Survey Findings
{short description of image}
Of 468 surveys mailed, 206 responses were completed and returned, resulting in a 44% response rate. Survey findings are grouped into four major sections: urban forest health, training and information needs, preferred educational outreach methods, and detection and evaluation needs.

Urban Forest Health
Survey respondents were asked several questions about their attitudes toward the general issue of urban forest health. They were asked to give their assessment of the current condition and overall health of urban forests within their city or state, cite specific problems or issues adversely impacting urban forest health, identify urban forest health management strategies they deemed critical to preserving the health and sustainability of urban forests, and state to what extent urban forest health management strategies were currently being implemented within their city or state. Their reactions were sought to gauge their degree of interest or perceived need to improve the health and sustainability of urban forests, their perception of important urban tree health issues and management strategies, and their perception of whether preserving the health and sustainability of urban forests was currently an integral component of Urban and Community Forestry programs within their city or State.

Assessment of Urban Forest Health
Assessment of Urban Forest Health - pie chart When asked to give their assessment of the general health and condition of the urban forests in their city or State, less than 1% of respondents felt the general health of urban forests was excellent (Figure 1). Twenty-two percent ranked the general health as being good; twenty-seven percent ranked it as fair; and 16% ranked it as poor. Twelve percent felt general health was declining while 2% felt it was improving; however, in both cases, respondents did not cite the current health condition and a rating could not be determined.
Figure 1. Assessment of the general health and condition of urban forests
Sixteen percent felt the general health was variable within their State, by location, and ranked it lower in smaller, rural communities that suffered from lack of program funds and urban forest health expertise. Four percent of persons surveyed did not answer this question.

Specific factors cited to be adversely affecting the health of the forests were of interest and were recorded (Table 1). Nearly all of the factors cited related to specific tree health problems. Lack of tree care and maintenance was the single most common factor cited by respondents to be adversely affecting the health of urban forests. Post-planting neglect of young trees (lack of water and pruning), and the lack of pruning and maintenance of mature trees were the most frequently cited tree maintenance problems. Environmental stress associated with urban sites was the second most frequently cited factor adversely affecting urban forest health. Soil compaction, poor soil quality, pedestrian traffic, construction and sidewalk reconstruction damage were the most frequently cited environmental stress problems. Insect and disease pests were the third ranked factor adversely affecting urban forest health with Dutch elm disease, oak wilt, hemlock woolly adelgid, ash decline and oak decline being the most frequent cited pest problems. Improper tree and site selection, improper planting techniques, lack of species diversity, and old age were also cited as factors adversely affecting the health of urban forests.

Table 1. Most Frequently Mentioned Factors Adversely Affecting the Current Condition of Urban Forests
Factors Adversely Affecting
the Health of Urban Forests
Specific Topics
Lack of Tree Care and Maintenance Post-planting neglect of young trees (lack of watering and pruning); lack of pruning and maintenance of mature trees.
Urban Environmental Stressors Soil compaction; poor soil quality; pedestrian traffic; construction and sidewalk reconstruction damage.
Insect and Disease Pests Dutch elm disease; oak wilt; hemlock woolly adelgid; ash decline; and oak decline.
Improper Species/Site Selection No specific topics cited.
Lack of Species Diversity No specific topics cited.
Improper Planting Techniques Inadequate spacing for root development; planting too deeply; failure to remove burlap and wires.
Old Age of Urban Forests Declining condition of old trees and the need to implement reforestation practices.

Long-Term Tree Care Critical To Urban Forest Health
When asked to identify long-term tree care and maintenance strategies they deemed to be critical to the health and preservation of urban forests, over 95% of respondents selected seven strategies: proper tree pruning techniques, proper site and species selection, minimizing construction damage, insect management and control, tree health monitoring, disease management and control, and hazard tree evaluation and management (Table 2). Fertilizing and watering needs (88% of respondents) and natural disaster planning and mitigation (44% of respondents) were also selected to be critical urban forest health management strategies.

