2019 Tree Symposium

Learn about the great tree men and women of America, the many botanical taxa of maples, bringing back the American chestnut and dogwood and hazelnut breeding at Rutgers.

10:00 am – Frank Goodhart

Great Tree Men and Women of America

A chronology of those who contributed to horticulture and forest preservation in America from early colonial times to the early twentieth century. Beginning with Bartram followed by Franklin, Jefferson, Michaux, Johnny Appleseed, Morton, Marsh, Thoreau, Muir, Martha Fenimore Cooper, Sargent, Pinchot, Teddy Roosevelt and Mather. Highlights are given for each of their contributions, along with important governmental actions that took place along the way and how they shaped early American forest conservation.

11:00 am – Adam Wheeler


Join Adam Wheeler of Connecticut’s Broken Arrow Nursery for this informative and educational program that outlines new, unique and exceptional maples. Adam will showcase a broad diversity of options that are well suited for use in Northeast gardens. In addition to ornamental qualities he will highlight important cultural requirements and design considerations.

Adam is the Container Production & Horticulture Manager at Broken Arrow. He is a past recipient of the Young Nursery Professional Award from the New England Nursery Association and is the current Vice President of the North American Maple Society.

1:00 pm – Mike Aucott

Bringing Back the American Chestnut

Mike Aucott will discuss the importance and tragic history of this iconic tree, which once dominated Eastern forests but was virtually wiped out by an imported blight that appeared in the early 1900s. He will describe the challenges and the several varied strategies underway that are part of the effort to help propel the tree over what researchers have called “the cusp of extinction” and to re-establish it in the North American forest. Mike will include a simplified description of the genetics involved in developing a blight-resistant chestnut that can thrive in the forest environment. He will also discuss the importance of local efforts to find surviving Ameri- can chestnuts, and offer keys to help identify this tree.

Mike Aucott holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Rutgers University. He retired from his position as research scientist for the NJ Department of Environmental Protection in 2012, and now teaches chemistry at the College of New Jersey. He also does consulting work in energy issues, air pollution and climate change, and is a member of the American Chestnut Foundation. Mike has established a research orchard of 800 hybrid chestnut trees in Northern Pennsylvania.

2:00 pm Tom Molnar

Dogwood & Hazelnut Breeding at Rutgers

Tom will discuss his current work including germplasm exploration, collection, and evaluation. A major aspect of his current research is developing and characterizing genetic resistance to eastern filbert blight, a fungal disease which is the primary limiting factor of hazelnut production in eastern North America. Breeding objectives in both woody ornamentals and hazelnuts emphasize selection for high levels of disease and pest resistance and cold hardiness.

Thomas Molnar received his PhD from Rutgers University in 2006. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Plant Biology Department of the Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA). His research program concentrates on the genetic improvement and study of hazelnuts (Corylus) and large-bracted dogwoods (Cornus).

Fall is when trees come into their glory. Join us for a multi-faceted look at these critically important members of our ecosystem. Please bring a bag lunch.

This program is eligible for 4.0 Rutgers Master Gardener CEU’s.

10:00a - 3:00p
Haggerty Center
$40 members / $45 non-members
Saturday, November 9, 2019