1st Quarter, 2014 - In This Issue:
Overlooking  the Sedona urban forest. Photo Credit: Bob Celaya, AZSF

February 6: Tree Plotter Webinar


February 6: Urban Gardens and Edible Landscapes Workshop


February 8: Tree and Shrub Care Workshop


February 13-15: New Partners For Smart Growth Conference


February 22: Overhead and Underground Electrical Safety Workshop


February 28:  Applications Due For Presidential Innovation Award For Environmental Educators


March 1: ISA Certified Arborist, Utility Specialist, and Municipal Specialist Exam



Spring 2014: Certified Arborist Training

By: John C. Richardson
Juglans major
Tom Ellis next to the national champion Arizona Walnut. Photo Credit: Alix Rogstad.

Location: Marana, AZ
 Trunk Circumference: 296 Inches
Height: 58 Feet
Crown Spread: 103 Feet
The Arizona walnut is a native, deciduous tree, with specimens reaching 400 years old. It can be found growing naturally in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico. It commonly occurs at elevations from 2,500 to 6,500 feet and prefers to grow in dry rocky ravines and stream beds.

Although Arizona walnut is not greatly used as lumber, its unique wood grain and color attracts specialty woodworkers producing cabinetry, gun stocks, and picture frames.

DID YOU KNOW? Arizona walnut is the only walnut that occurs in the desert.
By: John C. Richardson
As spring rapidly approaches, so does tree planting season. Its important that we understand what constitutes a "high-quality" tree when we search through the numerous tree nurseries across the state. 

Starting with a high-quality tree can significantly reduce the amount of care it may require over its lifetime. So what determines a high-quality tree? According to the International Society of Arboriculture, a high-quality tree has:
  1. Enough sound roots to support healthy growth. 
  2. A trunk free of mechanical wounds and wounds from incorrect pruning
  3. A strong form with well-spaced, firmly attached branches.
Low-quality trees have:
  1. Crushed or circling roots in a small root ball or small container.
  2. A trunk with wounds from mechanical damage or incorrect pruning.
  3. A weak form in which multiple stems squeeze against each other or branches that squeeze against the trunk.
Remember, spending time inspecting a tree before you purchase it will make for a better investment and can reduce the amount of care the tree requires in the future. 

For more information on buying high-quality trees, visit treesaregood.com
By: John C. Richardson
Tamarix spp.

Saltcedar, also known as Tamarisk, is an invasive plant ranging 5-20 feet tall and commonly forms in dense thickets. Keep your eye out this March as Saltcedar will begin to flower through September. These flowers, white to pink in color can be found in dense masses on 1/2 inch to 2 inch long spikes.


Saltcedar typically occurs in riparian communities below 7,000 feet in elevation. It is native to Eurasia and Africa and once established can be very difficult to control.

Flowering Saltcedar.

As this plant becomes established, the natural ecology and hydrology of riparian ecosystems become altered and habitat quality diminishes. It is referred to as "salt" cedar for a reason as leaf drop increases soil salinity and reduces microbial activity. High evapotranspiration rates of saltcedar can also contribute to reduced streamflow and soils can become drier under dense saltcedar stands. 


There are numerous management strategies to control saltcedar which vary based on objectives and location within a watershed. One common method is to use the "cut-stump" technique. This technique involves cutting the plant as low to the ground as possible and immediately applying herbicide to the cut stump.


The saltcedar leaf beetle (Diorhabda elongata) is a host-specific biological control agent. This insect feeds on the foliage and can complete 4 or more generations per year causing significant damage.   

Saltcedar leaf beetle (Diorhabda elongata)

Currently, the saltcedar leaf beetle can be found in every state in the southwest and has been detected in at least 8 states.


Check out the Tamarisk Coalition for more information on Saltcedar and the leaf beetle.


Also visit the Forest Service Field Guide for Managing Saltcedar.


In the City of Phoenix alone, 5.4 million pounds of Carbon Dioxide is sequestered each year.


This reduction in CO2 lowers the conditions that cause asthma and other respiratory problems.


Check out treesaregood.com to learn about more benefits that trees provide.


Calculate how much $ yours trees provide each year by trying out the "National Tree Benefit Calculator".

"Though a tree grows so high, the falling leaves return to the root."


-Malay proverb

What do you think of our newsletter? How are we doing? We would love to hear what you think.

State Foresters Office                    

1110 West Washington, Suite 100

Phoenix, Arizona 85007-2935

Phone: 602-771-1400



Flagstaff District  

3650 Lake Mary Rd.

Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Phone: 928-774-1425


Phoenix District

2901 W. Pinnacle Peak Rd.

Phoenix, AZ 85027

Phone: 623-445-0274


Tucson District

3237 E. 45th St.

Tucson, AZ 85713

Phone: 520-628-5480

Alix Rogstad under the national champion Arizona walnut. Photo Credit: Alix Rogstad

Happy New Year!


