3rd Quarter, 2014 - In This Issue:
A view of Camelback Mountain from South Mountain in Phoenix, AZ. Photo Credit: Bob Celaya

September 19: ACTC Annual Conference


September 20: ISA Certified Arborist Exam


September 27: APS Tree Workshop


October: National NeighborWoods Month 


October 5-11: IUFRO World Conference

October 11: SRP Tree Workshop

October 24: CCG Applications Due

November 5-6: Partners in Community Forestry Conference

November 15: APS Tree Workshop

November 22: SRP Tree Workshop

By: John C. Richardson
In short, plant hardiness zones are a guide to determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location and are based on the average annual extreme minimum temperature. The key word here is "thrive", since many plants will simply just survive in a non-suggested zone and never reach their full genetic potential. 

In the United States, there are 26 USDA Plant Hardiness Zones each divided by 5 degrees F from -60F to 70F.

There are other plant-climate zone tools that can also be referenced. The Sunset National Garden Book (Brenzel, 1997), looks at the interaction of elevation, latitude, ocean influence, continental air influence, mountains and hills, and local terrain to determine each of their 45 plant-climate zones.

While referencing plant hardiness zones can be helpful when selecting what and where to plant, other factors, such as, micro-climates, sun exposure, moisture, maximum summer temperature, and day length should all be considered. 

There are numerous hardiness zone maps that can aid in the selection of appropriate plant species. Experience, common-sense and consulting with local resources can help guide you to the best choices.

Related projects are currently underway with funding provided by Arizona State Forestry's Community Challenge Grant program. Ursula Schuch with The University of Arizona, School of Plant Sciences has been researching the survival potential of landscape trees under permanent drought. 

The results of this study will give tree managers information to anticipate which species of trees can adapt to minimum and permanent drought conditions without losing aesthetic appeal and functionality and without becoming a liability in the landscape. 

Reference the following zone maps for more information:

Olneya tesota

The desert ironwood pictured above resides SE of Wickenburg, AZ and is the largest ironwood in the United States. 


It stands 45 feet tall, 119 inches in circumference, and has a 58 foot crown spread. 


This tree is in Arizona's Magnificent Trees program and was nominated by Steve and Julie Plath.




Ironwood trunks can persist for up to 1600 years.


The heartwood of ironwood is almost non-biodegradable.


Ironwood trees function as a habitat-modifying keystone species.


To learn more about the desert ironwood, visit the Natural History of the Desert Ironwood Tree.


Know of a MAGNIFICENT tree?

Download and submit a tree nomination form.

By: John C. Richardson
Ulmus pumila

Siberian elm, also known as Asiatic elm and dwarf elm is an invasive and deciduous tree growing up to 70 feet tall. It has alternate leaves growing up to 2.5 inches long with a simple serrate or entire margin. 1/2 inch samaras (propeller like fruit) can be found from April to May.


This invasive plant occurs commonly in the Southwest and was introduced around the 1860's for lumber, erosion control, and shade. With a growth rate of 5 feet per year, it can quickly out-compete native vegetation and tolerates long periods of drought, poor soil, and cold winters.

Siberian elm leaves. Photo Credit - Melburnian

Siberian elm can sprout from the roots and produce seed in abundance. It has the ability to germinate readily at almost any site and can dominate new locations in just a few years.


There are numerous management strategies to control Siberian elm with early detection and control to prevent widespread establishment being a first priority. Each strategy will vary based on objectives and site characteristics. Using a combination of manual, mechanical, cultural, biological, and chemical control has proven to be effective. A popular control strategy is to use a basal spray or cut-surface treatment initially, followed up with herbicide spraying of new seedlings, sprouts, and root suckers.


An adaptive management strategy will help with improving long-term success.


The stepwise process for adaptive management involves:


1. Assessment of the overall weed problem
2. Establishing management goals and objectives
3. Implementation of control strategies
4. Monitoring the effectiveness of management actions
5. Evaluating actual outcomes in relation to expected results
6. Adjusting practices as necessary

Siberian elm fruit (samaras). Photo Credit - USDA Plant Database

In New Mexico, Siberian elm is legally considered a Class C noxious plant. It is considered invasive in 24 other US states. 


