7th Annual Arborist Seminar Highlights

Thanks to the sponsors, speakers, and attendees who participated in the 7th Annual Delaware Arborist & Tree Care Seminar at the State Fairgrounds in Harrington. This year’s event was the most successful ever, with a record number of attendees!

The 2017 Arborist Agenda outlined the schedule of speakers for the 2017 seminar.

Day One – Monday, October 30

8:15 AM – Mature Tree Management at Winterthur Garden & Estate – Kevin Braun, Arborist

Winterthur in northern Delaware is home to some of Delaware’s largest and oldest trees, such as the state champion dawn-redwood and yellow-poplar trees. Braun shared first-hand experiences of how a public garden manages its mature tree canopy for forest and tree health, visitor safety, and historic correctness.

Kevin Braun has been the Garden and Estate Arborist at Winterthur for seven years. As a second-generation certified arborist, he holds a B.S. in forest management and urban forestry from Penn State. He also worked at Bartlett Tree Experts in Nantucket, Massachusetts and on the Penn State tree crew at its main campus in University Park.

9:15 AM – Interpreting Pesticide Labels – Tracey Harpster, Penn State Extension

Pesticide labels have changed over the years. This presentation covered the different sections of the label and how to find the information needed to make safe, effective and legal applications.

Tracey Harpster joined the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture Pesticide Education Program as a pesticide safety educator in 2016. She previously worked in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences at the Joseph E. Valentine Turfgrass Research Center. Harpster has an extensive background in horticulture, specifically weed identification and control strategies in various planting and cropping situations.

9:15 AM – Tree Care Industry Safety: How OSHA’s Consultation Program Can Help – Fred Eysaldt, Delaware Dept. of Labor

This session covered the fundamentals of tree industry safety, as well as OSHA standards that apply to the tree care industry. Also covered were frequently-cited OSHA standards and information about the OSHA consultation program..

For the past 10 years, Fred Eysaldt has been the labor market information supervisor for the Delaware Department of Labor’s Office of Safety and Health Consultation. Prior to that, he worked for nine years as assistant vice-president for health and safety services at MBNA America. He is also Chief Emeritus at Delaware’s Mill Creek Fire Company, where he has served for 43 years.

10:15 AM – Break

10:30 AM – Storms over the Urban Forest – Phillip Rodbell, U.S. Forest Service

“You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” – this refrain from singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell becomes all too real when a storm strikes a community. Whether by wind, flood, ice, or fire – or a gradual loss from pests such as Dutch elm disease or emerald ash borer – the effect on communities from the loss of trees in the landscape is devastating and long lasting, taking years to recover. This presentation provided tools to identify and communicate the public values at stake, and to better predict and prepare for the potential damage and outright losses that may occur as a result of common storms and the new normal in a changing climate. Before the next storm strikes, the question to participants was: “Are you prepared?”

Phil Rodbell is the regional urban forester for the U.S. Forest Service Northeastern Area. He provides leadership in federally funded action to plant and improve community trees and forests in the Midwest, New England, and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. He has 35 years of experience in federal program management, nonprofit action, state program administration, and local government consulting, including three years of international experience with the Peace Corps in Honduras, Central America. Phillip is a Certified Arborist and has a Master of Science degree in Forestry from North Carolina State University and a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Washington in Seattle.

10:30 AM – Tree Cabling and Support – Jim Savage, Penn State Extension

This talk focused on the how’s and why’s of tree cabling and support, and when they should be best applied.

Jim Savage is an affiliate instructor in Horticulture at Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

11:30 AM – Vendor Exhibits and Lunch

1:30 PM – “The Basics of IPM” – Mike Leventry, Verdant Plant Health Care

This talk taught attendees how to take an “Integrated Pest Management” (IPM) or “toolbox” approach to solving landscape pest issues, the foundations of an IPM program, and control strategies to employ to reduce pests to a tolerable level.

Mike Leventry owns Verdant Plant Health Care in Wilmington, Delaware, where he provides environmentally responsible solutions to clients’ landscape health issues. During his career, Mike has consulted on the health of some of our region’s most impressive specimen trees and managed pests ranging from insects to algae to skunks. He has worked at Longwood Gardens, the University of Delaware, and the Kennett Collection, which is North America’s largest privately held bonsai collection. As an ISA-certified arborist, Leventry has a degree from the University of Delaware, where he studied plant protection, and concentrated on horticulture and education. He has taught seminars on integrated pest management on the local, regional, and national levels.

2:30 PM – Jobsite Setup, Safety and Tree Removal Demonstration – Jay Ashby and Joe Shoup,
Cypress Tree Care (outdoor demonstration)

Jay Ashby is the Director of Operations for Cypress Tree Care and the vice-chair of teh Delaware Urban and Community Foresry Council. He is scheduled to demonstrate proper set-up and safety techniques for a tree removal at the 7th Annual Arborist & Tree Care Seminar in Harrington on October 30 and 31.


During the course of an actual tree removal on the State Fairgrounds, Ashby and Shoup conducted a hands-on, outdoor demonstration on how to set up a work site properly and implement best practices in worker safety.

Currently the vice-chair of the Delaware Urban and Community Forestry Council, Ashby is Director of Operations for Cypress Tree Care, with over 30 years of experience in tree care, landscaping, and wood waste recycling industries. An ISA-certified arborist with a Municipal Specialist designation, Ashby also holds the ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification, and is also a TCIA-certified Tree Care Safety Professional and a Delaware Certified Nursery Professional. Ashby is committed to encouraging the protection, growth, and long-term maintenance of Delaware’s urban forestry resources.


Day Two – Tuesday, October 31

8:15 AM – An Update on Emerald Ash Borer in the Region – Colleen Kenny, Maryland Forest Service

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has moved across the United States, killing approximately 99 percent of ash trees in as little as one to three years. This presentation covered EAB symptoms, status, and response options, and regional efforts to manage EAB impacts. A single EAB adult was captured in northern Delaware in August, 2016. Currently, as of August 2017, EAB has been found in 31 states, and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec

Colleen Kenny holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Colby College and an M.S. in Forestry from the University of New Hampshire, where she conducted research on invasive plant ecology. She has been with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service since 2015, where she coordinates statewide Emerald Ash Borer response and invasive plant management projects.

9:15 AM – “Urban tree mortality: New approaches to an old problem” – Lara Roman, U.S. Forest Service Philadelphia Field Station

Roman outlined how field studies to monitor street and yard trees can yield insights into urban tree establishment losses and population changes.

Lara Roman is a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Philadelphia Field Station. She studies the temporal dynamics of urban forests, including tree mortality and growth, canopy cover change, historical development of urban forests, species composition change, and citizen science monitoring. Her studies take a participatory research approach, collaborating with practitioners for study design and implementation. She has been funded by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, the TREE Fund, the Garden Club of America, and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. She received a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S. in Biology and a M.S. of Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

10:15 AM – Break

10:30 AM – Bucket Truck Inspection Demonstration – Tracy Gauger and Terry Anderson, Tunnell Companies Fleet Services

This outdoor demonstration featured a hands-on, practical look at the bucket truck inspection process: what to know and what to do from two experts with more than 40 years of combined experience in the industry.

Tracy Gauger and Terry Anderson are both fleet services managers with Tunnell Companies in Sussex County, Delaware. Gauger has 17 years of lift experience and is certified on Terex, Duco, Altec, and Versalift. Anderson has 25 years of experience and is a certified ASE Master Tech.