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ArborCon 2018 Agenda

Monday, Feb 12, 2018


The UAA is proud to partner with the ISA Michigan Chapter-ASM to bring our
members an exciting utility program. A wide-range of topics will be covered including industry safety,  Diverse Backgrounds in Utility Forestry, ANSI A300 Pruning Standards, Herbicides,  Integrating TGRs into an IVM program and Highlights on Michigan's Oak Wilt Situation. Please join us for this one day event prior to the Arboriculture Society of Michigan’s ArborCon Winter Conference. 

UAA Pre-Conference is a  separate registration  with UAA.  Click the link below to register.



    Lucas Drews and Isaac Dunigan, Woodland Tree Services, Inc.


     EHAP and AR together! Register for one or both! 
     (Manuals for either session are optional and are an additional cost. See registration form
      for details.)

ELECTRICAL HAZARDS AWARENESS PROGRAM—All arborists must be trained to recognize and avoid electrical hazards. EHAP helps you meet yearly OSHA & MIOSHA safety requirements for anyone who works near utility lines. EHAP must be used in combination with documented on-the-job skills training and verification to meet OSHA 1910.269 requirements.

AERIAL RESCUE - The most common reason for double fatalities in tree care is failed aerial rescue attempts – an emergency could develop any time one of your crews is aloft and your employees must know how to react. TCIA’s Aerial Rescue Training Program™ helps you protect your employees and meet the aerial rescue training requirements mandated by ANSI Z133.1 and OSHA.  Aerial Rescue Training is a prerequisite for taking the ISA Tree Worker/Climber Certification test.  


Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018



KEYNOTE: 25 Years Studying Stress on Urban Trees

Dr. Frank Telewski, Michigan State University;

Shortly after arriving on the Michigan State University campus in 1993, I became more aware of the complex issues facing trees growing in an urban setting.  Working with Campus Arborist, Paul Swartz, we evaluated the growth and health of campus trees.  We completed an inventory of campus trees, including a comprehensive map.  The campus has served as a laboratory to investigate tree growth within the urban environment leading to several collaborations with MSU faculty and students.  This talk is a reflection on my 25 years of effort to better understand the trees of the MSU campus.


An Introduction to Consulting

Vic Foerster, West Michigan Tree Services

Have you ever wondered why you feel like you’re giving your hard-earned knowledge away … for free? If you are, you should wonder, because you don’t have to. This presentation will provide real-life examples of how to begin a consulting practice, the dos and don’ts of the profession, and what qualifies a person to be paid for their knowledge.

Plants Under Stress:  Predisposition to Plant Disease

Nicole Gauthier, University of Kentucky

Stressed plants are more susceptible to disease than vigorous plants. Further, many plant pathogens are considered opportunistic; their weak stance means that they are only able to invade stressed, wounded, or otherwise unhealthy plants. This session will examine some of the most common stress pathogens.  Focus will be on disease prevention and management using cultural practices.

Bringing Urban Forestry Full Circle: The Michigan Urban Wood Network

Jessica Simmons, Verdant Stewardship, LLC

Over the last decade, widespread tree mortality from the emerald ash borer and other causes has resulted in tremendous interest in finding higher value uses for the tree care sector's wood residues. A number of businesses and organizations in Michigan have created successful new markets for these unique solid wood products, typically known as "urban wood." Through funding from the USDA Forest Service and in partnership with similar groups in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Missouri, the Michigan Urban Wood Network is now forming as a group of people, organizations, and businesses all working together to help promote the idea of using urban wood in Michigan. These partners work on different projects and/or offer different services, but they all share a common vision for putting dead and dying landscape trees to better use. The presentation will showcase the efforts of the broader multi-state Urban Wood Network, while also highlighting opportunities for Michigan organizations to become involved in the movement.


CLIMBERS: Part 1: Proper Cable Installation

Michael Frankhauser, Consultant, Weaver Leather

This two part session series will begin with an entry level talk about understanding the standard and the science behind the standard for proper cable installation.  For much of the work we perform,  there is a standard, but unfortunately, there is not a standard tree, and a standard situation.   This makes our jobs much more difficult than if we were to work on a man made structures or organism that have a set  uniform structure.   So for the arborist to do his job well, they must understand both the standard and the science behind the standard.  This combination of knowledge will allow the arborist to adjust the prescription to match the application, thus understanding on how it works and why.


