4th Quarter, 2014 - In This Issue:
Inside a greenhouse during a recent tour of Civano Nursery in Tucson, AZ. Photo Credit: Alix Rogstad

December 3-6: American Society of Consulting Arborists Annual Conference, Palm Springs CA


December 4: Tree Health Care Workshop, Tucson


December 10: Tree Canopy Visualization Tools Webinar


January 15: Dying Pines and Beetle Infestations Workshop, Tucson 


January 16: CFP Applications Due


January 21: Tamarisk Beetle Workshop, Phoenix

By: Katie Gannon
The quarterly meeting of the Arizona Community Forestry Committee was recently held on November 13th in Tucson, AZ.  In addition to a review and discussion of the 2014 Community Challenge Grant applications, a new responsibility of the committee, the group was treated to lunch and a tour of Civano Nursery's wholesale growing grounds.  Led by two members of the family-owned company, Les and Nick Shipley, it was a fascinating and informative view into Civano Nursery's innovative and ever-expanding operations which include a variety of plant propagation strategies and newly mechanized potting facilities, along with streamlined plant distribution and delivery systems. 
Nick Shipley discusses the Civano Nursery potting operation. Photo Credit: Katie Gannon
Civano nursery was established in 1997 and is the largest wholesale nursery in southern Arizona, providing cactus, succulents, perennials, shrubs, trees, fruit trees and organic veggie starts to wholesalers, retailers and landscape professionals throughout the region.  The 70 acre grow operation includes  7 acres of greenhouses and houses over 1,000 varieties of plants and over a million individual plants at any given time.
Civano Nursery's automatic potting machine. Photo Credit: Katie Gannon

Nick Shipley, age 40, co-owns the company along with his father Les and his older and younger brothers Alex and Chris.  A certified arborist, director of farm operations, chief horticulturist, and head of research and development, Nick is a soft-spoken articulate plant expert, businessman and visionary.  He's been involved in growing plants since age 13 when he worked in his father's tomato and poinsettia growing operations in Nova Scotia.  

Joan Lionetti standing next to her namesake - Joan Lionetti Oak. Photo Credit: Alix Rogstad

Nick claims he's learned more by killing plants than by growing them.  His process of experimentation, by selecting plants, growing them out, and selecting again, have yielded great results and many new plant varieties.  "The urban environment is not a natural environment.  It is manmade environment that is very challenging for plants.  Our plants have to stand-up to high heat, compacted soil, ridiculously small planting areas, very little water, more frequent severe freezes, and lots of asphalt and concrete.  We want plants to not only survive but thrive in these conditions."  According to Nick, that's his job as a nurseryman, to find, select, test, develop and propagate plants that thrive in our harsh urban environments.  The best way to do that he says is to go out and find the trees that look great, that are thriving in harshest conditions, those are the trees to propagate and reproduce. 


Katie Gannon is a Program Director for Trees for Tucson - Tucson Clean & Beautiful, Inc. She can be reached at 520-837-6833

By: Patrick Rappold
Gary Roysdon examines moisture content measurements from a sample of woody biomass. Photo Credit: AZSF
Known as "Mr. Firewise" in the Prescott area, Gary Roysdon was instrumental in shepherding the activities of the Prescott Area Wildland Urban Interface Commission (PAWUIC). As Chair of PAWUIC, Gary ushered in a new level of collaboration between PAWUIC, the Prescott National Forest, Arizona State Forestry, private industry, and landowners in the Prescott area. Collectively Gary's efforts helped to create more defensible space around the homes of citizens in a cost effective manner and low impact approach. Efforts of Gary and PAWUIC were featured in a 2011 Oregon State University documentary, "Collaborating for Healthy Forests", that highlighted how communities are taking the initiative to decrease fuel loading in the wildland urban interface.  Sadly Gary Roysdon passed away one day after his 79th birthday on August 12, 2014.

Employees of Arizona State Forestry send their deepest sympathies to Gary's family during this time of loss. Gary's work and the mission of PAWUIC will continue to live on and have an impact on communities in central Arizona.


PAWUIC holds meetings on the first Thursday of every month, at 7:00 a.m. in the Freeman Building at 840 Rodeo Drive, Prescott AZ. Members of the public are always welcome and encouraged to attend the meetings.