Did you Know? Siberian elm is resistant to Dutch elm disease.


To learn more, check out the Field Guide for Managing Siberian Elm in the Southwest and Utah State Extension Weed Guide for Siberian Elm.

For a quick 7-minute lesson on how trees move water, CLICK HERE.

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn."


-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

Monsoon rains near the Chiricahua Mountains. Photo Credit: Bob Celaya

I write this during the coolness of a monsoon rainstorm... This summer monsoon season has been both the best of times and the worst of times. Areas across the state have generously benefited from the much-needed moisture leaving a very green landscape in our path; however monsoon storms sometimes bring extreme wind gusts and microbursts that can damage and uproot trees. These dual processes may be challenging for arborists or city managers having to deal with the aftermath, but these challenges are what keep us coming back for more! Good urban forest management requires talent, collaboration, artistry and - above all - patience. Please consider strengthening all of these vital skills (and many others) this year by joining us at the upcoming Arizona Community Tree Council's annual conference in Prescott (Friday, 19 September at the Prescott Resort and Conference Center).


Since our last newsletter there have been some changes to our Arizona State Forestry Urban Forestry Team that I want to share. Mr. Chris Erickson joined our elite team of urban foresters in early July - just in time for the monsoons! He has previously worked in Arizona, completed his graduate work at NAU, and joins us from the Kansas Forest Service. His experience working with private property owners both locally and internationally in a variety of forest stewardship programs are strong assets to our program. He will initially work primarily in our forest health programs (insects and diseases), but his expertise will also be important for a variety of UCF-related projects where he will work closely with our community partners. His contact information is listed below, along with that of our full UCF Team. Please feel free to contact any one of us with any questions or suggestions you may have!


And lastly, an IMPORTANT NOTICE: Our next round of Community Challenge Grants is now open! Many of you have contacted us to inquire about our next round of grants, so we want to share the announcement here as well as through our website. This year's granting priority is: Advocacy, Policy and Community Planning. Applications are due (via email) on Friday, 24 October 2014, for projects occurring during the 2015 calendar year. Selected projects/applicants will be notified in November. Please visit our website for more information and to download the application materials. 


I hope you are able to find some time to enjoy the last bits of the 2014 summer monsoon season, and that you consider joining us in Prescott if you can. We'd love to see you there!


By: Chris Erickson
Folks living above 5,000-8,000 ft. in elevation may be somewhat familiar with bark beetles, but in Tucson Country Club Estates, closer to 2,500 ft., bark beetles of the Ips genus (generally referred to as pine engravers) are virtually unknown neighbors. However, Ips calligraphus have moved into the neighborhood. 

Generally, these little critters live on stressed or freshly cut ponderosa pine in northern and eastern Arizona and scattered populations on mountaintops of southeastern Arizona. The pine engravers have begun to jump into Allepo and Eldarica pines in Tucson, not previously known to be hosts in the Sonoran Desert.
Fading foliage of an Aleppo pine killed by Ips Calligraphus in Tucson Country Club Estates. Photo Credit: Bob Celaya  
It is believed these beetles were transported in green pine firewood from higher elevations, and stacked near Allepo/Eldarica pines. After emerging from the firewood, hungry beetles looked for fresh trees to infest. Shortly after enough beetles attack, needles begin to fade to yellow and orange, and reddish sawdust appears on the bark. These are telling signs of the presence of pine engravers. The sawdust is created when beetles bore into the bark, and soon begin to consume the inner bark of the tree. 
Detail of Ips calligraphus
inner bark. Photo Credit: Bob Celaya
Often, these beetles infest stems with thicker, more deeply fissured bark, but may also enter larger branches in the crown. The adults then deposit eggs, hatching into larvae that also feed on inner bark. When the inner bark has been consumed by the beetles, the trees begin to die. Ips species can produce 2 - 4 generations each year, and it is possible that warmer temperatures at these lower elevations can increase tree stress, and lead to more generations of beetles. However, because this is a new development in bark beetle infestations, we may have to wait and see what surprises the beetle life cycle may offer.
Detail of boring dust after Ips calligraphus attack. Photo Credit: Bob Celaya
Homeowners should be aware of the threat in the Tucson Country Club Estates area. However, before management activities are contracted, confirm positive identification of the insect. Remove infested trees as soon as possible to prevent further spread of the beetles. The wood should be disposed of properly at a landfill. 

