Lightning Round 1: Monday, April 8, 12:45–2:15 pm
The ROI of Healthy Urban Trees.
Matthew Werle, GreenBlue Urban
The inclusion of trees on urban landscape plans often comes down to dollars and cents – with the value of trees usually being unproportionately considered. Mature trees in urban areas provide significant environmental, social, and economic benefits to our cities – in addition to improving our health and well being in a multitude of ways. However, studies indicate that the number of mature trees in our cities is on the decline. Older, large trees are routinely replaced by small trees planted in suboptimal conditions with insufficient soil volume, irrigation and aeration deficiencies, and no consideration for root management. An urban tree planted in this kind of substandard condition means that many street trees seldom living long enough to reach maturity and provide any meaningful benefits. Not to mention the subsequent costs of infrastructure damage and pavement trip hazards resulted by poor planting. A tree in this situation never provides a return-on-investment since costs increase in time due to associated built infrastructure damage and/or replanting requirements. A tree planted in an engineered tree pit where all the necessary fundamentals are provided for, on the other hand, delivers a return-on-investment that continues to increase over time. The session uses GreenBlue Urban’s 27 years of urban tree experience along with research done in partnership with Treeconomics Ltd to explain the real costs of not investing in trees and the key considerations needed to put a dollar value on healthy urban trees.
Managing Staining Associated with the Black Olive Tree in Florida and the Caribbean.
A.D. Ali, The Davey Tree Expert Co.
Bucida buceras, aka Black Olive, is a widely planted urban tree in Florida and the Caribbean region. Two arthropod pests commonly attack this tree: an eriophyid mite, Eriophys buceras; and a caterpillar, Garella (Characoma) nilotica. Caterpillar frass (excrement) and mite-induced galls result in unacceptable staining of sidewalks, streets, and vehicles beneath the canopy. The staining may be so severe that dissatisfied homeowners remove the trees. This is especially alarming in cities where Black Olive trees may comprise as much as 30% of the urban forest. We conducted studies over a 4-yr period at two cities to evaluate systemic insecticides against these pests. During 2013 and 2014 in Naples, trees receiving dinotefuran soil–root drench or acephate trunk injections exhibited slightly reduced staining likely due to caterpillar suppression. During 2015 and 2016 in Coral Gables, abamectin trunk injections provided exceptional reduction in gall formation and staining. Abamectin trunk injections preserved the benefits of mature Black Olive trees in the urban forest by reducing property owner complaints and the calls to remove the trees. This treatment represents an environmentally-benign approach without the potentially negative impacts associated with foliar spraying or soil drenching.
Hurricanes and Homeowners Insurance: Is There Something to Fear?
Beau Brodbeck, Auburn University Extension
In recent years there are increasing concerns of the influence insurance companies have on urban forest management. It is no secret trees cause significant damage to homes during storm events. For homeowners, this has resulted in increasing insurance rates, difficulties securing insurances and requests from insurance companies to mitigate tree risk in their landscapes. There is some preliminary evidence, based on a limited set of interviews and surveys data in Alabama and Mississippi, to suggest that insurance companies are beginning to implement policies that could influence public urban forest management decisions. Concern arises with who is assessing risk in trees, their qualifications, and if coastal citizens are aware of the professional services provided by Certified Arborists to verify insurance agency requests.
Growing Street Trees in a Missouri Gravel Bed.
Kasey Krouse, City of Knoxville, TN
The Missouri Gravel Bed is a cheap alternative way to growing and providing trees in a community. The City of Knoxville has been growing street trees within the Missouri Gravel Bed for the last three years with varying success. This presentation will outline how the Missouri Gravel bed system works, how to construct the system, the advantages and disadvantages of this system, and lessons learned during the three years the system has been in place.
Emerging Trends in Tree and Habitat Management in Rights of Ways.
