School of Arboriculture

Increase your tree and landscape knowledge! The Arboretum's Professional Courses, offer CEUs for arborists and landscape architects, and keep you at the forefront of your profession. These courses are open to professionals and novices, and are all taught by national leaders in their field of expertise.

Certified Arborists: Our courses carry International Society of Arboriculture Continuing Education Units (CEUs). If you are an ISA certified arborist and need to maintain certification by taking 30 credits over a three-year period, the following classes offer the opportunity to gain CEUs while learning from field experts.

Landscape Architects: Many courses are Pennsylvania CE certified.  If you are a Landscape Architect in Pennsylvania, specified courses will help you meet the requirements of the necessary course time of 24 clock hours / 2 years. 

Register for classes below! 


Select the class(es) for which you wish to register:

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Quantity and Pricing
Climbing Techniques for the Field Arborist
Rob Thigpen
Foreman, Shechtman Tree Care

Rachel Brudzinski
New York City Forestry Safety and Training Climber

This comprehensive three-day course is designed for working arborists from the seasoned veteran to the novice who has yet to climb a tree. The intent of this course is to prepare the working arborist to climb safely and efficiently in mature trees using the latest techniques and equipment available. In doing so we will cover safe climbing procedures, knots, and equipment, with an emphasis on securing tie-in points, rope climbing, and movement in the tree. We will be climbing large trees so please bring your climbing gear as well as personal protective equipment. Ropes and saddles will be provided for those students who do not have them. Each student will receive a copy of The Tree Climbers Companion by Jeff Jepson as well as a certificate of completion. Our instructors are ISA certified arborists with many years of practical experience in general tree work. The Thursday session will focus on Single Rope Technique (SRT) and may be taken individually.

Meet at Bloomfield Farm. Look for the paved road across Northwestern Avenue from the public garden entrance. Park in the lot and follow signs to the Horticulture Center.

This course carries 18 CEUs for ISA certified arborists (S=0, P=18, M=0).

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, September 26, 27, 28
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Fee: $550, $200 for Thursday only (including lunch)
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 9:00 AM
Attendees: 1 $ 550.00 ea.
Attendees: 1 $ 200.00 ea.

Tree Climbing for Women
Rachel Brudzinski
New York City Forestry Safety and Training Climber

Women can be talented, successful climbers even in a field traditionally dominated by men. Novice to advanced women climbers are welcome. This course will demonstrate climbing techniques geared to female climbers and provides a basic understanding of tree biology critical for practicing arborists. The class will focus on how to create and maintain a safe working environment, develop fundamental arboricultural skills, and learn the professional techniques necessary to develop an approach for climbing a tree. You will learn some of the latest professional tree climbing advancements and have the opportunity to participate in supervised in-tree climbing. Students will learn essential knots, daily gear maintenance, and integrated safety regulations mandated for climbing. Please wear appropriate clothing including long sleeves, flexible and durable pants, and high ankle/lightweight footwear. If you have regulation climbing gear including a rope, harness, hardhat with chin strap, and eye protection, please bring it. You may also want to bring gloves.

We will meet at Bloomfield Farm. Look for the paved road across Northwestern Avenue from the public garden entrance. Park in the lot and follow the signs to the Horticulture Center.

This course carries 6 CEUs for ISA certified arborists (S=0, P=6, M=0).

Saturday, September 30 (Rain date: October 1)
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Fee: $125 (includes lunch)
Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 9:00 AM
Attendees: 1 $ 125.00 ea.

Tree Support and Protective Systems
Alex Roberts and Ken LeRoy
Arborists, John B. Ward and Sons, Inc.

An important feature in the preservation of mature shade trees in the built environment involves the installation of various support cables, rods and guying systems, as well as lightning protection systems. This one-day course will explore all aspects of these techniques as well as the best practices and standards of the industry. There will be field demonstrations of each technique and an opportunity to get some hands-on practice. Alex and Ken are both ISA certified arborists with many years of experience in practical arboriculture and are acknowledged experts in cable splicing and installation as well as the proper placement and installation of support rods and lightning protection systems.

This course carries 5.75 CEUs for ISA certified arborists (S=2, P=3.75, M=0).

Friday, October 6 Fee: $135 (includes lunch)
9:00 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.
Friday, October 06, 2017 at 9:00 AM
Attendees: 1 $ 135.00 ea.

Tree Canopy Conference
Green Infrastructure in the Urbanized Environment

These are challenging times for the communities responsible for maintaining a healthy tree canopy. There seems to be an alarming spread of blights, infestations, and extreme weather affecting our trees resulting in a diminishing tree canopy. Leafy, arching canopies of elm, ash, oak, and London plane trees over our streets and parks are declining. As park, municipal, and college campus managers, we must adapt and learn from other professionals who will be sharing their successful tree canopy strategies with us during this day-long conference.

Friday, October 13, 2017, at Haverford College, Stokes Hall Auditorium.
Fee Per Person- $135- Registration includes lunch, break refreshments, and reception.

