Advanced Tree Risk Assessment - Level 3

8:00 am 5:00 pm


Smith College
16 College Lane
Northampton, MA
United States

Number of CEUs


This comprehensive, two-day workshop covers Level 3 Advanced Tree Risk Assessments and is separated into two distinct components. The first day focuses on classroom activities covering risk theory and methods of non-invasive site and tree assessment and diagnosis. The second day is field based in the use of a range of invasive diagnostic tools. Earn 15 ISA CEU's including BCMA! Instructors: Mark Duntemann of Natural Path Forestry and Giovanni Morelli of Arboricoltura Estense, Ferrara, Italy.

Day 1

8:00 Advanced Concepts in Risk Management

Forming an opinion on the risk associated with a tree is a complex task.  Many assessments fail to incorporate all of the required components.  This opening session details the elements of a thorough and informed opinion on tree risk.  The concept of As Low as Reasonably Practical will be discussed.

9:00      Elements of a Level 3 Advanced Assessment

The advanced assessment requires a greater level of details and rigor of the assessor.  This session highlights the diagnostic and documentation rigor required of an advanced assessment.

10:00      Break

10:15      Metrics

Methods of measurements and data validation will be discussed to assist in reinforcing assessment opinions.

11:00      Soil Analysis

This session will begin with a brief lecture on the scenarios that may require soil analysis followed by a series of hands on exercises that demonstrate methods to determine soil texture, organic matter content, and pH.  Narrative from a lab-produced soil analysis will be discussed. Online soil maps will also be accessed and discussed.

12:00      Lunch

12:45      Weather Data

The relevance of regional and site-specific weather data will be the subject of this session.  Online sites will be accessed to demonstrate the mapping of weather trends and weather fluctuations on specific days. 

1:30          Tree Biomechanics

Tree part failures occur when the demands on the tree part exceeds the capacity of the part to withstand the stresses created from the demand.  This session will discuss, through narrative and engineering formulas, the physiological processes at play in response to stresses.

2:15      Break

2:30      Target Presence

A significant factor in determining tree risk is the likelihood of a target being present.  It is the least understood of the three required factors and often ignored or misrepresented in litigation.  This session will detail methods through lecture and exercises for quantifying the likelihood of a target being affected by a tree part failure.

3:30      Pathology

The closing session for the day will discuss the six different ways in which decay fungi can access a trees system.  Ten typical urban fungi will be discussed.  Samples of each will be used as a primer to discuss the relevance and consequences of each.

4:30      End of Day

Day 2

8:00      Tomography

This opening session of the day will begin with a brief outdoor lecture on the process of tomography followed by hands on experience with two separate devices at three trees.  Handouts on the tomography output for each tree will be provided to each participant for a discussion on findings and interpretations.

9:45      Break

10:00      Resistance Drilling

Two different resistance drilling devices will be presented and discussed during this session.  Based on the groups discussion in the previous session, drilling points on the three subject trees will be selected for resistance drilling assessment.  Findings and interpretations will be discussed.

11:15      Root Plate Movement

A static pull test and root plate movement test will be demonstrated and discussed as potential tools for assessing root plate stability.

12:00      Lunch

12:45      Root Excavation

A tree with a visibly obvious above ground defect that potentially identifies a below ground issue will be excavated using a root excavation device.  Root health and structural integrity will be discussed.

2:30      Break

2:45      Aerial Inspection

The workshop will conclude with a session at a tree where the group will discuss advanced assessment needs of the subject tree and the procedures that should be followed for the assessment and documentation.

5:00      End of Course