top of page


  • Writer's pictureMarie Ambusk

Let's talk trees!

It’s interesting how one thing leads to another

· a hobby, to a passion, to a purpose ..

· a wild idea, to a concept, to a viable solution …

For many years, I have been learning about my favorite plants to grow – trees! Having the privilege to lead project TREEage for 12 years and learning from our kind and generous TREE TRIBE in VT (and beyond) has inspired me to work toward solving a very big problem facing urban trees – those trees that we plant along streets, in public areas and in our back yards.

When trees are grown in a container, there is a high likelihood that root defects form deep inside the root ball and if not corrected, the tree’s chance to mature and thrive is reduced by up to 98% - that is very bad ROI … (Return On Investment).

Our objective is to develop a tool and methodology to allow growers and buyer to know about these serious root structure issues and make corrections needed to solve the problem at the ROI … (Root Of It).

This problem is an unintended consequence in the nursery industry.

And it’s hard to fix what you can’t see!

Our Tree Root Examination and Evaluation System (TREES) is in the early stage of development using non-invasive ground penetrating radar (GPR) to image the root system of container grown trees from early stages of production until planted in the ground.

Preliminary testing in 2018 was successful and our discussions with the GPR scientists have been productive and encouraging. Our innovation will enable higher standards for nursery stock tree root quality and written specifications, which in turn will increase the lifespan of urban trees.

After 10 years of study and research and with cautious optimism our TREES ROI Team is ready to begin telling our story. On 8/6/18, I will present a poster of our vision and findings at the ISA Annual Conference and Trade Show in Columbus Ohio! We invite you to follow our blog and social media postings as we continue ONWARD – Let’s talk trees!

This is a good beginning and yes, we have a lot of hard work ahead.

No one said this would be easy – but it is very important.

Together we can, and we must … Grow Better Trees.

be well


36 views1 comment

1 Comment

Aug 05, 2018

Hi Marie! Glad to see you are still in tip top tree warrior mode! Thinking of all the hundreds of trees that I have planted, my push would be the municipalities and their approach to public tree planting. I would love to comment on future posts regarding same. Sorry I can't be in OH at the conference, but I know you will do great. BTW Jan and I now live on St Simons Island in GA a new and different environment, but I look outside at the street tree plantings and they are making all the same mistakes. All the best Jeff

bottom of page