This conference carries 5 CEUs for ISA certified arborists (Science= 0.5, Practice=0, Management=4.5).

Cancellations received by October 6 will be fully refunded less a $10 processing fee.

Click here for direction to the main parking area at Haverford College.

Friday, October 13, 2017 at 8:15 AM
Attendees: 1 $ 135.00 ea.
Attendees: 1 $ 80.00 ea.

Pruning Deciduous Trees
Vince Marrocco
Chief Horticulturist, Morris Arboretum

Pruning young trees for healthy structural development is cost-effective care. This class will explain how recent research on pruning has changed both practice and understanding. Pruning strategies for trees of different ages will be stressed to maximize tree longevity and structural health. In addition, techniques will be discussed to help tree managers evaluate the arboricultural work of others under their supervision. The morning will consist of a lecture and demonstration. The afternoon will feature supervised, hands-on pruning. Please bring a hand pruner and a small pruning saw.

This course carries 5 CEUs for ISA certified arborists (S=0, P=5, M=0).

Thursday, October 19 (Rain date: October 20)
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Fee: $135 (includes lunch)
Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 9:00 AM
Attendees: 1 $ 135.00 ea.

Caring for Aging Trees
Robert Wells
Associate Director, School of Arboriculture, Morris Arboretum

Rob Zastrow
Bartlett Tree Experts

One of the most important developments in urban forestry in the last 20 years is the understanding that large diameter trees provide far greater ecological benefits than smaller trees. Large canopy trees are able to sequester carbon, remediate air pollutants, prevent erosion, ameliorate temperatures and build complementary soil, plant, and animal communities much more effectively than small trees. Trees, like all living things, survive through the transfer of energy. Energy relations are constantly changing as trees age, decline, and die. Often structural problems occur that may require the use of props, cables, or through rods. The astute arborist should be aware of the changes that occur as trees in the built landscape age in order to provide the best advice and management recommendations to their clients. We will examine age appropriate pruning techniques and well as structural problem identification and remediation techniques.

This course carries 5.5 CEUs for ISA certified arborists (S=1.5, P=2, M=2).

Tuesday, October 24
9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Fee: $135 (includes lunch)
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 9:00 AM
Attendees: 1 $ 135.00 ea.

Field Identification of Landscape Trees
Ken LeRoy
Certified Arborist Representative, John B. Ward Tree Experts

Join us for a two-day class on the identification of woody landscape plants for urban and suburban landscapes. The class will cover both deciduous trees and conifers. Arborist and horticulturist Ken LeRoy will show us how to use a dichotomous key to identify plants and will explain the terminology used in keys to describe plant characteristics. He will also discuss the physical characteristics used to group plants into families. We will go on a tour of the Morris Arboretum to see specimens of the plants we discuss. You may want to purchase the Sibley Guide to Trees, a good reference for tree identification. Please dress for the weather.

This course carries 12 CEUs for ISA certified arborists (S=6, P=6, M=0) and 6 CEUs for Pennsylvania landscape architects.
DATE CHANGE: NOW Thursday and Friday, November 2 & 3

9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Fee: $270 (includes lunch)
Thursday, November 02, 2017 at 9:00 AM
Attendees: 1 $ 270.00 ea.

An Ecological Approach to Waterway Stabilization
John W. Munro
Professional Applied Ecologist

This two-day class focuses on projects in both urban and suburban settings. On the first day we will focus on understanding watersheds, streams, and river dynamics and the way that water carves the land in natural and in built landscapes. On the second day we will consider designing for restoration, techniques, practices, plantings, and materials for ecological restoration of waterways. A variety of design approaches and strategies will be provided. Handouts will include professional level graphics and selections from installed projects. A selection of published documents, materials samples, design formulae, and project reports will be available for inspection in the classroom. John has worked as a professional applied ecologist for over 40 years. His work on wetlands, waterways, and shorelines includes projects all over eastern North America. He has worked on many projects including inventories, design, permitting, installation, and monitoring. His design approach uses the most ecologically appropriate methods, structures, materials, and plantings possible. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at universities, as well as professional seminars.

This course carries 12 CEUs for ISA certified arborists (S=6, P=0, M=6) and 12 CEUs for Pennsylvania landscape architects.

Two Wednesdays, November 1 & 8
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Fee: $280 (includes lunch)
Classes scheduled every week on Wednesday starting 11/1/2017 and ending 11/8/2017 at 9:00AM
Attendees: 1 $ 280.00 ea.

