The goal of Tree Keepers is to provide a corps of trained volunteers as a resource for local municipalities, school districts, and neighbor associations in our region. Tree keepers lead tree planting, pruning, and maintenance projects in our communities.
Missouri Tree Keepers series, spring 2023 – location and dates TBD
It has been said that it requires five years to plant a tree: one hour to actually plant it, and the remainder of the time to ensure that it becomes properly established. Research has shown that the average street tree lives less than ten years due to the harsh conditions of the urban environment.
While local municipalities are responsible for the preservation, protection and maintenance of all city trees, economic realities have limited the ability of some communities to provide adequate attention to young trees. Small and newly planted trees have the highest mortality rate and therefore need the most help; committed TreeKeepers are able to address these needs.
TreeKeepers receive training in environmental awareness and basic arboricultural principles. Through twelve hours of classroom time and six hours of outdoor training, participants learn about tree identification, site suitability, proper planting techniques, after planting care and pruning. Upon completion of the course, TreeKeepers are asked to give 24 hours of volunteer time to the Heartland Tree Alliance for municipal tree care projects around the Kansas City metropolitan region (it is not required to volunteer, although we highly recommend it). If you miss a class during the training, you can make it up at a later date!
The Urban Forest – an intro to trees and identification
Participants will learn about the social, environmental and economic benefits trees provide. The class will also give an introduction to tree identification, including leaf shape and arrangements and other characteristics used to identify trees. Participants will also learn about reference books and how to use a tree identification key and get hands-on practice using the key in the field. The class includes an introduction to how people can become advocates for the community forest. Upon completing this class, participants will:
- Understand the benefits of trees.
- Understand how to use a tree identification key.
- Understand tree identification characteristics, including leaf shape and arrangements, twigs, fruit, bark and form.
- Understand the various ways to advocate for the community forest.
Urban Soils and Basic Tree Biology
Participants will learn about soils, their function, physical properties, pH, and essential elements in soils. They also learn the basic parts of the tree and their function, as well as their role in the health and survival of trees. The course includes information on biological processes in trees. Upon completing this class, participants will:
- Understand the function and formation of soil.
- Understand the properties and components of soil and the impact they have on tree growth.
- Understand pH and the role it plays in nutrient availability.
- Understand fertilizers and how they relate to soil.
- Understand parts of a tree and their role in the health and survival of trees.
- Understand photosynthesis and other basic tree processes.
- Understand how trees respond to injury
Tree Planting (includes outdoor session)
Participants will learn why trees struggle in an urban environment. Participants will also learn about site characteristics and how to select the right species of tree for the right location. Proper planting techniques will be covered, as well as information on watering, mulching, fertilizing, and staking. This workshop includes an outdoor session where participants will get hand-on experience planting a tree. Upon completing this class, participants will:
- Understand the impact the urban environment has on trees.
- Understand site characteristics and how to select the right tree for the right location.
- Understand proper planting technique.
- Understand proper watering, mulching, and staking technique.
- Understand when trees need watered and staked.
Tree Pruning (includes outdoor session)
Participants will learn about proper tree pruning technique. This class will also cover the appropriate times to prune and the tools you should use. This session includes an outdoor session where participants will get hands-on experience pruning trees. Upon completing this class, participants will:
- Understand proper pruning technique.
- Understand when it is appropriate to prune.
- Understand the tools to use when pruning and the safe way to use them.
Participants will learn about the various insects and diseases that affect trees. This class also covers hazard trees from an informational standpoint only, understanding that hazard trees can only be identified by a professional. Upon completing this class, participants will:
- Understand the various diseases that affect trees.
- Understand the various insects that affect trees.
- Understand to whom you should report tree problems.
In addition to classroom instruction, the Tree ID and Pruning classes have two Saturday outdoor field sessions for hands-on learning. Classes are taught by trained, certified and experienced foresters and arborists, including staff members from the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Kansas Forest Service, the Extension services of the University of Missouri and Kansas State University, local counties and municipalities and local tree care services.
Although it presents a great deal of in depth information, Tree Keepers is not intended to be a substitute for professional certification. Graduates are asked to volunteer 24 hours to HTA, primarily in the care for young trees on public property in the Kansas City region. Those who donate 24 hours become designated as Tree Stewards.