URBANA, Ill. – Trees can live hundreds of years, but from pests and diseases to improper care and installation, urban trees are not living as long as their forest counterparts. Many urban trees only live 20% of their life span.

Whether you are new to tree care or a seasoned professional, the 2021 Urban Tree Conference presented virtually by University of Illinois Extension will provide practical strategies to extend the life of urban trees. The conference will start on January 7 with three weeks of morning sessions on Thursdays and Fridays and will cover basic horticulture instruction, urban forestry science, tree selection and tree pruning practices.

Illinois Extension horticulture educator and conference organizer Kelly Allsup, says every dollar invested in planting trees doubles the return in environmental services.

“Urban trees are more important than ever,” Allsup says. “Urban greening strengthens communities, improves mental health, and provides environmental services such as cleaning pollution from the air, reducing flooding, and providing homes and food for wildlife.”

This seminar is open to the public and public works employees, parks and recreation staff, street department employees, horticulturists, foresters, cemetery managers, tree care and landscape companies, arborists, and backyard gardeners are welcome to attend.

“Horticulture professionals will be able to take concepts from the conference that will enable them to become more successful in growing trees in their urban environments,” Allsup says.

Three 45-minute presentations will be offered each day starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 12:15 p.m. Detailed class descriptions are available at go.illinois.edu/UrbanTreeConference

To sign up, visit go.illinois.edu/UrbanTreeRegistration. Registration opens November 13 and will close December 29. The cost to attend the entire seminar is $50 or $10 a day. Please email Reid Young at ryoun@illinois.edu if you need financial assistance to attend.

  • January 7: Tree planting, basic tree pruning, and a discussion on mycorrhizal fungi, their importance to forests and how they may aid in trees’ ability to endure climate change. Presented by Kelly Allsup and Ryan Pankau, University of Illinois; and Cassandra Allsup, University of Wisconsin.
  • January 8: Benefits of trees, oak diseases, and a discussion on how urban trees can aid stormwater runoff reduction. Presented by Jessica Turner-Skoff, Morton Arboretum; Diane Plewa, University of Illinois; and Asia Dowtin, Michigan State University.
  • January 14: Shrub maintenance, invasive tree pests, and a discussion about tough native trees with Chris Enroth, Ken Johnson and Jay Hayek, University of Illinois.
  • January 15: Signs of tree stress, assessing soil conditions, and a discussion about Pruning for Performance and Prevention with Kelly Allsup, University of Illinois; Michelle Catania, Morton Arboretum; and Lindsey Purcell, Purdue University.
  • January 21: Invasive tree management, best practices for roadside trees, and a discussion about caring for storm-damaged trees with Chris Evans, University of Illinois; Allyson Salisbury, Morton Arboretum; and Jake Miesbauer, Morton Arboretum.
  • January 22: Oak tree identification, tree compartmentalization of rot and decay with Travis Cleveland, and Ryan Pankau of University of Illinois. The keynote speaker Edward Gilman will present "An Approach to Pruning you Won’t Forget."

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Reid Young at ryoun@illinois.edu. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting access needs.

WRITEREmily Steele, Media Communications Coordinator, Illinois Extension

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.