Additional information about PAWUIC can be found at their website; www.pawuicaz.org

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

I call Mr. Robert Fuller to let him know I've arrived in the small community of Pine, Arizona, to learn the story of his family's apple tree.  It's the champion Big Tree of its species and was planted by one of his ancestors about a hundred years ago.  Rain is beginning to fall again, small drops marking my windshield.  A few minutes later, a tall, thin man makes his way across the idle highway..... Continue the story

Mr. Robert Fuller with his family's apple tree. Photo Credit: Cathleen Cherry
Cathleen Cherry lives in Prescott, AZ. She can be reached at her blog http://www.chez-cerise.com/
An excerpt from Walt Warriner's letter to professional arborists.

NUCFAC is an appointed advisory council to the Secretary of Agriculture on urban forestry and related issues. The 1990 Farm Bill created NUCFAC to bring together the wide variety of voices raised about a common concern: the present health and future preservation of America's urban forests.  NUCFAC was founded to synthesize the full spectrum of views into a consistent vision, as a foundation for practical policy on urban forestry. The Council is made up of 15 professionals in the field of urban forestry that represent different constituencies.  


NUCFAC is the author and chief steward of a national action plan for urban and community forestry.  This Action Plan is a key source of policy-making guidance to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and USDA Forest Service personnel.


The current Action Plan identifies goals for 2006-2016. 


You can learn more by visiting the project website at www.urbanforestplan.org and read the full Key Issues Report where you can find additional background and information.


This engagement will continue through mid-December.  The draft Ten-Year Urban Forestry Action Plan will be developed in 2015 and will be shared to gain more feedback from our industry. 


Email any questions directly to urbanforestplan@virginia.edu

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

Flower of the Passion Vine. Photo Credit: John Richardson

Greetings and Salutations!

As usual, our Urban Forestry Team has been working very hard for the last few months to wrap up the year. Our Urban Forest Resource Inventory (UFRI) project has completed the final pilot community urban tree inventory; we are developing forest health bulletins for public dissemination; we are engaging with new partners in Southern Arizona for future projects while continuing work with existing partners; we are planning educational workshops for the spring; we are wrapping up annual reports; and we will be kicking off new Community Challenge Grants by January!  <whew>


Forest Health Community Workshop


Many arborists in Tucson have noticed a decline in Aleppo pines as a result of engraver beetle activities. To address these concerns and to help facilitate positive action, we are finalizing the details for an educational seminar on forest health that will be held in Tucson on January 15th (4:30 - 6:30 PM). Please visit the Arizona Community Tree Council webpage for information about how to register for the event.


Community Challenge Grants


A new round of Community Challenge Grants has recently been announced, and grants will kick off in January 2015. After an in-depth review of applications, ten projects across the state were selected for funding. Projects vary from urban forest inventories and expanding the urban green infrastructure to the development of tree networks and community education regarding forest benefits. A list of the new 2014 CCG awardees is listed below.


Arizona Community Tree Council, Phoenix

Arizona Nursery Association, Tempe

Arizona State University, Tempe

Bullion Plaza Cultural Center & Museum, Miami

City of Tempe

Town of Patagonia

Town of Peoria

Town of Prescott Valley

Tucson Botanical Gardens, Tucson

Tucson Clean and Beautiful - Trees for Tucson, Tucson


Congratulations to these communities and organizations! We look forward to seeing how the projects progress over the coming months. We anticipate the next Community Challenge Grant call for proposals to be announced in late summer 2015. If you'd like to add your name/email to our contact list for grant notifications, please email us (see contact information below).


So another month is winding down and it is a perfect time of year to be grateful and thankful for what we have accomplished in Arizona this year. We know that much of what we are able to achieve is because we have wonderful and fully-engaged partners and collaborators like you across the state. We are ever grateful for your efforts! And if trees could talk, our urban forests would thank you too.


