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Northern Research Station
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square, PA 19073
(610) 557-4017
(610) 557-4132 TTY/TDD

Urban Natural Resources Stewardship

Tree biology and tree care

[photo:] Mature trees link people to the city environmentResearch Issue

Urban and community forests are key components for livable towns and cities. These trees require care to maintain health and safety and to provide the services that we expect from urban forests. Tree care is most effective when it is guided by an understanding of basic processes of tree biology. A wide array of prescriptive treatments and guidelines are available to arborists and tree care professionals, but these are often presented with little insight of how the treatments interact with each other and affect the tree system within the built environment. Research findings of the work unit are integrated with fundamental tree biology and an understanding of the special needs of trees in stressful urban environments and communicated. These integrated presentations are packaged to be interesting and useful for tree care practitioners.


[photo:] Choosing the proper tree care treatments requires an understanding of tree biologyOur Research

This research transfers information gained from unit research on the physiology of energy capture, the uptake of water, carbon dioxide, and chemical elements, tree pathology, and soil biology to the practical needs of tree care including pruning, fertilization, and stabilization.

Expected Outcomes

Effective, long-term tree care requires judgment in choosing specific treatments. This research will improve the quality of tree care through providing a rational basis to choose treatments for urban and community trees.

Research Results

Smith, Kevin T. 2009. Are trees long-lived? Tree Care Industry Magazine. 20(7): 8-11.

Smith, Kevin T. 2009. Connections in wood and foliage. American Nurseryman. 3: 12,14.

Smith, Kevin T. 2009. Greenhouse warming and landscape care. Ecological Landscaper. 15(4): 6-7.

Smith, Kevin T. 2009. Keeping trees as assets. The Landsculptor. January. 33-36.

Smith, K.T. 2008. Disposable landscapes. The Landsculptor, February: 57-58.

Smith, K.T. 2007. Plants’ essential chemical elements. American Nurseryman 206 (10): 10-11.

Smith, K.T. 2005. Tree biology and problem trees. Arborist News 14 (2): 24-26.

Smith, K.T. 2005. Tree health and energy budgets. American Nurseryman 202 (5): 10.

Research Participants

Principal Investigator

Research Partners

  • International Society of Arboriculture
  • Tree Care Industry Association
  • Various state arborist and landscape associations

Last Modified: 09/16/2009