Tree Essentials Classes

buckeye tree image

2024 Classes

UFOR Nursery Location

Parking location at Leatherdale Equine Center

Leatherdale Equine Center Entrance (for parking)

Parking location at Leatherdale Equine Center

Archived Topics & Resources

Best Planting Practices & Basic Maintenance

This workshop will cover different nursery stock options commonly available (bare rooted, containerized, balled and burlap) and how to handle these various types of nursery stock. Get hands on experience planting a tree or shrub to get a real understanding of planting depth and width, how to deal with strings, pot-bound plants, and roots buried deep in the soil. You will also learn which mulching and watering practices are best for trees along with staking methods and materials.

Conifer Concerns

Typically, issues in our deciduous trees are at the forefront due to impending issues from insects such as with ash trees and Emerald Ash Borer. However, we commonly hear that conifer issues are something that never gets fully addressed in environmental education. In this workshop, we will cover some common issues with our conifers and what to do with those trees next. 

Grafting 101

The art of grafting has been written about and practiced across the globe since before Marcus Porcius wrote De Agri Cultura in 160 BCE. Motivation for grafting has been a simple as friendly competition amongst leaders during the Islamic Golden Age to severe panic around the French Wine Pandemic. While this workshop won't get into the history, it will teach you the skill of grafting. You will learn more about the reasons behind grafting, what is likely to make a successful graft, supplies and tools needed, and how to care for your plant post grafting.

Introduction to Mycology

Are you interested in mycology and fall to the appeal of fungi in the landscape? If so, this workshop is for you! You will learn the basics of mycology, how fungi work in the landscape and how fungi act as a sign for larger tree issues. You will learn about some common fungi you will see in the urban landscape and some forest fungi. 

Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi: Implications for Management and Conservation Planning presented by Dr. Heike Bucking, South Dakota State University, and Dr. R. Michael Lehman, USDA Agricultural Research Service in Brookings, SD

Managing Aggressives/Invasives

This workshop will cover common aggressive and invasive tree and plant species that affect urban forests throughout the state. We will learn about common aggressives/invasives to Minnesota, specifically those that need care and attention during this time of year. The class will cover details about each species, how it was introduced into our Minnesota landscapes, how to properly identify, why they are detrimental to native plants and trees, and how to manage the aggressive/invasive species.

Plant Selection

This workshop will cover how to interpret the soil at a site and test for texture, compaction and drainage, how to match plants with particular landscapes, and outside constraints to consider when selecting a tree or shrub for planting. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of all factors that influence proper plant selection, ecological diversity, and what it means to have a diverse and sustainable landscape.

Planting for Success: Selecting Tough Trees for Tough Urban Sites presented by Jeff Iles, Iowa State University

Going Native: The best choice for trees? presented by Linda Chalker-Scott, Washington State University

Pollinators & Wildlife

Trees and shrubs provide an essential service for both native pollinators and wildlife in our urban forests. The content covered in this session will walk through how pollinators and wildlife use and benefit from our urban trees and shrubs in order to potentially influence how you think about plants are used in the urban settings by non-human organisms.

Trees for Bees: Pollinator Habitats in Urban Forests presented by Dr. Elizabeth Benton, University of Georgia]

Urban Wildlife Habitat: Meadows and Mowing presented by Tierney Bocsi, University of Massachusetts

Predicting and Preventing Storm Damage

This workshop will address the most common types of storm damage to trees in Minnesota, the tree defects that are most commonly associated with preventable damage, and some techniques that can help minimize future storm damage when possible. You will learn how to note conditions that could be potential areas of failure in a storm, as well as how well-maintained trees suffer less storm damage. This class also provides you with the opportunity of getting involved with ongoing University of Minnesota research on tree failures in loading events.

Storm Damage to Trees presented by Gary Johnson, UMN

Storm-Resilient Urban Forests: Response Resilience presented by Dr. Richard Hauer, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

Pruning Young Trees and Old Shrubs

This workshop will cover the basics of getting young trees prepared for long productive lives in the landscape. You will learn how small errors in the beginning lead to large problems later on. We will focus on developing well-structured young trees through different pruning techniques and methods, practicing pruning skills on trees in the nursery, as well as how to minimize unnecessary storm damage with timely pruning techniques. In addition, you will learn about shrub pruning in terms of techniques and timing.

An Approach to Pruning You Won't Forget presented by Dr. Ed Gilman, University of Florida - Gainesville

Tree Biology and Pruning presented by Randy Miller, Director of Vegetation Management for PacifiCorp

Site Selection & Climate Change

This workshop will introduce you to key considerations when finding a spot to plant (sunlight, soil, water, etc.). We will also discuss the changing climate of Minnesota and what to think about when selecting plants that will thrive now and in the future.

Tree Identification

Feeling a little rusty on your tree and shrub identification or just wish to learn about tree ID for the first time? This workshop will be a walking tour to help test your knowledge of landscape trees and shrubs that are common, and some that may be new or not as common. Come prepared for a walk, some conversation, and learn new techniques and skills to help you better identify trees and shrubs in the landscape.

Tree Troubles

This workshop will cover some of the common pests, diseases, and abiotic problems with trees and shrubs. Learn how to recognize signs and symptoms, how to account for abiotic stresses, site constraints, and species type to analyze plant problems, as well as some preventable measures to keep plants happy and healthy. You will walk away knowing how to be a good diagnostician through collection and research.

Diagnosis in Practice presented by Jennie Mazzone, Penn State Plant Disease Clinic

Urban Food Forests & Edible Landscapes

We commonly think of the overall benefits that trees provide like energy savings, stormwater management, air pollution mitigation, and more. However, it is important to consider that trees can offer a practical and tangible resource for our urban communities, especially those areas that are in food desert areas. This session will walk through how food forests work and what is needed for the overall success of these specialized forests.

Community Food Forests presented by Catherine Bukowski, Virginia Tech, and Ann Audrey,  Linking Edible Arizona Forests (LEAF) Network

Urban Green Spaces for Food and Foraging presented by Marla Emery, USDA Forest Service, and Lincoln Smith, Forest Gardener with Forested, LLC

Winter Tree ID

Bamboozled by buds? Tricked by twigs? Bewildered by bark? This class is all about how to identify trees in winter. We will trek through the UMN’s St. Paul Campus, discovering and sharing the wondrous ways to tell the difference between a variety of Minnesota’s trees and shrubs. Buds, twigs, color, arrangement, shape & form, bark, smell, texture -- all are fair game!