Reforestation in the Wake of EAB

Stephen Lane, Graf Tree Care

EAB has left us all with significantly fewer trees, and fewer benefits from those former trees. As we look to the future of managing our Urban forests, we need to take a detailed look at planting trees for long term benefits, both economic and ecological. Join Steve as he details some innovative reforestation strategies for towns, parks, natural areas, and other land use types in order to diversify and protect our tree population from future pest and pathogen outbreaks.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid:  What May or May Not Happen in Michigan

Deb McCullough, Michigan State University

Hemlock woolly adelgid is a serious invasive pest that has killed thousands of hemlock trees in the eastern US.  Populations of this sap-feeding insect may pose a threat to hemlocks in upland and riparian forests as well as landscape hemlocks in residential settings.  This session will include an overview of HWA biology, its historical impacts in the east, and options for managing HWA.  The current distribution and status of HWA in Michigan will be presented.

Urban Oak Wilt Management

Dave Robets, Michigan State University; ,

Oak Wilt Management in Urban Forests is vastly different than Natural Forests. This session will provide the necessary tools
to avoid and remediate Oak Wilt in residential areas.

Part 2: Understanding Electricity & Proper Lightning Protection Installation

Michael Frankhauser, Consultant, Weaver Leather

This session series ends  with more standards and science for electricity and proper lightning protection installation.  For much of the work we perform,  there is a standard, but unfortunately, there is not a standard tree, and a standard situation.   This makes our jobs much more difficult than if we were to work on a man made structures or organism that have a set  uniform structure.   So for the arborist to do his job well, they must understand both the standard and the science behind the standard.  This combination of knowledge will allow the arborist to adjust the prescription to match the application, thus understanding on how it works and why.


KEYNOTE: Working Safe

Vic Foerster, West Michigan Tree Services

Working safe is as much an attitude as it is following safety procedures. Listen to real-life accounts from those who work some of the most dangerous jobs in the world, which if you work in the tree industry includes you! From smoke jumpers to Navy Seals to the EMS … and fellow tree people … hear their account of what it takes to remain not only safe on the job, but remain healthy, too, an often-underrated attribute in our trade.


Detection, diagnosis and management of oak wilt: Can it get any better?

Dr. Jennifer Juzwik, Northern Research Station, U.S. Forest Service

Oak wilt continues to be a major concern in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and a growing concern in New York.  Techniques for improved detection, diagnosis and management of oak wilt are under development in multiple states. Highlights of recently completed studies on management tools (propiconazole injection method comparison; vacuum steam treatment of oak logs) will be presented. An overview of current research on hyperspectral technology for oak wilt detection and prospects for rapid, accurate and low-cost detection of the oak wilt fungus in suspect oaks also will be covered.

White Pine Decline versus White Pine Root Decline

Nicole Gauthier, University of Kentucky

What's in a name?  Sometimes, more than one might expect.  This session will compare and contrast an abiotic pine decline with a fungal disease that can spread across plantings.  Questions are encouraged, and time will be reserved for discussion.

CLIMBERS: Health, Wellness and Ergonomics for Arborists

Isaac Dunigan and Lucas Drews, Woodland Tree Services

The health, wellness and ergonomics of an Arborist is important to maintain. Keeping yourself healthy both physically and emotionally can help with the longevity of your career. The ergonomics of holding a chainsaw to work positioning in a tree is also very important in developing a strong and healthy back, neck, wrists and shoulders. Just as an athlete must take care of their body for peak performance so must a working Arborist.



Barbara Bennett and Rich Newill, MATSIF

Our recent partnership with ASM makes available to you participation in one of the premier workers' compensation programs in Michigan tailored to the tree care industry.

Herbicide Toxicity to Trees and Landscape Plants

Dr. Dave Robets, Michigan State University

The application of today's herbicide products by homeowner and professional alike are often causing severe harm to trees and other landscape plants. Learn the various culprits and how to diagnose and avoid these dangerous products.

Panel Discussion: Avoid Pitfalls of a Young Business to be Successful

Panel members: Jake Carufel, Canopy Tree Care; Jack Richardson, Guardian Tree Experts; Clint Sherrill, Camelot Tree and Shrub; Christian Siewert, C&A Arborist; and Michael Frankhauser, Weaver Leather

In our industry nearly all company owners were at one time employees for another company.    The transition from climber to owner can be a tricky transition.  Come and get some expert advice on how to have a successful transition from climber to owner. Get answers to the questions that keep you up at night including: financial/tax claiming items, types of business software,  creating a Plant Health Care side to your company, marketing resources, free estimate vs consultation fee, consulting arborist in a sea of tree removal companies, consumables and non-consumables, along with other unforeseen pitfalls. This session is an open forum and encourages audience participation!  