For more information, the US Forest Service has published Management Guide For Six-spined Ips and Forest Pest Leaflet - Six-Spined Engraver Beetle.

Chris Erickson is a Forest Program Specialist at the Arizona State Forestry - State Foresters Office in Phoenix, AZ. He can be reached at 602-771-1407.
By: Patrick Rappold

Owners of residential structures in the wildland urban interface are always encouraged to create defensible space from wildland fires around their properties. Creation of the defensible space is typically done by reducing the number of trees per acre and removing ladder fuels that can cause fire to reach the upper tree canopies. For properties that are heavily stocked with small diameter trees, it is recommended that professional thinning contractors are used.

A rubber-tired cable skidder owned by A.M. Forestry at a forest stewardship project , on private forest lands, in Flagstaff, AZ. Photo Credit: Andrew Owen
In northern Arizona, one such company that operates almost exclusively in the wildland urban interface is A.M. Forestry. Owners Peter Robinson and Ryan Robinson have adopted the business model of using low impact harvesting techniques to increase the amount of defensible space around private forested properties. The reduction in trees per acre improves the health of the forest which can help stave off insect and disease infestations.
The 2014 edition of Directory of Arizona's Forest Industries & Fuel Hazard Reduction Contractors.
A.M. Forestry is based out of Flagstaff and can be reached by contacting Peter Robinson at 928-310-4426. Peter and his brother also do hazardous tree removals, tree pruning, and on-site wood chipping. Locating and contacting other businesses like A.M. Forestry, can be done by using the new 2014 edition of Arizona State Forestry's Directory of Arizona's Forest Industries & Fuel Hazard Reduction Contractors. Businesses that are interested in having their company listed in the directory can contact Patrick Rappold at 928-774-1425.
Individuals who own forested lands and want to learn more about creating multi-resource long term management plans for their property can research Arizona State Forestry's Forest Stewardship Program. To speak with a Forest Stewardship Specialist, contact Andrew Owen at 928-774-1425.

Patrick Rappold is the Wood Utilization & Marketing Specialist  at the Arizona State Forestry - Flagstaff District Office in Phoenix, AZ. He can be reached at 928-774-1425.

Recently the US Forest Service issued a request for applications to the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (CFP). Published on August 6, 2014 in the Federal Register,


"This is a competitive grant program whereby local governments, qualified nonprofit organizations, and Indian tribes are eligible to apply for grants to establish community forests through fee simple acquisition of private forest land from a willing seller. The purpose of the program is to establish community forests by protecting forest land from conversion to non-forest uses and provide community benefits."


Land eligible for the CFP must be:


"Private forest land that is at least five acres in size, suitable to sustain natural vegetation, and at least 75 percent forested is considered eligible lands for grants funded under this program. The lands must also be threatened by conversion to non-forest use, must not be held in trust by the United States on behalf of any Indian tribe, must not be tribal allotment lands, must be offered for sale by a willing seller, and if acquired by an eligible entity, must provide defined community benefits under CFP and allow public access."


Applications for the CFP must be submitted to the Arizona State Forester's Office by January 16, 2015. Questions about the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program should be directed to Alix Rogstad at 602-771-1427 or Andrew Owen at 928-774-1425. A link to the Federal Register with details about the request for applications is below:  
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  

Chris Erickson - Forest Program Specialist - 602-771-1407 -ChrisErickson@azsf.gov

Wolfgang Grunberg - UFRI Project Coordinator - 602-399-1886 - WolfgangGrunberg@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.