Tree Essentials Workshops

2019 Tree Essentials Workshops

The schedule for 2019 is currently not available. Please check back April 2019 with announcements regarding upcoming workshops.

What are Tree Essentials?

Tree Essentials are a collection of educational workshops available to anyone that is interested. Whether you are a Tree Care Advisor, Master Gardener, Tree Inspector, or just a curious resident, you are welcome to attend. We cover an array of tree care topics and skills, with each date focusing on one specific topic. Tree Essentials workshops are taught by University of Minnesota faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students.

2018 Workshop Topic Details


Best Planting Practices

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.

Edible Landscapes

With the increase attention on edible landcapes, this workshop will address how to select, grown, prune and harvest fruiting trees sustainably. You will learn which edible landscape plants require specific management practices, how to diagnose your trees for pests and diseases, and management solutions for common edible landscape trees.

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.

Gravel Bed Primer

This workshop will help you better understand why gravel beds are used by many communities, how they benefit bare root tree stock, how to build and manage a gravel bed, and how to ensure success long term. Specifically you will learn about the types of gravel bed, size and material breakdowns, irrigation methods, installation, and methods of monitoring.

Maintaining Shrubs and Vines

This workshop will help you get a better handle on the maintanence and care of shrubs and vines in the landscape. You will learn how to prune shrubs in order to help them thrive and stay manageable in the landscape. You will also learn about different types of vines, training and support systems, as well as pruning for good health.

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.

Nontraditional Pruning

This workshop will cover methods for pruning trees in the nontraditional sense using specialized techniques. Content will focus specifically on the methods of espalier, pleaching, dach platane, pollarding, and topiary. We will cover where these methods originated, the purpose for utilizing each technique, and how to successful implement these practices in your landscape.

Plant Health Issues - Diagnostics

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.

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.

Pollinator Friendly Trees

With the increased concern for bees and other pollinators, we know that trees and shrubs can be a great option to increase the resources necessary to help pollinators thrive. This workshop will walk you through native trees and shrubs for selection, their blooming time, and which pollinators are attracted to the specific tree species. You will walk away with a better understanding of ways you can utilize trees and shrubs in your pollinator friendly landscape.

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.


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.

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.