest. You’ll learn about the key findings from around the world. Trees are good in so many ways!

A Fun Fact about Kathleen: Kathleen’s first real job was working as the urban forester for the City of Key West, FL—and being young and poor, she lived on a sailboat for three years.

Ronald Zillmer

The Future Workforce of Arboriculture

Ronald Zillmer, Mid-State Technical College

The future workforce of arboriculture should be shaped by the addition of apprenticeship as a training system. The new Arborist Apprenticeship program, developed in Wisconsin and adopted by the Department of Labor as the national apprenticeship model, is a game changer. This training system has the capacity to provide for all employers throughout the United States. A collateral benefit of this system is that it provides skilled trade status to the job title of Arborist. This presentation will explore the training system along with the positive attributes the journey-worker/skilled trade designation can bring to tree care employers in the private and public sectors.

A Fun Fact about Ronald: Pink Floyd

Introductory Concurrents

Amanda Bayer

Nursery Production Systems and Their Impact on Urban Tree Growth and Development

Amanda Bayer, University of Massachusetts Amherst

The impact of common nursery production systems, with a focus on the advantages and disadvantages of each production system on post-production growth and development, will be discussed. Specific post-production impacts such as root architecture, stem girdling roots, tree establishment, irrigation requirements, and nutrient uptake capacity will be considered.

A Fun Fact about Amanda: Mandy has lived in eight different states.

Catherine Bukowski

Community Food Forests: Planning and Designing for Multifunctional Green Infrastructure

Catherine Bukowski, Virginia Tech

Insights on best management practices from visiting 24 community food forests across the country will be discussed in terms of how specific design elements support multifunctional benefits and outcomes such as community engagement, stewardship of green spaces, education, stormwater management, local governance, and the role of urban parks in the local food system.

A Fun Fact about Catherine: In addition to working in the natural resource management field, Catherine has a background and interests in the visual arts and jewelry making.

Understanding Resistance to Tree Planting Among Lower-Income Urban Communities: Evidence from Detroit, Michigan, USA

Christine Carmichael, University of Vermont

This presentation will describe why nearly 25 percent of Detroit, MI, residents eligible for a free street tree from a nonprofit organization submitted a “no-tree request.” Learn how power dynamics and historical experiences with city trees, and city government generally, influenced residents' behaviors. Lessons for other US cities are provided.

A Fun Fact about Christine: Dr. Carmichael was born in Vienna, Austria, and lived near the Vienna Woods until age four; she subsequently spent most of her childhood in the small town of Mason, MI, surrounded by beautiful shade trees.

Shanda DeMorest

Communicating Climate Change Across Disciplines: The Trees Depend on Us

Shanda DeMorest, University of Minnesota School of Nursing

The IPCC gives us 12 years to avert a climate crisis. The natural world depends on humans to un-muck what we mucked up in the first place. Mitigating climate change is complicated—but talking about it is tougher. Learn communication techniques applicable across disciplines to address the global impacts of climate change.

A Fun Fact about Shanda: She has a collection of over 500 four leaf clovers!

Chris Edgar

Adapting the National Forest Inventory to Urban Forests

Chris Edgar, University of Minnesota

The national forest inventory of the United States recently expanded its focus beyond forest land to fully include urban areas. I’ll review the Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis Program including information on program objectives, data collection, connection with iTree-Eco, data delivery via web applications, and implementation in Minnesota.

A Fun Fact about Chris: He’s had the opportunity to practice his profession in a variety of places and forests, from longleaf pine savannas in the Southeast, aspen in the Lake States, redwoods of California, pinyon-juniper woodlands of the Southwest, and urban forests in Texas cities.

Maintaining Mature and Veteran Trees from a Climber’s Perspective

Nick Grebe, Climbing Arborist

This will present a case-by-case look at several mature and veteran trees with varying conditions and locations requiring a climbing arborist’s intervention to preserve them. This will include the pruning techniques, support systems, and climbing techniques used.

A Fun Fact about Nick: Nick was one of the climbers to update the support systems in the St. Croix elm.

Mary Hammes

Plant for the Future: Forestry in the Mississippi River's National Park

Mary Hammes, Mississippi Park Connection

We will lose 500,000 ash trees in natural areas in our park over the next few years. I’ll discuss our initiative to address that loss and some of our considerations and challenges.

A Fun Fact about Mary: Mary is the exact same height and weight as a newborn baby giraffe.


Dave Hanson

Tree Identification Basics: Minnesota Native Trees

Dave Hanson, Minnesota Department of Transportation

Maybe you are new to the tree care industry or maybe it is time for a refresher. Either way, this session will introduce basic tree identification starting with leaves, twigs, bark, and fruit. Once that is out of the way, there will be a tour of select Minnesota native trees.

