On August 14, an estimated 300 Wisconsin arborists gathered at the Arboretum for the Wisconsin Arborist Association’s summer conference. Using the visitor centers amenities and the extensive Longenecker Horticultural Garden’s (LHG) woody plant collection, the event was a perfect fit for the Arboretum.
Billed as “Back to Basics with Practical Application,” the conference offered three educational tracks for the day. Track 1 covered plant health and care, with walks through LHG that utilized various collections to discuss issues common to each plant group. Topics included: insect identification, damage, and control, with P.J. Leash, UW–Extension entomologist; and tree disease, fungi identification, and control, with Brian Hudelson, director of the Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic, UW–Madison.
Track 2 addressed “Tree Basics.” Mike Wendt, Milwaukee Area Technical College arboriculture instructor, demonstrated correct structural pruning techniques on young trees in the LHG collection. In the tree identification and use session, Laura Jull, UW–Madison associate professor of horticulture, highlighted examples of superior specimens throughout the LHG collection.
Track 3, “Safety Matters,” emphasized safe equipment operation with demonstrations on the lawn south of the Visitor Center parking lot. Industry experts Brad Gabrielse, from Vermeer Equipment, and Paul Ahleen, an International Society of Arboriculture certified arborist, showed techniques for safe and efficient operation of brush chippers and chain saws.
Attendees received continuing education unit credits for both the International Society of Arboriculture and the Society of American Foresters for each session.
The Visitor Center was used for registration, a BBQ lunch buffet, and administering arborist certification exams. All in all, the event went smoothly and everybody seemed to learn and enjoy the conference and their Arboretum experience.
This story also appears in the October issue of the Friends of the Arboretum “NewsLeaf.”