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Midwest Tree and Shrub Conference

Resilient Plants for a Lasting Landscape
Presented in partnership between the Chicago Botanic Garden and The Morton Arboretum
A daylong conference featuring nationally recognized experts

Thursday, September 6, 2018
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Morton Arboretum
Lisle, Illinois

Early-Bird Pricing (Register before June 1, 2018)
$120 nonmember/$96 member of Morton Arboretum or Chicago Botanic Garden

After June 1, 2018
$130 nonmember/$106 member of the Morton Arboretum or Chicago Botanic Garden
Registration fee includes lunch, breaks, and free admission to The Morton Arboretum.

Register Now

Get the latest on the selection and care of hardy, versatile trees and shrubs from leading designers and plant experts. This can’t-miss day has been planned for anyone interested in trees and shrubs, from avid home gardeners and landowners to green-industry professionals (like nursery practitioners, arborists, estate gardeners, land managers, landscape designers, landscape architects, landscape contractors, parks and recreation professionals, and municipal foresters). Presented in partnership between The Morton Arboretum and the Chicago Botanic Garden, the conference will take place at the Thornhill Education Center on the scenic 1,700-acre grounds of The Morton Arboretum.


9 – 9:15 a.m.

Welcome Remarks

9:15 – 10:15 a.m.

Developed Landscapes, Developed Plants
Matt Lobdell, Head of Collections and Curator, and Kim Shearer, Tree and Shrub Breeder, The Morton Arboretum

The urban forest and the trees that comprise it play a crucial role in our developed landscapes. However, the growing conditions these trees face are often harsh, and few tree species are suited to withstand them. How can we support a greener landscape in the face of these challenges?  Matt Lobdell and Kim Shearer will discuss the growing conditions in urban and suburban landscapes. They will share how The Morton Arboretum selects and improves the best performing tree species for these areas and how new plant development has helped change the urban landscape. They’ll share a list of resilient tree selections recommended for planting in the Midwest.

10:15 – 10:45 a.m.

Coffee Break

10:45 – 11:30 a.m.

Enhance Your Landscapes: Ornamental Shrubs for the Midwest
Heidi Hesselein, Vice President, Pleasant Run Nursery

Each year, new shrubs appear in the marketplace with advertisements of advances in quality, function, and beauty. However, the old “work horses” and garden-worthy natives still have an important place in the landscape. With an eye on these criteria, Heidi will share her list of shrubs—new, old, and native—that will enhance a sustainable Midwest landscape.

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Future Impacts of Invasive Species and Climate Change on Pest Management in Landscapes
Gary Johnson, Professor, Urban and Community Forestry, University of Minnesota, Department of Forest Resources and Extension

A false sense of accomplishment often takes hold when newly planted trees and shrubs live past the nursery’s 1- or 2-year warranty. However, that doesn’t mean those plants will be thriving and contributing ten, twenty, or thirty years later. Dr. Gary Johnson will share ten steps for successful landscapes for the long term.

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.


1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Evolving Landscapes: Designing for Resiliency 
Ernest C. Wong, FASLA, APA, site design group, ltd. (site)

Closing in on three decades of practice, site design group, ltd. (site) has helped shape communities through landscape architecture in Chicago. Founding Principal Ernie Wong will discuss the evolution of the landscapes created by this award-winning firm as they have navigated the changing political and environmental climate over the years. Through a review of the firm's projects, ranging from riverfronts to streetscapes, public parks to affordable housing, rooftop amenity decks and large planning initiatives, consider new, innovative ways to address resiliency, sustainability, and social equity through design.

2:30 – 3:15 p.m.

Four-Season Resilience: Dwarf Conifers
Edward Lyon, Director, Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University

For all of their durability, four-season interest and beauty, dwarf conifers still remain the least known and most underappreciated plants by public and professionals alike. They may be dwarf in size, but they are enormous in impact. Get inspired to add dwarf conifers to your palette with ideas from Ed Lyon.

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.

Closing Comments


Continuing Education Units (CEU)

4 CEU credits for Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD)
4.75 CEU credits for Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES)
Up to 4.75 CEU credits for International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)


Symposium Location

The symposium will be held in the Thornhill Education Center at The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53 in Lisle, Illinois. Directions to The Morton Arboretum can be found at



We have reserved a hotel block at the Hilton Lisle/Naperville for a rate of $95 per night (plus tax). To take advantage of the group rate, book before Wednesday, August 15. (Use Group Code CMTS.)

Chicago Botanic GardenMorton Arboretum

Generously sponsored by
Bartlett Tree Experts