Amamd Persad, The Davey Tree Expert Company
Trees are ubiquitous in right of way (ROW) and electrical corridors and are managed primarily for safety of access to lines and hardware and proactively pruned cyclically to reduce the risk of outages caused by branch and tree failures and accidental contact with powerlines. As utility tree management systems continue to advance, improving utility arboriculture along with addressing environmental concerns become increasingly important objectives. Pruning strategies for example are evolving to include more sustainable approaches. What are we leaving behind resonates today in the minds of utility foresters and others who are now guardians of the tree- powerline complex. As the health of the urban forest grows in importance and a sense of the benefits of trees continue to rise in communities across north America, what were once secondary objectives such as aesthetics and wildlife value are now often forefront considerations. This presentation evaluates emerging concepts in utility tree management such as ROW tree restoration (right tree in the right place), an expanded look at pruning re-visited from the point of view of growth rates and variability with trees species, pruning methods and differentiation of ROW forest canopy with tree type, value of ROW corridor trees as habitat value and greater consideration of off-corridor trees that may impact on system reliability. The rise of secondary objectives to more prominence in utility tree management provides an opportunity for us to reboot our overall assessment of utility trees as a resource worthy of management for generations to come.
Implementing Emerging Technology for Utility Vegetation Management.
David Krause, Asplundh Tree Expert, LLC
New developments with remote control equipment and truck mounted booms with grapple saw attachments, can help manage vegetation management challenges from insect damaged trees that become hazardous to climb. Grapple saw booms allow more efficient tree removal and help address increased safety concerns of dead trees created by EAB and pine beetles than manual pruning or removal. The ongoing evolution of insulated booms and increased articulation of the cutting heads can expand utilization beyond just tree removals to include routine pruning work. Aerial saws have also adapted new cutting head technology that allows for removing the tops of dead and dying trees. These types of developments in equipment maximize right-of-way vegetation management budgets. This helps vegetation managers quickly mitigate immediate threats to electrical facilities from high-risk trees. Implementing these emerging technologies also help improve productivity and efficiency without sacrificing safety concerns. The utility vegetation and construction industries are currently facing unprecedented labor shortages for skilled workers. Implementing as much technology as possible, will be needed to help offset these industry challenges.
Software for Managing Herbicide, Invasives, and Habitat along Rights-of-Way: Two Herbicide Case Studies.
Patrick McCullough, Pine City Consulting
Invasive weeds can take hold and become a problem when land is not managed properly. Using the right technology can assist in effectively controlling the spread of unwanted plants and promote an economically and ecologically sustainable ecosystem. A team of invasive species management professionals from Pine City Consulting along with Clearion worked together to try to find out the effectiveness of herbicide applied by contractors. The purpose of this study was to use Clearion’s software solution to obtain accurate and precise data to contrast and compare different herbicides. There were two studies conducted. One of the studies was the Valent Herbicide study for a Department of Transportation contractor in Georgia and the second was the FMC Chemistry herbicide study for a golf course in Florida. Clearion Mobile was used to identify the treatment and non-treatment areas by creating polygons to identify these areas. Evaluators returned to the site with the Clearion Collector app and map features including the polygons that were created in Clearion Mobile and created a series of test plot polygons with their invasives evaluations. The data was linked to a dashboard that provided valuable information including charts and graphs, and a photo progression of before and after treatments. The results found that there needs to be a comprehensive management plan for long-term control, combined with a software solution like Clearion to manage a system that is complex and keep it all interconnected.
Biochar and Microbial Amendments versus Traditional Fertilization.
Cyd Elizabeth Hamilton, UTK/UTIA and Better Nature
Biochar combined with microbial mutualists (beneficial microbes) provides long-term soil enhancement that increases root access to nutrients and also increases nutrient availability to roots. Because biochar provides a slow-release carbon source, applying it in combination with mutualistic root microbes can lead to increased root access to nitrogen and phosphorous. By increasing microbial community activity, biochar can improve soil physical properties; properties that play a key role in nutrient availability.
Supporting Fire-Resilient Communities: Caring for Our Trees & Forests in the Wildland Urban Interface.