Happy Turkeys~

By: Ursula Schuch
Trees at the Maricopa Agriculture Center in Maricopa, AZ. Photo Credit: Ursula Schuch
The benefits of trees in urban landscapes are more widely recognized with temperatures and rainfall events becoming more extreme. Many cities have developed urban tree plans or other initiatives with the goal to increase their tree canopy coverage to take advantage of the many benefits of urban trees.  Planting more trees is a good start towards expanding canopy coverage, but planning for maintenance including irrigation of these trees is essential to realize this goal. Judicious use of water is equally important in the desert Southwest to maximize the number of trees that can be cultivated with a certain quantity of water. The question of how much water or better, how little water is necessary to grow healthy, functional trees in our climate is the basis for our study determining irrigation needs of landscape trees in the low desert of Arizona. We started this project in early 2007 with the planting of trees in #15 containers at the Maricopa Agricultural Center in Maricopa. The first 18 months trees were well irrigated to ensure thorough establishment, followed by a study on irrigation frequency. All trees increased in size over this period of time and the irrigation frequency treatments had no effect on plant size at the conclusion of the experiment.

In May 2010 we started the current experiment with the objective to determine how nine tree species respond when irrigated with three different irrigation regimes and when no more supplemental irrigation is provided. The trees used in the study include two conifers, Arizona cypress (Cupressus arizonica) and Afghan pine (Pinus eldarica), two deciduous shade trees, Rio Grande ash (Fraxinus velutina 'Rio Grande') and Red Push pistache (Pistacia x 'Red Push'), and one evergreen broadleaf tree, Southern live oak (Quercus virginiana). The four remaining species are also either native or desert adapted and include a palo verde hybrid (Parkinsonia thornless hybrid), velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina), the desert willow 'Art's Seedless' (Chilopsis linearis 'Art's Seedless'), and Texas ebony (Ebenopsis ebano). The trees were irrigated with the following three regimes; trees under the wet treatment received 80% of reference evapotranspiration (ETo) from May to October and half of that amount from November to April. The medium treatment consisted of 60% of Eto for summer months and 30% for the winter months. The dry treatments received half the amount of the wet treatment, 40% of ETo in summer and 20% of ETo in winter. These treatments were continued until early March 2014 when no more irrigation was provided.

Typically, irrigation for the wet, medium, and dry treatment was applied 22, 16, and 10 times over a 12-month period as in the final year. During that time, each tree under the wet irrigation regime received about 1050 gallons of water and trees under the dry treatment about half of that amount. During the time of highest evaporative demand, irrigation was applied once or twice a week for the medium and wet treatment, and once in 11 days for the dry treatment. The longest time between irrigations in winter lasted four months for the wet treatment and five months for the dry treatment. Low evaporative demand, lower amounts of irrigation scheduled, and winter rains caused the long intervals between irrigations.

Water conservation is desirable when scheduling irrigation but it has to consider health and continuous growth when cultivating young trees. We found that after almost 4 years of irrigation treatments, trees of similar size were grown with half the amount of water applied to a tree of the same species in the wet irrigation treatment. Mesquite, palo verde thornless hybrid, desert willow 'Art's Seedless', 'Red Push' pistache, Southern live oak, and Texas ebony tolerated the dry treatment without or with very few detrimental effects. In fact, when participants in October 2013 tried to guess the treatment of plants at our field day, many choose the incorrect irrigation treatment a row of trees was exposed to by visually examining the trees. However, symptoms of deficit irrigation such as leaf burn and abscission, and branch dieback started to develop on 'Rio Grande' ash, Arizona cypress, and Afghan pine, especially under the dry and sometimes the medium treatment. Results from our study warrant another look at the minimum amount of water different tree species require to develop into healthy and functional members of the urban forest, providing the coveted shade and other benefits of tree canopies.

This project is currently funded through Arizona State Forestry's Community Challenge Grant Program and is made possible with assistance from the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program.

Ursula Schuch is a Specialist and Professor in the School of Plant Sciences at The University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. She can be reached at 520-621-1060.
By: Chris Erickson

In many parts of Arizona, we often assume that insect and disease activity has halted until the spring months bring warmer temperatures. The bark beetles are nestled below the bark, and fungi await warmth to join the moisture. But, some bugs and crud keep right on truckin' through the winter months. In this edition, we will highlight a few of these insects and diseases that can be found late in autumn and winter in some parts of the state. Follow the links for more information on these complicated issues.


