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PhD, University of Illinois, Plant Pathology
As Lead Scientist at The Morton Arboretum, Gary Watson provides leadership in urban tree science. As a researcher, his central interest is in urban tree roots—understanding how to keep trees healthy in urban landscapes by maintaining a healthy balance between the crown and the root system. Trees must cope with challenges in urban environments that are not encountered in nature. We need to know how root systems react to these, and how to minimize them.
Gary Watson joined The Morton Arboretum research staff in 1986. He is the author of numerous technical articles on urban tree root system management, tree planting, tree care, and urban forestry and co-author of The Practical Science of Planting Trees (International Society of Arboriculture 2013). He is past president of the Illinois Arborist Association, the International Society of Arboriculture, and the Arboricultural Research and Education Academy. Gary Watson has been honored by the International Society of Arboriculture with its award for Arboricultural Research and the Richard W. Harris Author's Citation Award and by the Illinois Arborist Association with its Award of Merit and Honorary Life Award.