SATURDAY, September 18



6:30 AM -  8:30 AM     

Rapid Response Guide to Urban Forest Insect and Disease Threats  |   Ann Audrey

This workshop will describe rapid response procedures to address current and emerging insect and diseases threats to trees in urban forests in Arizona. Environmental conditions impacting trees in urban forests will also be addressed. Information will include specific threats to different types of native and nonnative urban trees. Detailed information about specific threats will include scientific and common names, tree symptoms, how to identify the threat, geographic distribution, affected trees, exacerbating urban and natural conditions, severity scale of impacts, and the disease process. Treatment and management information will address environmental control, biological control, chemical treatment, mechanical management, and managing species composition. Resources will be provided to lead users to more detailed information about specific threats and response strategies.

 Ann Audrey

Speaker Bio:  Ann Audrey has a master’s degree in Water Resources Administration from the University of Arizona and advanced training in sustainable design. She is self- employed, working in the fields of rainwater harvesting, sustainable design, and urban tree management. She edited the 350-page American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA) Rainwater Harvesting Manual, which is used throughout the US to train rainwater harvesting professionals. Additional projects include developing guidance on expanding the use native and cultivated fruit and nut trees in Arizona through the LEAF Network (Linking Edible Arizona Forests), preparing water harvesting guidance for urban forests around Arizona, and developing best practices to increase the use of native trees to improve urban forest resilience. She is currently the project manager for a grant to develop a rapid response guide to insect and disease threats in urban forests of Arizona and New Mexico.

8:45 AM -  9:45 AM     

Citrus Pest Management and Cultural Practices for the Landscape Professional  Dr. Glenn Wright, U of A Cooperative Extension - Yuma Agricultural Center

Content of the course will include a description of the major insect, disease and weed pests that affect citrus in the low desert, including Asian Citrus Psyllid, whiteflies, scales, thrips, fungal and viral diseases, and the appropriate pest control measures. Weed control as it relates to citrus will be discussed. Other factors such as heat, cold, wind, nutritional stress, and water stress will be discussed as well as how those stresses can be mitigated by the use of proper planting techniques, pruning, nutrition, and irrigation.

Dr. Glenn Wright

Speaker Bio:  Dr. Wright has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Texas A&M; University. He joined the University of Arizona in August 1992, and is located at the Yuma Agriculture Center. He works with the commercial citrus, and date palm industries in Southwest Arizona and with other fruit-bearing crops, such as pomegranates and olives. His research interests encompass all horticultural and post-harvest aspects of these crops. Dr. Wright has developed a course titled Citrus and Date Production taught for the University of Arizona teaching program in Yuma, and he teaches citrus, date, and fruit tree culture to master gardeners and the general public across the state.

9:45 AM -  10:45 AM     

Identification of Bark Beetle Infestation in Arizona | Aly McAlexander, Az Dept of Forestry and Fire Management

This presentation is a general overview of the bark beetles found in Arizona. We will discuss native bark beetles found in Arizona; review the signs and symptoms associated with these beetles. By the end of the presentation attendees will be able to accurately identify bark beetle infestation and determine which beetle is the culprit. We will review management options and discuss other insects and illnesses that can have similar symptoms to bark beetle infestations.

Aly McAlexander

Speaker Bio:  Aly McAlexander obtained her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Ecology and Conservation. After working seasonally for the Forest Service for several years, Aly returned to school and received her Master’s degree in Botany in 2017 from Colorado State University. Aly’s coursework and master’s research focused on Forest Pathology. In March of 2020 she became the Forest Health Specialist for the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management.

