Insightful Sessions at the ISA Annual Conference

Bartlett booth at the  Annual Conference and Trade Show in Milwaukee, 2014

Bartlett’s booth at the ISA Conference, a place to network, learn about the company, and exchange ideas.

This past August I had the opportunity to attend the International Society of Arboriculture annual conference in Milwaukee, WI. This is one of the few times throughout the year where you gather with other like-minded folk who have a passion for trees. There were a few sessions I attended during the conference that I thought were insightful and informative.

Dr. Michael Joseph Raupp from the University of Maryland had a great presentation on the non-target effects of insecticides. In recent years there has been a lot of discussion and research around neonicotinoid insecticides used in urban landscapes and their impact on beneficial insects. Continue reading

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TCIA’s Plant Health Care Training Manual

A great reference book for anyone involved in plant health care is Plant Health Care Technician – Home Study 2 published by the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). The book is geared toward those training to be a plant health care specialist, but it can also be used as a reference for anyone wanting to learn more about the unique services involved in a plant health care program. There are ten chapters included in the book: Introduction to PHC, tree biology, monitoring, diagnosis, disease management, tree parts affected, pesticide application, construction injuries, abiotic disorders, and soil management. Let’s discuss why this book is a great reference and what other topics could be included for future editions. Continue reading

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Just an [extra]ordinary day

summer grass abelia

Nature never disappoints if our eyes and hearts are open to taking it in. It’s an unusually mild morning for us in the South considering the fact that it is near the end of August. The sun is shining beautifully, but there’s a most wonderful and welcome lack of humidity in the air at the moment. As I was headed to our research greenhouse, I was taken by the backdrop of the Carolina blue sky and the sunlight hitting the inflorescence of the ornamental grasses and abelia blossoms that lined my walk. A myriad of different pollinators were out and about doing their day’s work. Continue reading

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Using the Tree Doctor App in Everyday Arboriculture

In the August 2014 issue of Arborist News, the article “Tree Problems? There’s an App for That!” features the Purdue Tree Doctor app. As someone who lives and breathes arboriculture, I instantly downloaded the app and began using it on my iPhone. I spend 8 to 10 hours a day looking at trees and shrubs in the urban landscape. Throughout the day, I typically see trees and shrubs that have a problem, but I am not entirely sure of the cause. With the app on my iPhone, I could instantly have a quick reference for tree problems I was unsure of.

I found the app to be a great resource for trees in the urban landscape. There is good detail on individual tree species with insect, disease, and abiotic problems listed. What I especially like about the app is its emphasis on the cultural and abiotic problems that are common to the particular species. For example, Bald-cypress in the app (a species I am currently trying to restore plant health) gives management suggestions for drought, decline, leaf scorch, and soil compaction. The app gives information on how the damage occurs, the stages of the problem, and control measures that could be taken to alleviate the problem.

A great addition to the Tree Doctor would be shrubs and other common small landscape plants. Azalea, rhododendron, cherry laurel, hydrangea, boxwood, and Japanese holly are some examples of very common plants found in the urban landscape that are not included in the app. Many plants I make applications to in the landscape are small ornamental shrubs and plants less than 25 feet in height. Having insect, disease, and cultural knowledge of these shrubs is critical to my success for plant health.

Another limitation is that the app needs to be refreshed often in order to access all the plant problems of a particular species. I have had to close the app and reopen it in order to access information. Maybe I need to reinstall the app, but this has been a frequent problem since I have been using the app.

There are a few plant problems where the Tree Doctor does not recommend a treatment For example, the Tree Doctor says there is not a product available for cytospora canker disease on spruce trees. Based on recommendations from the Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories, I have made applications for cytospora canker disease on spruce trees and have had success with plant health.  With this in mind, remember that the Tree Doctor is a support tool and should be combined with practical arboricultural knowledge when making treatment decisions.

Overall, The Tree Doctor app is a good tool for working with trees. Arborists in the field may find some limitations with app performance, species listed and control recommendations.

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Girls Rock!

Just another day at the labPlease don’t misunderstand the title – guys rock too – but working in a field that is dominated by the male of the species, there are few times when I am able to experience what I did earlier this morning.

As a research technician, you will often find me out on the fringes of the Bartlett Tree Research Lab and Arboretum where many of our research plots reside. This morning was one of those times. As I was gathering data and photographing the trees involved in this trial, one of my fellow research technicians drove by on her way to one of the research plots she’s responsible for. Then a moment later, our head diagnostician came along on her way to photograph and document yet another research trial. Three separate research trials. Three women in the field of arboriculture.

So what’s so special about this? Why write about it or give it a moment’s thought? Because it was a lovely moment; in a field dominated by men, here were three independent women doing what they love to do, happily going about their work, trying to make their contribution to the field of arboriculture in their own way. And that was worth noting to me this beautiful morning.

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