What I learned at the 2024 “Think Trees NM” Conference

Mar 22, 2024 | Events, Experiences, Information

by Ed Chappelle

The nuts and bolts of Tree Culture was the focus of the 38th Annual Urban Tree Care Conference February 8th – 9th, 2024.

You need to think of being on “Tree Time” when evaluating tree issues. It’s a little bit like island time, but much, much longer. Starting with proper tree selection for the landscape and soil conditions, followed by proper planting. Examine the root ball after removing ALL transporting material such as burlap and wire cages to insure the roots were not container bound. If root bound cut the circling roots so that they will grow out, then plant in native soil and mulch.


Think Trees New Mexico

Many different materials can be used for mulch. Wood chips are best as they decompose adding nutrients back to the soil. Other mulches can be used but they have disadvantages but may be suitable for a particular landscape.

Pruning can be performed above as well as below the surface. Tree roots 2 inches or less can be pruned successfully, they will generate numerous new feeder roots, where larger roots are less likely to. Tree roots decrease in diameter rapidly as they radiate from the root ball. Big roots create stability, but the little feeder roots provide water and nutrition for the tree.

Pruning above the surface for structure, redirecting growth and reducing weight. In addition to removing branches, remove buds for tree shape.
Tree problems: Get a soil sample before adding any chemicals, you maybe overloading the soil with the basic elements NPK and create more problems. When problems are noticed, the tree is already stressed, remember “Tree Time”, it may already be too late. Also keep in mind, primary pest, treat the pest, secondary
pest, treat the host.

Organic herbicides: Read the label. There are vinegars, citric acids, and phytanic oils. Look for concentrations and Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) certification.

A review of ANSI Z133, Safety Standard for Arboricultural Operations upcoming updates was presented.  Climbing 101 discussed, setting up a work area, rigging equipment and the proper procedures before starting and during the climb. This tied back to ANSI Z133 and best practices.

Ed Chappelle, Sandoval Extension Master Gardener 2009