Cooperative Extension’s Pima County ‘Smartscape’ Program is partnering with the City of Tucson, on a new training course for City Streets Maintenance staff.
About 21 Department of Transportation Employees attended the class at the Pima County Cooperative Extension office near River and Campbell this past week.
“We partner with Smartscape, because we have a lot of crews that are out there maintaining the landscape throughout the city,” says Shawn Moore, Program Coordinator with the City of Tucson’s Department of Transportation.
“We want to make sure that they’re well educated, and that we’re doing the best we can, as far as taking care of the vegetation and the landscape out there,” Moore says.
Class-takers get some in-the-classroom time, as well as outside demonstrations and hands-on practice, as part of the 4-part series.
Three 4-part series of classes are scheduled for City of Tucson Employees this year.
“This is a great program that teaches our folks how to trim trees, how to visualize the tree in the future and where we want it to grow, and how we want it to grow so that we can trim it correctly,” Moore says. “I took the course and learned a lot. Things that I took home and take care of my own property with.”
University of Arizona faculty and local business professionals teach the research-based instruction, designed to promote best landscape management practices for the urban Sonoran Desert.
Instructor Juan Barba is a Consulting Arborist and Horticulturist, and has been teaching Smartscape classes for 3 years.
“This is a class about the care, maintenance and management of urban trees. The major parts are about anatomy and physiology, classes about decay and branches and how to keep branches from breaking, and tree problems – and what workers may see while doing their work – insects and irrigation,” says Barba.
“This is a refresher class for some, once they understand how trees grow – they can do a better job of maintaining trees,” says Barba.
City Employees say they’ve gotten a lot out of the classes.
Marc Avery is a Street Maintenance Inspector with the City of Tucson.
“The class has been great,” says Avery. “Juan is very knowledgeable - He’s showing us all the different ways of pruning and trimming the trees that are in the medians and on the roadside,” Avery says.
Classes under the Smartscape Program in Pima County are free.
“The City of Tucson Water fully sponsors the program, which provides over 100 classes each year for both landscape professionals and residential water users,” says Karen Hanshaw, Pima County Senior Program Coordinator.