Team Tree Blog

Pruning Elms…Theo. Wirth Style

Wirth & Co Photo - Calhoun.jpgUrban forestry and arboriculture has changed quite a bit over the last 100 years.

Many old practices like cavity filling and wound painting are gone for good. Oftentimes, though, we can learn from the old-timers, like Theodore Wirth. Wirth was appointed Superintendent of Parks in Minneapolis in 1906 and was instrumental in creating this “City of Parks”.

In this photo we see Wirth (far left) and other Park Board Commissioners, posing with bare-root American elms.

Fast-forward 100 years to 2010 and we are applying pruning practices from this bygone era to trees in the 21st Century.

Craig - Theo Wirth.JPGCraig Pinkalla, arborist with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation board, stands next to a Princeton American elm he’s just finished pruning at Fort Snelling.

Since his days maintaining the urban forest in the City of Milwaukee, Craig has been a strong advocate of giving young trees a chance to become mature, productive shade trees. 

In a sense, we’ve gone “back to the future.”

by Chad Giblin


New Elms for Minnesota?

2010 marks the fifth year that researchers at the Urban Forestry and Outreach and Research Nursery  have been collecting, cloning, and screening Minnesota-Miller Park - Comp.JPGnative elm trees for Dutch Elm Disease (DED) resistance. Mature trees that have survived – and thrived – in areas where DED is rampant are prime candidates for this screening work.

Researchers in Robert Blanchette’s Forest Pathology Lab at the University of Minnesota have been working side-by-side with our scientists to inoculate selections with the DED fungus.

Outstanding specimens like this American elm located in Eden Prairie, MN may offer new options for trees in our increasingly threatened urban forests.

Photograph courtesy of Jeff Cordes – City Forester, Eden Prairie, MN


by Chad Giblin