Table 2. Long-Term Tree Care Critical to Urban Forest Health
Long-Term Tree Care
and Maintenance Strategies
% of Total
Proper Tree Pruning Techniques
Proper Site and Species Selection
Minimizing Construction Damage
Insect Management and Control
Tree Health Monitoring
Disease Management and Control
Hazard Tree Evaluation and Management
Proper Fertilizing and Watering Techniques
Natural Disaster Planning and Mitigation
99%
98%
98%
96%
96%
95%
95%
88%
44%
Preservation and Sustainability of Urban Forests
Preservation and Sustainability of Urban Forests - pie chart When asked if preserving the health of urban forests should be an integral component of Urban and Community Forestry Programs, 99% of respondents agreed that it should be (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Preserving the health of urban forests: should it be an integral component of Urban and Community Forestry programs?
Preserving the health of urban forests: is it an integral component of Urban and Community Forestry programs? Less than half of those surveyed, however, felt that preserving the health of urban forests was an integral component of the existing Urban and Community Forestry programs in their city or State (Figure 3).
Figure 3. Preserving the health of urban forests: is it an integral component of Urban and Community Forestry programs?
Training and Information Needs
Survey respondents were asked to review a list of long-term tree care and maintenance subject areas and identify those in which they would like to receive training or printed information. Respondents were then asked to identify specific topics, within the major subject areas, in which they would like to receive training and printed information. This information was sought for use in developing educational outreach programs that specifically target identified training and printed information needs of urban forestry professionals and their constituents within the Northeastern Area.

Respondents expressed interest in receiving training within all long-term tree care and maintenance subject areas listed in the survey (Table 3). Approximately 30-40% of respondents requested training in the areas of hazard tree evaluation and management, disease management, tree health monitoring and natural disaster planning and mitigation. Approximately 20-30% of respondents requested training in the areas of insect management and control, minimizing construction damage, and proper site and species selection. Proper tree pruning techniques (19% of respondents) and proper fertilization and watering techniques (17% of respondents) were identified as training needs.

Table 3. Training Needs, by Subject Area
Training Needs % of Total
Requesting Training
Hazard Tree Evaluation and Management
Disease Management and Control
Tree Health Monitoring
Natural Disaster Planning & Mitigation
Insect Management and Control
Minimizing Construction Damage
Proper Site/Species Selection
Proper Tree Pruning Techniques
Proper Fertilization and Watering Techniques
37%
33%
32%
30%
28%
27%
23%
19%
17%


Respondents expressed interest in receiving printed information within all long-term maintenance subject areas listed in the survey (Table 4). Approximately 70-75% of respondents requested printed information in the subject areas of insect management and control, tree health monitoring, minimizing construction damage, and disease management and control. Approximately 60-70% of respondents requested printed information on proper fertilization and watering techniques, hazard tree evaluation and management, and proper tree pruning techniques. Printed information on proper site and species selection (58% of respondents) and natural disaster planning and mitigation (57% of respondents) were also requested.

Table 4. Printed Information Needs, by Subject Area
Training Needs % of Total
Requesting Training
Insect Management and Control
Tree Health Monitoring
Minimizing Construction Damage
Disease Management and Control
Proper Fertilization and Watering Techniques
Hazard Tree Evaluation and Management
Proper Tree Pruning
Proper Site and Species Selection
Natural Disaster Planning and Mitigation
73%
73%
72%
70%
68%
60%
60%
58%
57%


hen asked to identify specific topics they were in need of training and printed information, respondents selected the following topics within the major long-term maintenance subject areas (Table 5).

Table 5. Specific Training and Printed Information Needs, by Major Subject Areas
Major Subject Area Specific Training and Printed Information Needs
Hazard Tree Evaluation and Management Evaluation and management techniques; practical “How To” manual for municipal arborists; inventory systems; species-specific hazard tree evaluation data; liability issues; costs associated with hazard tree losses; the role of hazard trees in natural disasters.
Disease Management and Control Updates on new and common diseases; common abiotic disorders; field diagnostic techniques; oak wilt, declines of oak, maple, and juniper; ash yellows; Verticillium wilt; girdling root syndrome; root decay; wood decay; biological and environmentally friendly control strategies.
Tree Health Monitoring Assessment techniques for large and small communities; develop a “How To” informational brochure for non-professionals; guidelines on how to organize a Statewide program.
Natural Disaster Planning and Mitigation Legal responsibilities; detailed example of systems that have worked; regional planning strategies; organizing natural disaster response teams; timeline for post disaster activities; coordination of municipalities and utilities; sources of technical and financial assistance.
Insect Management and Control Updates on new and common insect pests; biological and environmentally friendly control strategies; insecticides: timing and efficacy; insect biology and ecology; gypsy moth; woolly adelgid; Japanese beetle; borers and mites.
Minimizing Construction Damage Management guidelines to minimize tree damage during construction; proper installment of fencing; use of mulch to reduce soil compaction; how to maintain soil quality; impacts of grade changes; mitigating existing problems (soil compaction, grade changes, root damage); education of contractors and utility companies on the value of trees and proper tree management techniques during construction.
Proper Site and Species Selection General guidelines; species specific information on tree car maintenance needs; new varieties of plants; modification and improvement of urban planting sites.
Proper Tree Pruning Proper pruning techniques; pruning guidelines for young vs. mature trees; utility and street clearance issues.
Proper Fertilization and Watering Techniques Guidelines for young vs. mature trees: how to and when; site-specific recommendations: sandy vs. clay soils; trees in decline; soil testing and fertilization.
Other Street tree inventory systems with GPS/GIS; public education: inform city leaders and policy makers on the value of trees and urban forest health issues; urban forestry publication listing; fund-raising techniques.