Native Wildflower Meadows: Let's Get Real
Larry Weaner
Principal, Larry Weaner Landscape Design Associates

Demand for native meadows, particularly as an alternative to lawn, is increasing, and yet few types of landscape plantings are more misunderstood than the native wildflower meadow, with many failures resulting from inadequate planning and the use of poorly adapted plants. Far better results can be obtained when the plants and processes used reflect the ecological character of our naturally occurring meadow communities. More than one-year wonders, meadows modeled on these ecosystems can
provide long-term, easily managed landscapes that harbor a myriad of wildlife and provide color and texture throughout the year. In this all-day, in-depth workshop, Larry Weaner will discuss the design, implementation, and management of native meadows, using a series of case studies featuring large and small-scale meadows as well as projects ranging in age from initial establishment to over ten years in existence. He will also illustrate how garden design principles can be used in the meadow for subtle visual effect and to create graceful transitions to more formal garden areas. Larry Weaner has been creating native landscapes since 1977. He founded Larry Weaner Landscape Associates in 1982 and has gained a national reputation for combining ecological restoration with the traditions of garden design.

This course carries 6 CEUs for ISA certified arborists (S=3, P=0, M=3) and 6 CEUs for Pennsylvania landscape architects.

Thursday, November 2
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Fee: $140 (includes lunch)
Thursday, November 02, 2017 at 9:00 AM
Attendees: 1 $ 140.00 ea.

ISA TRAQ - Tree Risk Assessment Qualification

The TRAQ course was created by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). This training opportunity is sponsored by the Penn/Del Chapter of the ISA and hosted by the Morris Arboretum. The course will provide a high level of training for arborists, landscape architects, and landscape management professionals in the fundamentals of tree risk assessment. This qualification promotes the safety of people and property by providing a standardized process for assessing tree risk.

TRAQ is a two-day course followed by a ½ day assessment that includes both a written and a field component. The course prepares the participant to take the TRAQ exam to become ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified. It is required that you attend the course and successfully pass the exam in order to receive the ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification. The content of this course will focus on the following areas: tree biology and mechanics, tree inspection and assessment, data analysis and risk categorization, and risk reporting.

The Tree Risk Assessment Qualification is valid for five years from the date the exam is passed. The qualification holder is required to retake the course and pass the exam every five years in order to maintain the qualification. To be able to register for the course and take the exam, you must have earned one of the following credentials: ISA Certified Arborist® or ISA Board Certified Master Arborist ®; ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified; a national certification or certificate in Arboriculture; Licensing or certification from an approved State/Province program; SAF Certified Forester; ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist (RCA) Status; a degree in arboriculture, urban forestry, traditional forestry, or horticulture from an accredited college or university.

Confirmation packets are shipped three weeks prior to the start of class. Bring these materials with you to the class. The class takes place at Morris Arboretum, 100 East Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118.

This course carries 14.5 CEUs for ISA Certified Arborists® and ISA Board Certified Master Arborists® (P=6, M=6, S=2.5)

Thursday, Friday, November 9 & 10, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday, November 11, 8 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.

Registration deadline: October 11, 2017

Irregular classes scheduled starting 11/9/2017 and ending 11/11/2017 at 8:00AM
Attendees: 1 $ 650.00 ea.
Attendees: 1 $ 750.00 ea.

Practical Business Management for the Small Contractor
John Smithmeyer
Vice President and Northeast Regional Manager for F.A. Bartlett Tree Experts

As a practicing field arborist or landscaper you may never have thought of yourself as a contractor, but in fact, you are. A tradesman or small businessman who contracts to do specific work for remuneration is considered to be a contractor in the eyes of the law and the IRS. As such, many guidelines and best practices for contractors can be beneficial for you or anyone who is involved in the running of a small business. In this day-long presentation, John will cover basic procedures and practices for office management, accounting, and budgeting, as well as money management and tax implications. He will emphasize standard practices in the arboricultural profession that makes it possible to deliver quality service, retain key clients, and avoid some of the common pitfalls of business management.

This course carries 5.75 CEUs for ISA certified arborists (S=0, P=0, M=5.75).

Thursday, November 16
9:00 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Fee: $140 (includes lunch)
Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 9:00 AM
Attendees: 1 $ 140.00 ea.

Designing Native and Ecological Plant Communities
Claudia West
Ecological Sales Manager, North Creek Nurseries

Join us as we translate ecological principles of wild plant communities into planting design tools that will help you create better planting. This interactive workshop will introduce you to the science behind stable and lasting plant combinations. You will learn the skill of creating plant communities in four hands-on design exercises and practice this technique in a hypothetical planting project at the end of the workshop. Functional and ecological plantings like rain gardens and meadows are gaining in popularity but also face severe challenges. They often fail to wow the public, offer a low level of ecological function, and simply don’t survive in low budget maintenance environments. We won’t solve these issues if we continue to compare planting design to painting on canvas and perceive plants as individual objects in space. It is time for a new approach—a plant, community-based method that has evolved in the world of ecological science.

This course carries 5.5 CEUs for ISA certified arborists (S=2.75, P=2.75, M=0) and 6 CEUs for PA landscape architects.

Friday, November 17
9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Fee: $150 (includes lunch)
Friday, November 17, 2017 at 9:00 AM
Attendees: 1 $ 150.00 ea.

2017 Morris Arboretum · 100 E. Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118 · 215-247-5777