A Fun Fact about Dave: Do you know what assembler code is for a large mainframe computer? After 18 years as a programmer on large mainframe computers, Dave does!

August Hoppe

Separate Your Business from the Pack with Innovative and Sustainable Practices

August Hoppe, Hoppe Tree Service and The Urban Wood Lab

August Hoppe has led and managed Hoppe Tree Service since 2001. His Milwaukee-based firm started with three individuals and now has 48 employees on staff. Hoppe Tree Service has used innovation to fuel its growth. Examples include urban wood utilization and Arborist Apprenticeship. August Hoppe will discuss ways a business can differentiate itself and create durable, sustainable growth.

A Fun Fact about August: August Hoppe is a third-generation arborist who started climbing trees on job sites at the young age of 15.

August Hoppe

The Public and Private Urban Wood Story

August Hoppe, Hoppe Tree Service and The Urban Wood Lab

Urban wood utilization in growing in both the public and private sectors. Dan Coy and August Hoppe both come to urban wood movement from different perspectives. They will share their individual urban wood stories and discuss effective ways private companies and municipalities can successfully build urban wood utilization into their operations.

A Fun Fact about August: August Hoppe is a third-generation arborist who started climbing trees on job sites at the young age of 15.

Annie Klodd

Growing and Maintaining Apple Trees in Minnesota

Annie Klodd, University of Minnesota

This session will walk through the steps to growing healthy and productive apple trees in the upper Midwest, with an emphasis on pruning and shaping the tree. We will also go beyond Honeycrisp to explore some great but lesser-known varieties for our area.

A Fun Fact about Annie: Annie grew up on a vineyard in central Iowa. Her family has been growing cold-hardy grapes for 22 years.

Doing More with Less: Mitigating Deicing Impact on Vegetation

Meri Lillia Mullins, Field Engineer

In this session, we will discuss various products and best management practices to "do more with less" when it comes to deicing. Ultimately with more efficient products and fine-tuned best practices, we can reduce overall costs and the impact on the environment.

A Fun Fact about Meri: Meri lives on a small goat ranch in Longmont, CO, where she cares for 30+ Boer goats, some chickens, a few livestock dogs, and a couple of horses.

Eric North

Tree Structure and Formation

Eric North, University of Nebraska−Lincoln

Explore the basics of tree biology from the roots to the upper canopy. Learn how trees do what they do to survive in urban environments. A great introduction for new arborists and students or a review for the more practiced hand.

A Fun Fact about Eric: Eric recently taught a study abroad course in Botswana, where he avoided death by lion and measured a lot of baobabs.

Brian Schwingle

Bloody Aspens, Wimpy Bur Oaks, and Other Interesting Tree Health Problems from 2018

Brian Schwingle, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Come to this presentation to beef up or maintain your tree pest identification skills and to be aware of general forest health trends. Noteworthy insects and diseases that afflicted trees in 2018 across Minnesota will be described.

A Fun Fact about Brian: Brian dropped out of preschool: he just couldn’t hack it.

Lydia Scott

Engaging Private Landowners and Volunteers to Support Urban Forestry

Lydia Scott, The Morton Arboretum

Resources are often in short supply for urban forestry—especially in under-resourced communities. A community’s best and most underutilized asset is its residents. The Chicago Region Trees Initiative is working with decision makers, staff, and residents to change this. Learning opportunities on successes and failures will be presented.

A Fun Fact about Lydia: Lydia has a miniature arboretum on her property because she can’t decide which species of trees she likes best!

Kathleen Wolf

The Evolution of Cities: From Sanitary to Sustainable

Kathleen Wolf, University of Washington

Gray infrastructure emerged because of filthy city conditions. People were sick and unhappy, and they died young. Engineering practices provided solutions for clean air and water. Now green infrastructure innovations are needed to achieve healthy cities. This talk will share examples of design for human health and wellness, focusing on stormwater management.

A Fun Fact about Kathleen: Kathleen’s first real job was working as the urban forester for the City of Key West, FL—and being young and poor, she lived on a sailboat for three years.

Technical Concurrents

John Ball

The Natural Tree Growing in an Unnatural Environment: Welcome to the Urban Forest

John Ball, South Dakota State University

Trees did not evolve in town, but in the forest that has shaped their growth for millennia. What happens when you move the tree to the urban “forest”? This session will cover the many stresses that city life has imposed on trees and what we can do to help them thrive in this unnatural place.

A Fun Fact about John: He raises dairy goats.

Taming the Unruly Teenage Tree

Doug Courneya, Courneya Horticulture

Thirty years ago, Doug’s woody plant professor taught him that pruning is 50 percent art and 50 percent science. Indeed pruning is art and science but the degree of each varies with the job. Learn how to prune neglected teenage trees, how to sell it, and why to include it in your repertoire.