Preferred Educational Outreach Methods
Survey respondents were asked to review a list of educational outreach methods and rank the degree of effectiveness for each method (Table 6). This information was sought for use in developing educational outreach programs that deliver information to clients using methods they prefer and feel are most effective.


Over 90% of respondents agreed that one- to two-page fact sheets, “How To” informational brochures, and workshops were effective educational outreach methods. Pest alerts, reference books, State conferences, videos, regional conferences, and popular magazine articles were selected by approximately 80-90% of respondents as effective methods. Slide sets and press releases were selected by 77% and 70% of respondents, respectively. Just over half of respondents agreed that posters, Internet, interactive videos, and CD-ROMs were effective methods. The Internet and interactive videos and CD-ROMs may gain popularity as people become more familiar with them and discover the full range of capabilities of the Internet or interactive computer software. Other methods suggested (8%) included radio and TV spots (3%), field demonstrations (1%), public presentations (1%), newsletters (1%), grants (1%), and distance learning techniques such as teleconferencing and video conferencing (1%).

Table 6. Preferred Educational Outreach Methods
Educational Outreach Methods % of Total
Strongly agree/agree
Fact Sheets 95%
“How To” Informational Brochures 93%
Workshops 92%
Pest Alerts 89%
Reference Books 88%
State Conferences 85%
Videos 82%
Regional Conferences 80%
Popular Magazine Articles 80%
Slide Sets 77%
Press Releases 70%
Posters 57%
Internet 56%
Interactive Videos, CD-ROMs 55%
Other Methods 8%


Respondents were asked to state their opinion as to whether it is more effective to produce two versions of informational pieces: one tailored for homeowners and another more technically oriented for professionals. Fifty seven percent of respondents strongly agreed, 29% agreed, 7% disagreed, and 3% strongly disagreed that producing two versions was the most effective approach.

When asked to identify key partners in the development and distribution of urban forest health management information, respondents listed twenty entities (Table 7).

Table 7. Key Partners in the Development and Distribution of Urban Forest Health Information
Key Partners % of Total
State Department of Natural Resources 55%
USDA Cooperative Extension Service 49%
State University Staff and Programs 19%
Community Groups 19%
USDA Forest Service 17%
State and Regional Tree Advisory Councils 14%
International Society of Arboriculture 14%
State Department of Agriculture 14%
Private Arborists and Consultants 8%
Other Professional Organizations 7%
Media 6%
Local Tree Boards 2%
Natural Resources Conservation Service 2%
Nurseries 2%
State Department of Transportation 2%
State Legislators and Politicians 2%
City Planners 2%
Utility Companies 2%
Public Schools and Libraries 2%
Industry Leaders 1%


Detection and Evaluation Needs
When asked if they needed assistance in the detection or evaluation of urban forest health problems or pests, five needs were cited:
{short description of image} Financial assistance for conducting pest surveys.
{short description of image} Assistance in educating town and city officials in recognizing the value of improving urban tree health.
{short description of image} Field training of staff at the State and community level in survey techniques and key pest identification.
{short description of image} Training of community leaders in program development, implementation, and evaluation.
{short description of image} Training in the use of GPS/GIS to survey and evaluate pests.
{short description of image}
Table of Contents
Return to Urban Forestry Publications and Info. | On-line Publications and Info.