Ground Control to Major Tom-Ground Support for the Aerial Arborist

Keith Byville, Bartlett Tree Experts

This presentation is to acknowledge how important a ground crew is to the success of tree care. Knowledge on the ground is needed from the moment you arrive on site to the moment you leave the site. All crew members are an irreplaceable component, working with a climber or an aerial lift operator to develop a work plan and recognizing hazards and obstacles to perform the job safely. Components of rigging and application will be discussed, as well as mechanical advantage. There will be hands-on demonstrations and group discussion. The ground crew is an integral part of a seamless job completion.

Wednesday, Feb 14, 2018



Firewood: The Risks...The Opportunities 

Susan Tangora, Michigan DNR

Firewood is one the main pathways to spread invasive pests and diseases.  State park campgrounds have been decimated by emerald ash borer, beech bark disease and oak wilt which was introduced through infested firewood.  Michigan has a Firewood Workgroup overseeing tasks aimed at reducing the threat of invasive species through the firewood pathway.  Recent efforts include increased outreach and education, increasing availability of certified firewood in state parks, increasing our knowledge of the firewood supply chain and investigating a state certification program. As Asian longhorned beetle looms in Ohio, the efforts to prevent another destructive pest from entering Michigan are vital.

Collector App for Tree Inventories

Jeremiah Saier and Paul Swartz, Michigan State University

ArcGIS Online and Collector are two platforms that host free services which could aid an organization in terms of tree inventory needs.  Data for each individual tree is maintained in a database, and the location of each tree is managed in a joint AutoCAD/ArcGIS mapping system.  Tree care data including, but not limited to propagation notes, planting date, relocation date, periodic phenological records on select trees, tree condition (health), treatments, pruning, periodic evaluation, tree diameter, height and crown spread, and removal date and reason for removal are maintained for each tree.  These variables can be tailored to fit each user’s specific needs. The analyses, reporting capabilities, visual representations and sharing components of using ArcGIS products are nearly endless.  The largest challenge a newcomer to these product will face is implementing previously collected data in a non-digital format.

Are natives the answer?

Bert Cregg, Michigan State University

The debate over the use of native plants in landscapes often generates more heat than light. Some native plant advocates claim that exotics are water-hogging pest magnets that contribute few ecosystem services; while some ecologists argue that we should judge species based on their utility and not by their origins. Dr. Bert Cregg, associate professor of Horticulture and Forestry at Michigan State University takes a critical look at the key scientific and philosophical questions in the native debate.


Thousand Cankers Disease in the Eastern USA: An Update and Re-appraisal of its Threat to Eastern Black Walnut

Jennifer Juzwik, PhD, U.S. Forest Service

 The future existence of Juglans nigra in its native range appeared to be in jeopardy after Thousand Cankers Disease (TCD) was discovered in Colorado in 2007.  Observational and experimental studies of TCD, the canker pathogen (Geosmithia morbida), and its insect vector (Pityophthorus juglandis) in the eastern USA have yielded some surprising results.  Furthermore, state-conducted insect trapping programs have documented dramatic drops in the vector population in the past five years.  These findings have led to a re-appraisal of the level of threat posed by TCD to walnut in the East.

Dirt 101: Understanding Soil Basics

Bert Cregg, Michigan State University

Soils provide most of the essential resources that trees need to survive and grow.  In this presentation Dr. Bert Cregg, Associate Professor of Horticulture and Forestry at MSU, will discuss the key characteristics of soils that impact water and nutrient uptake and the ability of trees to thrive in landscapes.  The discussion will include how to use and interpret soil tests and suggested trees for problem soils.

The Spirit of a Winning Attitude

Preethi Fernando, Motivational Speaker, Author

A winning attitude is contagious, but don't wait to catch it from others. When you adopt a winning attitude, you begin to see the world through a new pair of glasses. Everything begins to change - for the better. All of a sudden, the people at work who used to drive you nuts, don’t seem to do that anymore.

 A bad attitude is like a flat tire. The other three tires may work just fine, just like other areas of our lives. But that one flat tire, that is, our bad attitude, will eventually cripple us from driving forward.  Preethi infuses a welcoming outlook on a winning attitude that can transform the quality of your life for the better.  Preethi's presentation is de-stressing, relaxing, and leaves you with renewed vitality to build new dreams and have fresh hopes. Preethi Fernando is the author of “17 Women Who Shook the World,” and the winner of Stephen King’s Haven Foundation Award, given to one author every year. Originally from the exotic island of Sri Lanka, Preethi now lives in Loveland, Colorado. This presentation will boost you with new energy and new hopes. You cannot miss this one!