Spruce Aphid (Elatobium abietinum)

The spruce aphid is small, light green, and has piercing, sucking mouthparts. The aphids feed mostly on older, shaded needles, especially in the lower portion of the crown. The needles will turn yellow and shed early. Though the tree is usually not killed by the insect, the trees can look unhealthy, worrying property owners. Ornamental spruce, especially Engelmann spruce, blue spruce, Norway spruce and Sitka spruce, are most commonly affected by the spruce aphid.


High fall/winter populations often carry into the early spring. Spruce aphids, like a number of other aphid species, can bear live young, with females producing females, allowing populations to increase rapidly. They have short lived outbreaks that are often associated with dry winter and spring conditions. Management options can include chemical applications in March and April, but populations will naturally decline as spring progresses. 

Photo Credit: USDA

Olive Wilt or Verticillium Wilt (Verticillium dahliae and Verticillium albo-atrum)


This soil-borne fungus causes wilting and yellowing of leaves, limb death, and tree mortality. The symptoms usually appear in the spring on host plants which include: olives, pistachios, maples, ashes and elms (over 300 tree and plant hosts). Verticillium wilt is often considered a cool season disease, and tends to grow best between 70 and 85 F. The disease penetrates the roots and grows into the water-conducting tissues in late winter, preventing the flow of water in the plant, with symptoms of leaf wilt and twig/branch death becoming apparent in the spring. In the low-desert, the disease is not active during the hot months of the summer, and, in higher deserts or mountains, it is not active in the winter.

The symptoms caused by Verticillium may look like other types of damaging agents (i.e. Texas root rot, root knot nematode, lesion nematode). One method of diagnosis is that Verticillium does not rot the roots as Texas root rot does, and this fungus also may cause vascular streaking in root tissues. This disease can last in soil up to 30 years. It is difficult to manage, but there are some ways of avoiding issues with this disease. One is to avoid planting susceptible species in areas where cotton, tomato, cucurbits, or other susceptible species had been cultivated. Verticillium is passed on through the soil, tools used in areas infested with the fungus, and the use of infected grafting/budding materials, among other methods. Similarly, do not plant susceptible species, or plant resistant varieties of susceptible species. 

Discoloration casued by Verticillium wilt in olive. Photo Credit: University of Bari, Italy

Aleppo Blight


As the name implies, this condition affects Aleppo pines (Pinus halepensis). Interestingly, this disease is not caused by any known organism (though there is one hypothesis that Aleppo blight is caused by mites (Tim Johnson, Artistic Arborist)). It is generally believed this condition occurs because adequate moisture is not available, and water loss through evapotranspiration continues. Water stress causes tissues to decline or die. Symptoms include chlorotic needles, dead needles, or, possibly, branch tip dieback. These symptoms are often most apparent in November-December or March-May.

The mismanagement and the proper management of the root zone of these trees are the problem and solution to Aleppo blight. Soil compaction, improper irrigation, poor drainage, soil heating and drying, and over fertilization are all potential causes of Aleppo blight. Creating the proper conditions in the root zone can relieve the stresses that cause it, such as: breaking up hardpans; vertical mulching; deep, consistent watering; maintaining nutrient balance; and proper planting practices.
Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)


The giant swallowtail is a beautiful butterfly as an adult. Flitting and fluttering from bougainvillea to azalea, they are noticeable for much of the year in the southwestern US. The larvae, however, look like bird poop on leaves of citrus trees, or other trees in the citrus family (Rutaceae). Generally, these insects do not cause major defoliation of the trees they feed on.


In warmer climates (i.e. desert), flights can be year round, but where it is cooler (i.e. mountains), there are generally two flights per year. Females lay eggs singly on new growth of larvae host plants (Rutaceae), and, after hatching, the larvae feed on leaves and new shoots. In the northern areas, the insect over-winters as a pupa in chrysalids. Often these chrysalids can look like broken branch stubs on branches of host trees. Adults feed on nectar from a variety of host plants such as honeysuckle, azalea, bougainvillea, lantana and others. Management is not necessary.

Photo Credit: Adults, Todd Stout at Raisingbutterflies.org. Caterpillar, Chris Erickson
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.
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.