11:15 AM -  12:15 AM     

Best Practices for Management and Control of Bark Beetles in Arizona | Christopher Jones, U of A Cooperative Extension - Gila County

Best practices for protecting trees from bark beetle attack is prevention through thinning, irrigating, slash and firewood management, and insecticide sprays. Lower stand densities and thinning can improve tree growth and vigor and promote greater plant diversity. Supplemental irrigation can reduce drought stress when practical for high value landscape trees . Fresh forest slash and firewood should be managed to minimize bark beetle habitat that may lead to increased localized beetle populations. Registered insecticides can be sprayed onto trunks to prevent beetle entry. Injection of systemic insecticides is being researched and may have targeted applicability depending on beetle species.

Christopher Jones

Speaker Bio:  Chris Jones is a Cooperative Extension Agent at the University of Arizona. He is responsible for the Agriculture and Natural Resources programs in Gila County. He conducts Extension programming in forest health, watershed, and horticulture education. Chris' mission at the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension is to improve lives, families, communities, the environment, and economies through applied research and education in Arizona and beyond.

12:15 PM -  1:15 PM      

Urban Stressors Leading to Tree Diseases and Disorders  |  Kasey Billingsley, Harmony Horticultural Consulting & Kristen BattafaranoHarmony Horticultural Consulting

Kasey and Kristen will present on how the urban heat island effect is impacting tree diseases and disorders in an urban desert environment. We will discuss how environmental stresses lead to tree decline, how to diagnose these diseases, and creative options for treatment of each tree disorder. We will also review proper water management to urban trees to help prevent tree diseases and disorders.


  • Environmental stresses which put trees at a greater risk of disease transmission
  • Diseases encouraged by elevated temperatures
  • How does heat stress lead to tree disease
  • How does irrigation management aid or reduce disease pressure
  • Recommendations for water volumes based on species
  • Human- caused diseases in an urban environment
  • How to diagnosis the disease or disorder
  • Symptoms, and signs of each disease/ disorder covered
  • Cultural practices to help prevent stress-related disease and disorders
  • Treatment options for each disease or disorder
  • Species that are now considered ‘intolerant’ of our hot city

Kasey Billingsley

Speaker Bio:  After receiving her degree in Urban Horticulture from Arizona State University, Kasey joined the green industry. She has worked for a horticultural supplier and landscape companies as an account representative and horticulturist. Since 2008, she has been working as a horticultural consultant. Her focus in recent years has been water management and directing landscape operations on high-end residential estates. She was honored to have been selected to work on the City of Phoenix Tree & Shade Community Committee to help implement the City’s Tree & Shade Masterplan to increase shade cover in urban areas. Kasey continues to volunteer her time educating professionals in landscaping though ALCA, ACTC, and the Arizona Nursery Association. She also (loudly) advocates for increasing the urban tree canopy cover in the Phoenix Metro area through tree preservation and protection as well as implementing best management practices for the urban forest. Kasey is an ISA Certified Arborist, holds an OPM certified applicators license, and is SLM and ACLP certified.

Kristen Battafarano

Speaker Bio:  Kristen has designed and managed five organic community and school gardens throughout the Phoenix area, including the University of Arizona sponsored Miracle Garden, an inner-city garden for youth which received media attention, national recognition, and awards for youth enrichment. Kristen was an instructor of edible gardening at The Desert Botanical Gardens. She has been a guest speaker at ASU, local sustainability conferences, and a garden instructor for both youth and adults all over the valley in both English and Spanish. Her extensive horticultural experience includes Landscape Supervisor, Nursery Production Manager of a 30-acre desert nursery, and Plant Biologist for Mount Rainier National Park. For over 16 years she had her own home gardening and landscape design business here in the Sonoran Desert. She was certified as a University of Arizona Maricopa County Master Gardener in 1997, and has received many other landscape trainings and certifications since. Today, Kristen works as an independent horticultural consultant and yoga instructor. Growing food in a sustainable way has led her to Aquaponics, raising food and fish in a symbiotic system. Her home yard, the Stone Soup Garden, was designed to teach and inspire sustainable garden living. She has hosted over 600 awe-inspired visitors, and she would love to help you create your own garden paradise!

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