TreeVitalize's electronic newsletter shares urban forestry information from across Pennsylvania.
Fall  2017
"Houston Strong"

We are thinking a lot about our friends and counterparts in Texas as Hurricane Harvey wreaks havoc across the Houston metropolitan area. Included in the many losses from the aftermath of the hurricane, is the loss of trees. Many trees fell victim to the storm however, a 1,000 year old landmark Oak endured, reported by the Houston Chronicle. The survival of this historical tree exemplifies and symbolizes resiliency. 

Trees aid in a city's ability to withstand storms; without trees, flooding events would worsen.  As we continue to see bigger storms increase in frequency, it is critical  now, more than ever, to realize the robust defenses trees can provide. Indeed, more and more cities are planting trees to become more resilient to storms and to address stormwater management. In fact, the state of Pa, Department of Environmental Protection recently acknowledged trees as a best management practice (BMP) for municipalities to address stormwater. Trees can help mitigate the large influx of rain that runs off our hard, impermeable, surfaces. 

In ending, a public Texan figure posted a status update the other day on social media saying "the silent killer - more concrete, less green." 

If you'd like to donate to help reforestation efforts in communities effected by Hurricane Harvey please go here.

Also, the University of Florida has a great website dedicated just to Urban Forestry Hurricane Recovery. 

Fall is Great Time for Planting

Vincent Cotrone, Penn State Extension Urban Forester


Fall is a great time for planting trees and shrubs in your home landscape. With cooler temperatures, plants go into a dormant state and require less water. And when a plant is dormant, the process of digging it up, moving it, and transplanting is less stressful for the plant. 


Fall can also be a good time to find discounts at nurseries, however, be sure to check for damage (especially to the root system) and quality of the product. Check the roots of the plants by removing it from the container and making sure they do not look dried out, or blackened (healthy root tips are white).  Also check for circling roots that have hit the container and turned. They will lead to stem girdling issues and declining plant health down the road.  If there are not too many large circling roots, the problem can be corrected by cutting them at the time of planting; cutting and manipulating roots will initiate new root growth. 

A few tree species that do not transplant well in the fall include black gum, hornbeam, birch, beech, white oak, hickory, walnut, holly, and sweet gum. Instead, transplant them in early spring, before bud break. Transplanting evergreens such as pine, spruce and fir in late fall can also be a problem and lead to winter injury or browning. When planting evergreens in the fall, it is extremely important to water them weekly until the ground freezes.

Once you have selected some quality plants to add to your landscape this fall, make sure you know how to plant them. All too often, trees and shrubs are planted too deep in the landscape, causing them to struggle to get established and leading to future problems including early death.  

TreePhil ly created a website dedicated to Emerald  Ash Borer  (EAB). If you would like to learn more about what EAB is, how you can tell if your ash tree is infected, and management and treatment options, then you should check out their website !

Tree Tenders Trainings
Over 50 people came out to Mt. Gretna on Friday, June 23rd to become Tree Tenders! Mt. Gretna's Hall of Philosophy was the perfect venue, surrounded by a diversity of towering trees. TreeVitalize encourages Tree Tenders to go out and be tree advocates and tree stewards in their communities. If you are a Tree Tender and are interested in starting a Tree Tenders Group in your area please contact Shea Zwerver at 

Tree Tenders training, Mt. Gretna, PA, Friday, June 23, 2017.

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Youth Corps conduct Tree Inventory in New Kensington, PA
Deviating from the traditional trail maintenance and landscaping projects, a group of PA Outdoor Corp (a partnership-based program between the Pa Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources, Student Conservation Association (SCA) and the Pa Dept. of Labor and Industry) out of Pittsburgh helped carry out a tree inventory in New Kensington, PA.  In alignment with the TreeVitalize mission, this project exposed youth to careers in urban forestry as well as the vital role urban forests play. "This project was a nice compliment to their internship as a whole; in addition to being exposed to conservation through state parks and state forests, they also got to see how conservation can happen in their backyards - one tree at a time." -Shea Zwerver, Community Engagement Coordinator. 

After recognizing the potential of such a project, Urban Forester, Celine Colbert coordinated with the town of New Kensington who expressed the need for a tree inventory.  Celine, Shea, and Penn State Extension Urban Forester, Brian Wolyniak led four groups over the course of ten days, inventorying a total of 1,232 trees. The Pa Outdoor Corp group quickly learned tree species and signs of disease. It is amazing what can get done with a small army of motivated learners!

Pa Outdoor Corps inventorying street trees in New Kensington, Pa.
Upcoming Tree Tenders trainings:
Sinking Springs, PA: September 23, 2017: 8:00 am- 4:00 pm
Johnstown, PA: Saturday, September 30, 2017: 8:00 am- 4:00 pm
Fort Washington, PA: October 3, 2017: 7:30 am- 2:30 pm
Learn more or register here.

TreeVitalize is Pennsylvania's urban forestry program. This is a partnership-based program between PA DCNR Bureau of Forestry, TreePennsylvania (Pa's Urban & Community Forestry Council), Penn State Extension, Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Tree Pittsburgh, among many other organizations . Such partnerships are essential to TreeVitalize's continued success in restoring the urban tree canopy across the state and educating citizens about trees and their benefits.