Kasey Krouse - Knoxville's Urban Forester and a tree on my house.

To say that this past week has been eventful is a complete understatement. My wife and I awoke on this past Tuesday at two a.m. to a thundering rumble only to find a gigantic oak tree on our roof and in our house! And when I say gigantic I mean GIGANTIC. The tree collapsed our living room ceiling and totaled our van.

Oak tree on our house and van! 

Oak tree on our house and van! 

Ironically, this week at the monthly East Tennessee ASLA  (American Society of Landscape Architects) meeting Kasey Krouse came to present on 'Tree Planting and Preservation Practices for an Urban Environment.' What are the odds right? Kasey has a unique position here in Knoxville. He is the city’s Urban Forester.

Having an urban forester working for the city is a huge plus for the landscape architecture profession in Knoxville. Having such a position appointed by government funds and leaders also indicates the mindset of  locales leaders.

Krouse brought a message highlighting the importance of proper planting and care techniques for trees in an urban environment. As he travels, he often speaks about five main topics. 1. Public safety 2. Expansion of urban tree canopy 3. Protection of urban tree canopy 4. Maintenance of public trees and 5. Education (which is exactly what he was doing with us).

Tree roots, according to Krouse, are relatively flexible with their habitat. Like him, we have all most likely seen the odd and unusual forms which tree roots can take. As long as they have water and oxygen (and proper soil compaction) a tree will do relatively well. Krouse also helps combat the erroneous public and professional conception that root structures are simply a mirror of the canopy above ground. Root structures typically are shallow and wide spreading in growth, often extending two to three times the width of the tree canopy. Further into the presentation Krouse gave tips on providing for root and trunk protection during construction phases.

While managing trees is a large part of Kasey's job, educating workers and the public about proper planting practices is equally important.  Understanding how deep to place trees, how much to mulch trees and what soil systems to provide trees is essential. These practices help protect the future success of a tree and the investment from the city and private property owners. Not only does Kasey consider individual tree health, he looks at the larger context, which is the Urban Tree Canopy.

This past week at SWH we were ramping up for a busy fall schedule and some high end advertisement. In order to be ready for this I have been spending a lot of time beefing up the social media accounts ensuring that they are full, functional, and engaging. Part of this beef up includes wrapping up site photography as the LimeLite Hydrangeas come into bloom. I was able to shoot and edit a few locations this past week. I was gone a few days in order to take care of the tree on the house too. All in all, it was a good week to be interning and alive.

A quick lunch sketch from the week. 

A quick lunch sketch from the week.