Now that the holidays are behind us, we are gearing up for a very busy 2014. We have a lot of exciting programs that we will be sharing with you as the year progresses, so watch for these updates in our quarterly newsletter, and contact us with any questions or for additional information.


A new round of Community Challenge Grants was awarded in December 2013 across the state in 5 counties. The reviewing committee worked hard again this year to make the final decisions on some outstanding project proposals. When the dust settled, $144,450 was awarded through 11 different projects across the state. Projects selected for funding vary from urban tree maintenance in low-income communities and expanding the maintenance of urban green infrastructure to the development of community-driven urban tree inventories and professional education regarding tree maintenance. A list of the new 2013 CCG awardees is listed below.  

  • Arizona Community Tree Council, Phoenix
  • Arizona Native Plant Society, Tempe
  • City of Mesa, Mesa
  • City of Tucson, Tucson
  • Iskashitaa Refuge Network, Tucson
  • Sonora Environmental Research Institute, Tucson
  • Town of Patagonia, Patagonia
  • University of Arizona, Plant Sciences, Tucson
  • University of Arizona, School of Renewable Natural Resources & Environment, Tucson
  • Watershed Management Group, Tucson
  • Willow Bend Education Center, Flagstaff

Congratulations to these organizations! We look forward to working with these groups during their grant implementation. We anticipate the next Community Challenge Grant call for proposals to be announced late summer 2014.  If you'd like to add your name/email to our contact list for grant notifications, please email us.


Looking outside, I see bright blue sunny skies and I am thinking about colleagues in other parts of the country that are buried under snow. Although we may not have as much snow, we can still use this time of year to plan our next steps forward. We have big plans in 2014 to help you make the urban forests of Arizona more sustainable. As always, you may contact us at any time if you have questions regarding our on-going programs or projects.

By: Wolfgang Grunberg
Cover for one of three UFRI tree species identification field guides.

Arizona currently lacks a comprehensive urban forest inventory, which impedes development and implementation of statewide management strategies and goals (see Arizona Forest Resource Strategy 2010). As part of the  Urban Forest Resource Inventories project (UFRI) we are kicking off urban tree inventories this spring with our partners in Bisbee, Lake Havasu City, Mesa, Pinetop-Lakeside, Oracle State Park, and at the University of Arizona. The goals for the multiyear and USDA Forest Service- funded pilot study are to:

  • Develop an understanding of urban forest conditions in Arizona
  • Identify urban forest resource and information gaps in Arizona
  • Engage Arizona communities and citizens in conducting urban forest inventories locally for sustainable management
  • Develop urban tree inventory guides, protocols and tools to aide local management
  • Combine known Arizona-wide urban forest cover data

To date, the UFRI team has developed tree species identification field guides, an Arizona-focused tree insects and disease field guide, field data collection forms (paper and digital), inventory spreadsheets (for those who don't have databases), and a data upload site to generate i-Tree Streets tree value reports. Next, we will be testing the urban tree inventory protocols and tools with our partner communities across Arizona to see what works where and to improve the UFRI products.


To get a better idea of why urban tree inventories are important, I interviewed Richard Adkins, the Forestry Supervisor with the City of Phoenix:


Q&A Session with City of Phoenix Forester Richard Adkins


Q: How did you get started with your urban tree inventory?

A: "I started working at the city of Phoenix in 2006 and began the process almost immediately. The actual inventory started in 2010 following the acceptance of the Tree and Shade Master Plan by the Phoenix City Council."


Q: How often do you survey the trees?

A: "This was the first complete inventory of the city's urban forest resource (street landscape, parks, and facilities). The time between resurveys is often determined by the size of the resource and available budget."


Q: What do you do with your urban tree inventory data?

A: "Utilize it to describe the urban forest; species diversity, size/age structure, location, vacancy rates, benefits and values. [I also use the data to help] promote the importance of the urban forest. [The information gained through the process is] useful to developing management strategies and helping to define budgetary needs."

Q: Is there any advice or comment you would like to share?

A: "[Tree] inventories are an important part of the management program. If you don't know what you have, you can't manage it, or plan for the future. By at least establishing a baseline of data, you can measure progress and begin to plan strategically."

Richard Adkins is the ISA award winning Forestry Supervisor for the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department. Find out more about Phoenix's urban forest including an interactive tree inventory map at http://phoenix.gov/parks/urbanforest.html. 2013/12/17, Phoenix, AZ.
City of Phoenix 2013 tree inventory webmap with economic values.

