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Basics of Tree Biomechanics

January 28 @ 8:30 am - 2:30 pm
Instructor: Chris Madison CEUs: 5.0 ALMTU / 2.25 B-S, 2.25 B-P, 0.5 B-M

This workshop has reached capacity. Select REGISTER NOW to join our waitlist. We will be in touch if a spot becomes available.

This workshop will cover the basics of tree biomechanics, and how these principles can be used to guide pruning goals, tree risk assessment, and tree healthcare.

How have trees adapted to survive wind storms? When is a decayed tree no longer safe? How can we prune trees to increase strength through structure? If you have ever found yourself asking any of these questions, then there is an answer to be found in tree biomechanics. Tree biomechanics is the study of tree biology using engineering principles to better understand how trees have adapted to withstand various forces imposed upon them.

This workshop will cover the basics of tree biomechanics and show how to use the current findings in the field to better understand tree stability and wood strength. The goal of this workshop is to increase your knowledge of tree structure, and show how to use research findings to shape your arboricultural practices. The instructor will share how studies in the field are helping us learn more about tree behavior and predicting tree failure.

The workshop will include lectures plus interactive examples to learn how trees work. Workshop participants will examine tree samples to see and feel firsthand how taper, mass damping, and sway influence tree behavior.


Location: Vancouver Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver, WA 98661

  • 8:30am – 8:45am
    • Introductions
    • Review of workshop agenda
  • 8:45am – 9:45am
    • Review of basic tree morphology
    • Tree/plant cells and function
    • Wood structure basics
    • Reaction wood
  • 9:45am – 10:00 Break
  • 10:00am – 10:30am
    • Basics of Visual Tree Assessment
  • 10:30am – 11:30pm
    • Discussion of taper, branch aspect ratio, and canopy distribution
    • Review of studies and findings
    • Practical applications
  • 11:30pm – 12:00pm Lunch
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm
    • Discussion of trees and wind
    • Review of studies and findings
    • Practical applications
  • 1:00pm – 1:15pm Break
  • 1:15pm – 2:30pm
    • Bringing it all together
    • Pruning for structure


Chris Madison is a consulting arborist based in Bend, OR. Initially a philosophy major, Chris went on to study horticulture, receiving degrees in ‘Landscape Maintenance and Installation’ as well as ‘Restoration horticulture.’ He soon shifted to arboriculture when he discovered he could climb trees for work. While working in Seattle, Chris obtained experience with numerous advanced testing tools including micro-resistance drills, sonic tomography, and static pull testing. Chris is an ISA certified arborist, Qualified Tree Risk Assessor, and certified municipal specialist; American Society of Consulting Arborists registered consulting arborist. When not working with trees, Chris works on skis as an instructor and trainer at Mt. Bachelor.

Refund Policy

  • Cancellations made at least 10 days prior to the event will be refunded at 100%.
  • Cancellations made within 5-9 days of the event will be refunded at 75%.
  • Cancellations made within 1-4 days of the event will be refunded at 50%.
  • Refunds will not be made available for no-shows.

Late Registration

  • Participants are expected to enroll prior to the registration deadline.
  • Participants can register at the door of the event only if space is available. Individuals will need to pack their own lunch.
  • Late registration is possible on a space available basis. You can contact our office at (800) 335-4391. There may, or may not be, room available for those who show up without registering ahead of time for the workshop. We encourage you to register for the workshop in advance.

Allied Professionals are members of allied organizations. See our list of qualifying organizations.


Vancouver Water Resources Education Center
4600 SE Columbia Way
Vancouver, WA 98661 United States
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