Dr. Gary Watson

The Morton Arboretum

As Head of Research at The Morton Arboretum, Dr. Gary Watson leads the work of the Arboretum’s research staff. As a researcher, his central interest is in urban tree roots—understanding how to keep trees healthy in urban landscapes by maintaining a healthy balance between the crown and the root system.

Gary is the author of numerous technical articles on urban tree root system management, tree planting, tree care, and urban forestry and co-author of The Practical Science of Planting Trees (International Society of Arboriculture, 2013). He is editor in chief of the journal Arboriculture and Urban Forestry and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Environmental Horticulture. He is past president of the Illinois Arborist Association, the International Society of Arboriculture, and the Arboricultural Research and Education Academy. Gary Watson has been honored by the International Society of Arboriculture with its award for Arboricultural Research and the Richard W. Harris Author's Citation Award and by the Illinois Arborist Association with its Award of Merit and Honorary Life Award.


Track: Arboriculture, Turf & Landscape Management
Jan 24 2017 - 3:15pm

Sound tree planting practices must be based on sound science.  This presentation, based on the ISA book of the same title, is an up-to-date synthesis of the research devoted to planting urban trees that can be used to understand and implement the...

Track: Arboriculture
Jan 24 2017 - 4:15pm

Up to 80% of urban tree problems originate below ground. Urban environments must provide the same essential soil resources as natural environments if trees are to maintain a healthy balance between the crown and root system.  By understanding...

Track: Arboriculture, Employees Only
Jan 25 2017 - 8:00am

Every step in growing and planting trees for urban landscapes can increase the depth of the roots if not done properly. Root pruning during transplanting can shift the location of the major lateral roots forming the root flare.  Cultural...

Track: Arboriculture
Jan 25 2017 - 9:00am

When trees are planted in paved areas, underground infrastructure, soil compaction required to support a stable pavement surface and the impervious nature of the pavement itself effectively create a very limited space for the tree roots.  The...