Holly Campbell, Southern Regional Extension Forestry
Though the threat of wildfire is often thought of as a western U.S. problem, the southern region experiences numerous wildfires annually. Some of these fires, such as the 2016 Chimney Tops II Fire in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, have been devastating. Fire experts agree that wildfires are burning ever more acres and straining firefighter and recovery budgets nationwide. Increased wildfire activity is influenced by a combination of drought, human-caused ignitions, and unmanaged landscapes. Homes adjacent to or surrounded by natural areas, referred to as the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), are most at risk to wildfires. Fortunately, there are measures WUI homeowners and communities can take to mitigate their risk. The National Fire Protection Association developed the Firewise USA program, which provides research-based recommendations on wildfire-resistant landscaping. The goal of these recommendations is to create defensible space around a home and prevent it from igniting through direct flame contact, radiation, or embers. Among these recommendations, tree spacing, pruning, species selection, and maintenance are critical elements in a fire-resistant landscape. This presentation will detail wildfire-resistant urban tree and forest management recommendations based on fire behavior. Arborists and urban foresters can play an important role in reducing community wildfire risk by caring for trees in the WUI with wildfire in mind.
Lightning Round 2: Monday, April 8, 3:30–4:30 pm
What is Incidental Line Clearance?
Kevin Myers, ACRT
This is a presentation on the new Minimum Approach Distance (MAD) chart that was published in the 2017 revision of the ANSI Z133 Safety Standard for Arboricultural Operations. MAD refers to the distance that a worker must maintain from energized electrical conductors. Since it's inception, the Z133 has only contained two MAD charts, with the addition of a third MAD chart (Incidental Line Clearance) it is important for tree workers to understand which chart applies to their operations. The presentation will explain why the added chart is necessary, where the distances came from, the similarities and differences to the other two MAD charts, and how the chart may effect your operations.
How to Balance Removing Fewer Trees and Company Profits.
Sean Sewell, Richmond Tree Experts Inc.
Atlanta is called the City in a Forest. 47.9 percent of the city is covered by tree canopy yet on average 54 acres per day are removed by tree services and developers. At this rate, tree services will cut themselves out of existence, unless we adapt. Public attitudes are slowly turning toward tree preservation. How can tree removal companies adapt and contribute to changing public attitudes? It starts with measuring value, help customers to see the value that individual trees add to their property. There will always be trees dying that will need to be removed. As tree services we do not need to instill fear of falling trees as a tactic to increase sales, instead, instill a love of trees to create a customer for life. Case in point: A company took care of older trees on a private school campus in Atlanta for 15 years, a new salesman was hired to manage the account who instilled a fear of liability into the dean. Within 3-4 years all mature trees were removed, profits were up and the company experienced growth. In the following 5 years, they were not called to work on the campus even once compared to 3-4 times per year in the 15 years proceeding. Conclusion: Instilling fear of trees into a customer may increase sales, but in the long run will lose a customer.
Tips & Tricks for Installing Supplemental Support Systems.
Chris Francis, Chris Francis Tree Care
The ANSI Standards and ISA Best Management Practices on supplemental support systems are absolutely essential, but there still leaves much for the installer to figure out on his/her own. After installing supplemental support systems (by the book) for the past ten years, I have picked up a thing or two... what works and what does not, how to interpret certain ambiguous parts, and advice on making the installation go as smooth as possible.
Condition-Based Maintenance: Threat Mapping in the Transmission Right-Of-Way using Remote Sensing.
Jack Gardner, Duke Energy
Duke Energy and Quantum Spatial discuss a novel application of remote sensing and machine learning to effectively identify vegetative risk from the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) within the transmission right-of-way. Since the early 2000’s an infestation of exotic forest beetle (Agrilus planipennis) has caused widespread mortality in the Midwestern population of Ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) These dead and dying trees pose a significant potential threat to the reliability of the electrical grid. Furthermore, conventional cycle-based maintenance programs are challenged to adequately address this risk. During the summer months (June to August 2018) hyperspectral data (0.5m resolution) and lidar data (30ppsm) were collected over 2000 miles of transmission right-of way. Vegetation segmentation routines and electrical wire models were used in vegetation proximity analysis to produce quantitative geospatial maps. A supervised classification using support vector machine (SVM) algorithms produced genus level predictions for individual canopy segments. Results suggest that high resolution lidar and hyperspectral data can be used to predict vegetative risk due to factors such as proximity, genus, and health with high accuracy. High-performance computing (HPC) environments can be used to scale this methodology for system level adoption in a time effective manner.
