The PHS Tree Tenders Lunchtime Series Has Begun!

treeLearn about trees at convenient lunchtime workshops at PHS. Take one workshop or the whole series–you’ll be glad you did!

Dates and Topics
Jan. 17    Urban Stresses on Trees
Jan. 24    Tree Planting
Jan. 31    Tree ID
Feb. 7     Tree Care
Feb. 14   Trees and Watersheds, and the Emerald Ash Borer
Feb. 21   Organizing a Community Tree Planting
Feb. 28   Presentation by Tree Tender Partners: Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Philly Tree Map, Plant One Million, US Forest Service, PHS McLean Library

The fee is $25 for the entire series or $5 per class. Preregistration is required; to register click here. All classes will be held at PHS, 100 North 20th Street, fifth floor (except on January 17, when class will be held in the PHS McLean Library on the first floor) at 12 noon.

The Tree Tenders coursework can be used for ISA, PA LA, Act 48, and PLNA credit. Given the nature of the training and the evening hours, the course is not appropriate for children under 16.

July Lecture on the Lifespan of Urban Trees

How long do urban trees typically live? How can we better monitor their health? In what ways can we make smarter decisions when planting?

These questions and others will be covered in a free, informative hour-long presentation titled, “How Urban Trees Thrive and Survive: Urban Tree Mortality Rates—New Approaches to an Old Problem.” Join us Wednesday, July 11 from 12 noon to 1 pm at PHS, 100 North 20th Street in the fifth floor auditorium.

Guest presenter Lara Roman will share the latest research in urban tree mortality from field studies in California. Attendees will learn about monitoring systems, life tables, and the changes to urban forests over time.

Lara Roman is a PhD candidate in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. She completed a Master of Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. She serves on the executive committee of the Urban Tree Growth and Longevity Working Group, and is currently working in Philadelphia with the United States Forest Service Urban Field Station, supervising an urban forest inventory with i-Tree Eco.

For more information or to reserve a seat, please contact Dawn Waters at

Watch This Awesome Video About Tree Tenders

Flying Kite Media, an online magazine that highlights the efforts of progressive businesses in the Philadelphia area, recently debuted a totally cool video about the PHS Tree Tenders training program.

The video demonstrates the diversity and devotion of PHS volunteers, and showcases the recent accomplishments of the Plant One Million program. If you’ve ever thought about becoming a Tree Tender yourself, you’ll definitely want to check out this video!

Thanks to Flying Kite for the shout-out!

PHS Premieres YouTube Videos on Tree Care

If you’re reading this, chances are you love trees. You’ve probably heard about Saturday’s major Plant One Million tree-planting events; maybe you’re even participating. (Hey, thanks!)

If that’s the case, you’ll be as fascinated as I was by PHS’s new four-video series on basic tree care. The series covers watering, mulching, weeding and protecting, and pruning. Each video is packed with information about tree anatomy, best practices, and cool information about how trees “spruce up” the urban environment—all in five minutes or less. Check them out below; you definitely won’t regret it.

First up, watering:

Then mulching:

Then weeding, cleaning, and protecting:

And finally, pruning:

Great stuff!  For more information about Plant One Million, visit the website and “like” it on Facebook. Inspired by the videos and want to become a full-fledged Tree Tender? Visit this page to find out about upcoming trainings.

New Trees for Northeast Philly Residents

On May 14, Northeast Philadelphia residents gathered at Pennypack Environmental Center to claim their free trees and watch planting demonstrations. In support of the new Plant One Million initiative, PHS rolled out “A Tree in Every Yard,” a  project that gave away trees to residents in certain zip codes.

The Northeast was selected because the area has a low tree canopy but ample space for new trees. The pilot project was a great success: 165 trees were distributed to happy people who rushed home to get their green gifts into the ground.

Here is a slideshow of some of the proud new tree owners:

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Are you a Northeast resident who missed this opportunity? Don’t get your branches in a bunch! Visit the Northeast Tree Tenders site to get involved in tree plantings in your area or apply to have a street or yard tree planted outside your home. For more information about PHS Tree Tenders trainings, click here.