A Fun Fact about Doug: He specializes in structural pruning techniques.

Linda Chalker-Scott

Helpful or Hindering? Dissecting Three Popular Landscape Practices

Linda Chalker-Scott, Washington State University

Sometimes it’s just tough to know whether a popular practice is effective, harmful, or just a waste of time and resources. As with so many questions, the answer is often “it depends.” With this in mind, we’ll discuss applying mulch, disinfecting pruning tools, and using botanical pesticides.

A Fun Fact about Linda: She manages a small (like, six) herd of free-range Black Angus on her family farm.

Kelly Fite

Five Reasons Your Trees Are Failing

Kelby Fite, Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories

There are probably thousands of reasons why urban trees fail, but this presentation will focus on a few of the most common biotic and abiotic reasons. Some of these are easily preventable, while others take more work.

A Fun Fact about Kelby: He is a Disney parks nerd and actually enjoys vacationing there.

Dan Herms

As the Climate Warms, Trees Feel the Heat: Implications of Global Warming for Arboriculture

Dan Herms, The Davey Tree Expert Company

Earth has warmed sharply in recent years with impacts on tree growth and physiology, species range, pest pressure, and plant health care practices. This presentation will explore the implications of ongoing climate change for arboriculture and urban forestry, as well as the potential for urban forests to mitigate climate change.

A Fun Fact about Dan: Dan and his wife, Cathy, are avid scuba divers.

Ken Honl

Diagnostic Process for Oak Conditions

Kent Honl, Rainbow Treecare

Oak trees can harbor a range of insect and disease conditions, often with more than one occurring at the same time. It can be confusing and intimidating, trying to reach an accurate diagnosis when dealing with high-value oak trees. We will look at how to distinguish the major conditions of oak trees in the Upper Midwest and describe a systematic process to follow when doing diagnostics on oaks.

A Fun Fact about Kent: Kent once appeared as Smokey Bear at the 1988 Fisherman’s Picnic in Grand Marais, MN.

Kathleen Knight

Emerald Ash Borer: What You Need to Know about Ash Mortality, Tree Failure, and Resistant Trees

Kathleen Knight, USDA Forest Service

What is the future of ash? A decade of data from Ohio shows the progression of ash mortality and tree failure. Survivor ash trees are being studied in forests and tested and bred for resistance to EAB. Use the latest information to plan an integrated pest management strategy for EAB.

A Fun Fact about Kathleen: It’s great to visit Minnesota! Kathleen got her PhD working with Dr. Peter Reich at the University of Minnesota, studying the invasive species buckthorn in Minnesota and black cherry in Poland.

Fredric Miller

What Do We Mean by Host Plant Resistance and How Can We use It in a PHC program?

Fredric Miller, Joliet Junior College

So, what do we really mean by host plant resistance (HPR)? In this presentation, we will define what we mean by HPR, provide an overview of HPR mechanisms, present research results from selected HPR studies, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of HPR, and provide suggestions on how we can integrate HPR into a comprehensive Plant Health Care (PHC) system.

A Fun Fact about Fredric: Fredric began collecting insects as a hobby at the age of 12 which lead to a lifelong career.

Fred Rozumalski

Landscape and Planting Design for our Changing Climate

Fred Rozumalski, Barr Engineering Company

Data is showing that our climate is changing. Winters are shorter, storms are more intense, and winds are increasing. This is challenging for the plants in our landscapes. Learn in this session how our design decisions, plant choices, and soil management techniques must evolve as our climate shifts.

A Fun Fact about Fred: Fred is also a permaculture instructor, and he designs homesteads that supply our basic needs; food, fuel, fodder, pharmaceuticals, and fun.

Glen Stanosz

Spots, Casts, Blights, and Other Frights: Common Plagues of Pine

Glen Stanosz, University of Wisconsin-Madison

From needles and shoots to butts and roots, invading and proliferating pathogens threaten the health and beauty of pines in our forests and landscapes. Learn the symptoms and signs of common pine diseases and the appropriate strategies and tactics to prevent or minimize their impacts.

A Fun Fact about Glen: Glen had a “real job” before becoming a professor!

Al Zelaya

New i-Tree Innovations

Al Zelaya, Davey Institute, The Davey Tree Expert Company

The latest innovations included in the i-Tree 2019 suite of community tree and forest assessment tools can help communities better understand spatial relationships between trees and people in order to protect humans and promote equitable distribution of benefits. Learn about the latest innovations in the free Forest Service toolkit.

A Fun Fact about Al: Al is an alumnus of Minnesota’s Voyageur Outward Bound School in Ely where he first learned dogsledding and winter expedition skills.