Wolfgang Grunberg is a Project Coordinator at the Arizona State Forestry - Tucson District Office in Tucson, AZ. He can be reached at (602) 399-1886.
By: Patrick Rappold
This is the third in a series of urban tree utilization articles.
Small sawmill owner Rex Condie and his friend George Bowen pose next to their load of logs removed from Hart Prairie Preserve.
A small forest health project at The Nature Conservancy's Hart Prairie Preserve in Flagstaff, AZ has paid dividends to homeowners and small businesses. When Hart Prairie Preserve Manager, Neil Chapman initiated a forest health improvement project, he faced a daunting task. The by-products of the forestry project would have to be efficiently and quickly moved off-site to prevent infestation by invasive forest insects. A majority of the by-products included trees with bark beetle damage and the interior of the trees had become stained with a blue fungus. While Neil had a number of homeowners interested in using the trees for fuelwood, he also recognized that some of the trees would be desirable by businesses that have markets for blue stained ponderosa pine lumber.
Access to Hart Prairie Preserve with conventional logging trucks was impracticable, which hindered the possibility of utilizing the logs at industrial size sawmills. In general, blue stain in softwood lumber is typically undesirable in commercial markets.  While the blue stain does not decrease the integrity or strength of softwoods, it is considered an aesthetic defect.  A chance meeting with staff from Arizona State Forestry, quickly helped Neil identify that there may be some niche industries interested in utilizing the trees. 
 After receiving some contact information from Arizona State Forestry, Neil was soon scheduling meetings with entrepreneurial hobbyists who had a passion for restoring old sawmills and building their own "retirement" sawmills. One of the entrepreneurs, Rex Condi, was a former business owner who was retiring soon and wanted to use his knowledge of metal fabrication to build his own small bandsaw style sawmill. 
Operating under the name Wine Glass Bar Sawmill, Rex and his business partner LaVor Smith have been in the process of procuring various species of logs from throughout the state of Arizona. LaVor is a retired journeyman carpenter and commercial construction superintendent and have always loved building with wood. In addition to blue stained ponderosa pine lumber, Rex has an inventory of other lumber species, in various dimensions and thicknesses. The Wine Glass Bar Sawmill has also been building up their inventory of select hardwood lumber that is salvaged from urban forestry operations in the Phoenix metro area. 
Photographs of Rex's operation and his contact information are posted on the business's Facebook page facebook.com/wineglassbarsawmill


Additional sources of locally processed lumber can be located by visiting Arizona State Forestry's website and downloading the Directory of Arizona's Forest Industries, 2011. Scheduled to be updated in 2014, the Directory of Arizona's Forest Industries, 2011 provides a concise listing of wood using industries in Arizona. For businesses wishing to be listed in the directory, please contact Patrick Rappold.

Patrick Rappold is the Utilization and Marketing Specialist at the Arizona State Forestry - Flagstaff District Office. He can be reached at 928-774-1425.

By: Kieran Sikdar
Watershed Management Group (WMG) and the City of Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian Program have partnered together to pilot a program intended to create beautiful and sustainable biking, and walking routes! With support from the Arizona State Forestry Division, WMG will utilize green infrastructure to enhance the Treat Bike Boulevard in Tucson through two demonstration sites that will create shade to cool cyclists and pedestrians. Green infrastructure utilizes stormwater as a resource to grow trees, shrubs, and flowers that cool streets, beautify neighborhoods, improve air quality, wildlife habitat, and increase property values.
WMG led an educational walking tour to two residences near the Treat Bike Boulevard that are using stormwater to grow shade trees. Tucson residents, Neighborhood Association leaders as well as representatives from several governmental organizations were in attendance to learn how to identify opportunities to implement green infrastructure. Attendees learned to recognize potential rainwater sources and locate where that rain could be planted to grow trees.  Rainwater sources include collecting from hard urban surfaces such as roofs, concrete or asphalt driveways, sidewalks and streets. Planting the water typically requires creating shallow basins which allow rainwater to soak into the soil. Participants also learned how to avoid potential conflicts with underground or overhead utilities or constricted landscape areas adjacent to the street. 
Some practices that may be utilized in this project to create green infrastructure include curb cuts to allow water to pass behind the curb into basins, front yard rain gardens, vegetated chicanes, and traffic circles. The pilot program goals are to utilize as much stormwater as possible to create shade through green infrastructure practices and to develop a process to easily identify high priority green infrastructure sites throughout a region. Applications are being submitted by the community to be considered for a demonstration site. Projects will be implemented in March. Free educational workshops about green infrastructure will be provided to the community during site implementation. 
Are you interested in getting involved or learning more? Contact Kieran Sikdar at ksikdar@watershedmg.org or 520-396-3266 x3.
Know of any upcoming events? Have any suggestions for future
topics/newsletter articles? Know someone who would like to receive this newsletter?
Please email the Editor at


Urban & Community Forestry Staff
Alix Rogstad - Program Manager - 
602-771-1427 - AlixRogstad@azsf.gov
John C. Richardson -Forest Program Coordinator-602-771-1420 -JohnRichardson@azsf.gov 
The State of Arizona Urban and Community Forestry Program is made possible with assistance from the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program.


In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this  

institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national 

origin, sex, age, or disability. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)



Arizona State Forestry Mission - Manage and reduce wildfire risk to Arizona's people, communities, and wildland areas and provide forest resource stewardship through strategic implementation of forest health policies and cooperative forestry assistance programs.

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