Photovisualization using CanVis.
Jason Gordon, Mississippi State University
Most people learn best through reading text, viewing pictures or video, or other non-verbal methods because the brain can quickly process visual information. Photorealistic visualization localizes critical issues which can help to communicate information and benefits of the community forest to the general public as well as decision-makers. This presentation describes CanVis, a free software simple enough for users with basic computer skills to manipulate objects and images that can help them to plan and understand green infrastructure design. The presentation will describe uses of the software and provide examples. This is an easy-to-use tool for the tree care industry.
Creating a Plant Health Care Safety Culture.
Patrick Anderson, Rainbow Tree Care Scientific Advancement
Plant health care operations within arboriculture companies are becoming more common within our profession. However, with countless numbers of articles, books, videos, etc on tree care worker safety as it pertains to climbing and equipment, little is available for field plant health care technicians. In a review of popular industry publications from 2016-2017 there were no articles directly concerned with safety of plant health care technicians. This leads to the conclusion there may be a wide gap in safety culture for plant health care operations in our industry. During this discussion we will identify some of the perceived safety training gaps for PHC Technicians. We will cover what resources are available on safety training for PHC Technicians. Finally we will propose actionable solutions companies can begin implementing to create a PHC Safety Culture. These include; PPE audits, equipment maintenance routines, strategies for reducing pesticide exposure, and encouraging PHC Technicians to fully participate in regularly scheduled safety meetings.
Lightning Round 3: Tuesday, April 9, 1:00–3:30 pm
Proper Planting Depth of Nursery Trees.
Chris Francis, Chris Francis Tree Care
Trees are grown too deeply in the nursery. This is resulting in slow growth, poor selection, circling roots, girdling roots, improper planting depth, and short-lived urban trees. My research measured tree heights and calipers before and after excavating soil to expose the trunk flares. My results show that trees at the appropriate depth measured taller and larger in trunk diameter. This translates into nurseries being able to sell the same material at a higher price simply by having the trunk flare exposed. Everyone wins! Clients get better trees. Arborists and landscapers can pick out trees easier. And nurseries can increase profits.
Deconstructing Urban Forest Master Plans.
Josh Behounek, The Davey Tree Expert Co.
An Urban Forest Master Plan is a road map, providing detailed information, recommendations and resources needed to effectively and proactively manage and grow a city's tree canopy. More importantly it provides a shared vision for the future of the urban forest to inspire and engage stakeholders in the care and protection of trees. This presentation will detail the key aspects of creating a comprehensive Urban Forest Master Plan.
Planting a Seed for Tomorrow’s Arborists and Urban and Community Foresters.
Holly Campbell, Southern Regional Extension Forestry
The International Society of Arboriculture organized an Industry Workforce Summit in the summer of 2018 discussing ways to advance the professions of arboriculture and urban and community forestry (UCF). One of the workforce development challenges identified during the meeting included limited youth knowledge of the profession prior to graduating high school. Summit participants discussed how best to plant a seed to support the next generation of arborists and UCF. Addressing this challenge, the USDA Forest Service funded a project to investigate existing programs for grades K- 12 that introduce youth to nature, trees, and forests. The goals of the project included understanding what programs are currently successful, identifying the gaps, and, with an advisory team, selecting which existing programs can best introduce youth to the profession. Resources researched were associated with in-school programs, such as 4-H and Project Learning Tree, and after-school programs, such as Boy Scouts/ Girl Scouts. Programs investigated include national, regional, state, and local programs. Though national programs are more accessible to a wider audience, several outstanding local programs were highlighted as case studies. A final report was developed to distribute to stakeholders. This presentation will highlight the results of this project.
Arboriculture and Urban Forestry Opportunities in Small Towns.
W.J. Rowe II, Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Rural and small town urban forestry and arboriculture are some of the most often ignored or overlooked opportunities in our field. We describe an existing non-profit partnership between 16 Alabama towns, the Resource Conservation & Development Councils and the Alabama Cooperative Extension. This system is simple and easily adapted to both business, government, and non-profit entities.