A Homeowner’s Guide to Choosing the Right Tree (part three)

Welcome back! Now that you’ve selected the proper species, picked a great looking tree, and transported it home, it’s time for the real fun to begin: planting! Follow these easy steps to plant your containerized tree:

1) Handle your tree by the container; never carry or move a tree by the trunk or branches.

2) Remove all tags and twine.

3) Prune any dead or broken branches. Removing healthy branches, especially during the first year, adds to the stress of a newly planted tree, so restrict your pruning to dead and broken branches only.

4) Remove the tree from its container. Hold the edge of the pot and gently pull the tree upward from the base of the trunk. If the tree doesn’t lift out easily, lay it down and press on the sides of the container to loosen the root ball. If roots have grown through the bottom of the pot, you may have to cut off the container.

5) Use a pruning saw (or serrated kitchen knife) to shave 1-2″ from the sides and bottom of the root ball to remove any encircling roots. This encourages healthy root development.

6) Locate the root flare. This is where the trunk begins to widen and change into the root structure. You may need to gently scrape away soil in order to find the flare. The aim is to position the root flare slightly above ground level.

These steps can be seen in the video below, starring PHS’s own Mindy Maslin.

Remember, you can become a tree expert by taking the PHS Tree Tenders training course. Furthermore, any trees you plant should be counted as part of Plant One Million. Finally, if you have any questions or comments, please post then in the comments section and I will reply promptly. Good luck!

Mike Hardy of PHS Tree Tenders Honored…Again

PHS’s Mike Hardy recently earned the Pennsylvania Urban & Community Forestry Council ‘Group Award’ due to his work with the tree-planting group UC Green. He received this award on November 9 during the National Arbor Day Foundation’s “Urban Forestry Conference” in Philadelphia.

This is not the first time that Mike has been honored by his peers. In 2009 he received the Arbor Day Award for his efforts in tree planting and community greening. Mike helped found UC Green in 1998; that’s over ten years of dedicated service. Keep up the good work, Mike!

Volunteer Spotlight: Joe Shapiro

Graduates of the PHS Tree Tenders training program are known to be dedicated volunteers who plant and care for trees in their neighborhoods and beyond. But how many can claim to have a tree-planting tool named after them?

Joe Shapiro, a former materials engineer for the Navy, designed a clever contraption, made of rope and wood dowels, for lifting and maneuvering the heavy root balls of large trees by hand. In true Tree Tenders spirit, it has several handles to accommodate many hands working together. PHS Tree Tenders manager Mindy Maslin says the tool has been dubbed “The Shapiro” after its creator.

A resident of West Philadelphia, Joe became a Tree Tender back in 1994 when one of his neighbors signed up for the free training and then couldn’t attend, so Joe took her spot. He’s been at it ever since, mostly volunteering with UC Green, a nonprofit that operates in the University City area. But Joe also serves as a resource for other greening groups throughout the city, and has freely shared his engineering know-how to help other Tree Tenders refine their craft. Continue reading

Volunteer Spotlight: A Handful of Philly Green Heroes

Hasan Malik

There are thousands of people who make Philadelphia Green what it is today, and we extend a hearty “thank you” to each and every one. Recently, a few of our green champions earned some media attention. And their stories are so inspiring, we simply had to share them with you. Enjoy!

Twenty-year-old Hasan Malik doesn’t let 100-degree weather stop him from caring for the trees he helped to plant. As co-founder of the Northeast Tree Tenders, Hasan can take credit for nearly 300 new trees in his community.  Click here to read the Metropolis article.

Cynthia Bly

As participants of the City Harvest Growers Alliance, Cynthia Bly, Amanda Staples, and Debbie Rudman are quickly learning the ways of small-scale food production. The fruits and veggies they grow are sold inside the city—helping to promote smart eating in urban areas—and oftentimes donated to food cupboards. In the few months since its inception the Growers Alliance has made a major impact, and Virginia Smith of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about the amazing people involved.

Troy Johnson

Kensington native Troy Johnson has encountered the biggest, meanest, and ugliest weeds imaginable, and is stronger and smarter from the experience. As one of the first graduates of the Roots-to-Reentry program, Troy is hoping to parlay his war-against-weeds into a green career. Learn more about his admirable ambitions in this Citypaper story.

If you haven’t volunteered with PHS and Philadelphia Green before, we’d love to have you come aboard! Get started by filling out this simple form. Thanks!