This year’s North Central Texas Urban Forestry Conference focused on Diversity. The expert presenters gave us new ways to look at structural soil and root zone protection, storm water management, pest analysis and management, and a look at exciting tree species choices. This conference marked the first time the Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council partnered with the North East Texas Nursery Growers Association, which allowed attendees to access the trade show conveniently.

The first presenter was Dr. Kelby Fite and he gave us a review of soil studies by Bartlett. Among many topics he explained the rapid soil improving effect of fine roots, which are able to add organic matter into depths of the soil. Also, the use of high quality, smaller planting stock in areas with limited soil space may allow a longer timeframe before rooting space becomes an issue. He later discussed the importance of not only selecting high quality trees, but techniques to improve long term root structure. He was followed by Dr. Fouad Jaber’s discussion of storm water management utilizing trees, bioswales, and bioretention areas. Some advances in storm water management include the use of green roofs, even in downtown Dallas where a highway overpass is now a park with trees in spite of the fact that much of the soil is no more than a few inches thick. Trees have potential to control erosion with roots while also uptaking water and reducing the burden on public storm water control. A very interesting point he made concerned the use of bioretention in everyday settings such as home yards. By simply creating depressed areas in the soil, “bonus” water can retained and absorbed into the soil. Features and designs like these serve an important role in slowing water, forcing soil absorption, and stopping pollutants from flowing to rivers and harming crucial water bodies.

If you give trees large quantities of uncompacted soil, things work out pretty well.  -Dr. Kelby Fite

One of the presenters, Dr. David Creech, was unfortunately unable to attend. However, the Director of Peckerwood Gardens was able to take over the presentation on new and diverse tree species that could be planted in Texas. We thank Adam Black for being able to make it on short notice. Dr. Mike Merchant and Dr. Kevin Ong were the final presenters covering current urban forestry pest issues and methodology for identifying those pests, respectively. Crape myrtle bark scale is a relatively new pest to North Texas, but there are successful chemical control methods which were discussed. The future of ash trees in Texas is unfortunately less certain due to devastating impact of EAB; however, there are methods for saving trees and lessening the impact of a pest that will almost certainly continue to spread throughout the U.S. The good news is that Texas has only about 2% ash trees and there are successful treatments for saving individual trees. Dr. Ong discussed the logic behind identifying patterns and issues with pests in trees that may not always be clearly and easily determined.
Presentations

Click here for Adam Black’s presentation on Diversifying Tree Choices

Click here for Dr. Kevin Ong’s presentation on Landscape Problems

Click here for Dr. Mike Merchant’s presentation on Emerging Pests

We also want to thank all of our sponsors not only for supporting the conference, but also for attending the presentations. Our 2018 sponsors were Southwest Wholesale Nursery, Environmental Design & Davey, Arbor Masters, Minick Materials, Site One Landscape Supply, BWI, Arbor Stakes, and ISA Texas. We hope to continue to provide education beneficial to all in our industry.

There were over 200 participants and the conference was completely sold out, so we thank you for making this conference a success and we will strive to make next year’s conference even better. The presentation room was comfortable, and the weather was exceptional if you had a chance to walk along the water out front. We hope that the change in venue was a positive experience overall and we hope to offer more advantages to our attendees in the future. If you would like to participate in the planning of the 2019 conference, please contact Laura Miller.