"Seeing" Decay Inside of Trees

Kay Sicheneder, Owen Tree Service

Anticipating structural weakness in trees is critical to safe and effective tree work involving pruning, removal, rigging and climbing. Your life depends upon your ability to read the visual signs of decay and understand how decay develops in trees. Learn about how trees deal with decay and the visible signs of structural weakness.


KEYNOTE: How to Run Your Business So It Will Not Run You-Fernando

Preethi Fernando, Motivational Speaker, Author

Do you have firm control over your business? Or does your business have firm control over you? If your business is controlling your attitudes, your family life, your mood swings, and your love affair with money, then, you it maybe time for a health check up. Are you able to find the right people and hold on to them for long periods of time? Or do you have a revolving door when it comes to employees? And here is the big one: How well do you balance your business with your personal life? Does your family get the leftovers?

Learn how to adopt a winning attitude, so that you don’t get consumed by your business. Having proper leadership skills is vital to running a successful business.

This presentation is a gentle check up for all business owners. After listening to Preethi, you can arrive at your own conclusion to determine if you run your business or if your business is running you. Preethi is the author of “Finding the Money,” and “17 Women Who Shook the World.”


KEYNOTE: Urban Forest Strike Team:  What is it and how can you get involved

Kevin Sayers, Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources; ,

Natural disasters cause significant damage  to urban forests every year, and the resulting assessment and cleanup responsibilities are a challenge for many communities. The Urban Forest Strike Team (UFST) program was developed by state forestry agencies and the U.S. Forest Service in the south and is now being implemented in the northeastern and midwestern states. This presentation will describe the UFST program and how it can provide professional assessment and recovery services to communities following natural disasters in Michigan and elsewhere.


Storm Management Panel: Care for your Trees Before & After Storm Events

Panel Members: Marvin Pettway and Mike Rutkofske, University of Michigan; Paul Swartz, Michigan State University

This presentation will cover storm severity and the challenge of predictability; preparation before and after storms; knowing how certain tree species have reacted to wind, snow, ice; Pre-storm and post-storm pruning; After the storm clean-up; Speciality equipment; Training and personnel. The session will conclude with Q&A and discussion on past experiences with storms.


Oak Wilt Identification and Confirmation

Phillip Kurzeja, Forest Resource Division Michigan DNR

Over the past 9 years, Phillip Kurzeja of the Michigan D.N.R. Forest Resource Division has conducted literally thousands of site visits and is considered one of the best field technicians in matters of Oak wilt Identification. This presentation will show photos from Phillip's vast collection, several video clips and actual samples of oak wilt fungal mats, giving participants a practical real world look at how to properly identify and confirm oak wilt in urban and forest settings.


CLIMBERS: Safety, Forces, and Personnel in Simple and Complex Rigging Operations

includes removing the Demo Tree

Ben Veling, Timberwolf Tree Care

Let’s face it, the subject of rigging is not a new one. The point of this presentation is to raise the understanding of how force is managed in these systems in tree care. The aspect of rigging that is more unique to tree care is that we intentionally shock load our gear in rigging. This practice can be a potential hazard if we don’t understand how the forces involved multiply, and how they can be managed. Discussion will include: forces related to simple and more complex rigging situations, selection of gear in rigging, including ropes, blocks and friction management devices (porta-wrap, GRCS, etc.),  discussion of HOPE and communication in rigging situations, PPE and positioning in the tree while rigging, and rope and gear management while rigging. This session is for those new to tree care, those that have been working in tree care for awhile, and those that are lifelong learners in tree care.


Fate of Common Herbicides and Possible Interactions with Trees

Aaron Hathaway, Michigan State University

Many herbicides are applied to targets, such as turfgrass and right of way, that are near trees. Differing herbicide chemistries and characteristics contribute to increased or decreased propensities to move and affect off-site plants, such as trees. We will explore common chemistries applied in turf and ornamentals, review how they have affected trees and other plants throughout their short histories, and discuss possible chemical and environmental characteristics that contribute to such movement.

Major Tree Pestilence Update for 2018

Dr. Dave Robets, Michigan State University

Michigan’s trees face many challenges in the coming years. Some of these challenges are human caused issues while others originate from invasive pests and diseases. Trellis Rust on pear continues to spread in Michigan; the disease is sorely misunderstood by the public and many plant health providers. Two-Lined Chestnut Borer, Oak Wilt, herbicide toxicity, butt rots and Phytophthora bleeding cankers represent other tree issues that must accurately be diagnosed and managed if we are to provide top quality arboriculture services in this industry.


Grants for Arborist

Preethi Fernando, Motivational Speaker, Author

Let’s take advantage of the free money available out there! Why not? Grants are available for arborists to support their professional careers, get start up money for a new business, cover travel costs to attend conferences, and to cover living expenses su