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Sharpening knowledge of tree care leads to healthier, better-looking trees

Up close on brown tree bark with text overlay reading Community Tree Care.

URBANA, Ill. — Trees are a beautiful and vital part of our communities, providing many long-term benefits to the public. Routine maintenance and proper care techniques contribute to a longer, healthier life.

“Trees improve the local environment, economy, and overall quality of life,” says Sarah Vogel, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. “Whether in natural areas, parks, gardens, street boulevards, or private yards, keeping trees healthy depends on everyone.”

Many who care for trees are not certified arborists but carry out similar work as the profession. Community Tree Care is a hybrid series of training opportunities for individuals performing tree care work looking to build on their knowledge. Topics range from tree basics to tips for professionals.

Participants include certified arborists as well as public and private tree care professionals, municipal or county groundskeeping staff, community volunteers, and anyone interested in expanding their tree care knowledge. This training provides information and resources for communities to ensure proper tree care, minimize the risk of hazardous trees, and promote healthy community forests.

The hybrid model provides two points of training. First are three late fall webinar sessions from 9 to 11 a.m. The cost is $10 per session, and registration is required. Individuals can attend one or all sessions, and Illinois Arborist Association continued education units are available to those who qualify.

  • Tree Basics | Nov. 13
    Participants will discuss the benefits of trees, basic tree identification and tree parts, and the importance of diversity in the urban forest.
  • Individual Tree Care | Nov. 27
    Explore site and species selection, planting and establishment, pruning, and additional tree care methods.
  • Collective Tree Care | Dec. 11
    Identify tree stressors in community environments, hazardous tree defects, and assess and mitigate risk.

The second training opportunity includes in-person tree care workshops. Exact locations will be available closer to event dates but held in Mattoon, Decatur, and Milan. The cost is $20 per session, run from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., and registration is required.

Each location session includes hands-on training during the time of year when tree care is applicable to apply learned skills, discuss local issues, identify needs in individual communities, and provide opportunities to learn more. Sessions are the same and repeated in multiple locations. Workshops are subject to change due to winter weather instances.

  • January 22, 2024 | Mattoon
  • February 5, 2024 | Decatur
  • February 26, 2024 | Milan

University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educators Sarah Vogel, Emily Swihart, Ryan Pankau, and Program Coordinator Jenny Lee teach the series.

To register, visit If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, contact Sarah Vogel at, 217-877-6042. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

SOURCE: Sarah Vogel, Horticulture Educator, Illinois Extension
WRITERJenna Braasch, 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. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.