Urban Tree Summit 2023

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Montgomery Parks (Montgomery County, MD) and Casey Trees (Washington, DC) present the 12th annual Urban Tree Summit. Presentations will focus on the contributions that diverse areas of study and different organizations with disparate missions are making to field of urban forestry.

We encourage all arborists, landscape industry and environmental/green industry professionals, engineers, designers, housing developers, and interested citizens to take advantage of this opportunity to learn from experts, experienced peers, and our local, tree-focused, and mission-driven organizations.

Full agenda available now!

Event Format

This year we will be bringing back our combination of virtual sessions and multi-day field session format. See first hand the impact of trees in our urban environment in any of our three field sessions around the region. Or join us online from wherever you are for a morning of virtual sessions to hear from leading experts in the world of forestry.

We hope the sessions will allow for engaging conversations, networking opportunities, and an impactful conference experience.


Identification will be checked at the door. Ticket rate is per person. All raised funds support this event.

Getting There

Field sessions will be held at numerous locations across the DMV region. Exact maps and meeting locations for these in-person sessions will be sent out to ticket holders as events approach.

The virtual session will be held over zoom, and the link will be sent out to ticket holders as the event approaches.


Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be awarded by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), MD Licensed Tree Expert (MD LTE), and Society of American Foresters (SAF).

The exact number of CEUs available for each session is listed in the agenda below. CEUs will be available for each of the field sessions and the virtual session.


Field sessions will be held in numerous locations across the DMV region. We will work with individual participants who have indicated need for accommodations on their ticket purchase to ensure an accessible event for all. In the event we are unable to make appropriate accommodations, we will refund tickets in full for any inaccessible events.

Urban Tree Summit Agenda


Wednesday, September 13th – Virtual Session

Virtual Day Speakers:

Welcome Remarks – 8:15am – 8:30am

Session 1 – 8:30am – 9:30am

Mark Hartley, Consulting Arborist, The Arborist Network, Sydney Australia
Tree Protection Should Push Limits

If we are not pushing limits to save trees and occasionally failing, we are probably either failing to keep trees or losing yield and thus lose trees unnecessarily elsewhere due to urban sprawl. In an ideal world, large areas of space are isolated around trees during development activities. However, as urban densification occurs and the cost of real estate increases, there is growing pressure to reduce the size of these tree protection zones. Retaining trees with reduced protection areas means an increasing need for arboricultural input throughout construction. Arborists must know how to care for trees significantly impacted by development work and have a better understanding of root systems and how they respond to injury. We will look at how roots grow and function and see how this can be applied on development sites to achieve win-win outcomes.


Session 2 – 9:40am – 10:40am

Lydia Scott, Director of The Chicago Region Tree Initiative, The Morton Arboretum
Public Gardens can Play a Critical Role in Improving the Urban Forest: Case Study – The Morton Arboretum

Public gardens can play unique and critical roles in supporting urban forests and should be seen as a significant resource for knowledge, expertise, application, and support to communities, landowners and managers, wherever they exist. This presentation will discuss how The Morton Arboretum is working through the Chicago Region Trees Initiative to support healthy trees, forest ecosystems, and the people who manage them.


Session 3 – 10:50am – 11:50am

Matthew Baker, Professor, University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Living on the Edge: Distinguishing Forests, their Ecosystem Services, and their Vulnerability within the Urban Tree Canopy

When viewed from above, many eastern cities appear to contain substantial amounts of woodland. High resolution mapping has led to increased recognition of these “urban forests” and their ecosystem services; though expected services are often derived from extrapolating what is known about rural counterparts. So how should metropolitan agencies approach urban forest inventory and assessment, especially on what is often a limited budget? This presentation will propose a rapid sampling protocol to understand current urban woodland conditions, using Baltimore City as a case study. Sampling and mapping plays a crucial step in understanding broader forest patterns, distinguishing urban forests from other forms of canopy, and allows decision makers more information on multiple scales of spatial organization. Results from this approach will be discussed, as well as the implications of such approaches for assessing ecosystem services and sustainability monitoring.


Session 4 – 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Brian Kane, Professor, University of Massachusetts
Choosing a Safe Tie-in Point (TIP) for Climbing

Choosing an appropriate tie-in point (TIP) is a key to efficiently and safely work in a tree. A TIP that’s high and central in the crown provides maximum mobility for a climber, but the TIP also has to be strong enough to bear the loads associated with climbing. Until recently, very few measurements of such loads were taken. Starting with the ITCC in 2017, Dr. Kane has measured loads at the TIP for a variety of situations including ascents, descents, limb walks and swings, and falls. This presentation will present the findings from those studies.


Thursday, September 14th – Arlington National Cemetery Field Session

Arlington National Cemetery Tree Tour
Greg Huse, Urban Forester, Arlington National Cemetery

On this tour, you will learn about the cemetery’s Memorial Arboretum, a Level III Accredited Arboretum. You will also gain insight into the urban forestry program, extensive tree collection and State Champion trees – as well as ANC’s overall Horticulture program and the techniques used to create the cemetery’s breathtaking formal and informal landscapes and gardens.


Friday, September 15th – Capitol Grounds Field Session

Architect of the Capitol’s Capitol Grounds Tour
James Kaufmann, Director, Architect of the Capitol, Capitol Grounds and Arboretum

Explore Fredrick Law Olmsted’s landscape design for the nation’s capital. Led by experts from the Architect of the Capitol’s Capitol Grounds and Arboretum, the tour will include highlights of the historic landscape and infrastructure across Capitol Hill, including more than 4,800 trees that comprise the campus’ urban forest and Level 3 ArbNet accredited arboretum. Learn about the historic and modern horticultural approaches to managing the culturally significant landscape while walking the perimeter of the U.S. Capitol Building. Explore the fifty-eight acres of Capitol Square, including more than one-hundred varieties of trees and shrubs many with historic, memorial, or commemorative associations.


Friday, September 15th – Montgomery County Field Session

Montgomery County Champion Tree Tour
Joe Howard and Carole Bergmann, Montgomery County Forestry Board

Join Joe Howard and Carole Bergmann for an exciting tour of Montgomery County Champion trees. The tour will feature a selection of impressive champion trees, some of which are growing on county historical sites. Participants will travel by van from location to location to view these champion trees. Lunch will be provided.


Contact us at friends@caseytrees.org

This event is non-refundable. If you are no longer able to attend, please let us know in advance and we will process your registration as a tax-deductible contribution.