Gary Watson

As Head of Research at The Morton Arboretum, Gary Watson leads the work of the Arboretum’s research staff. 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 soil environments that are not encountered in nature. We need to know how root systems react to these, and how to minimize them. Two approaches are used: attempting to direct more of the tree's resources towards root growth; and improving the soil environment.

Head of Research

Ph.D., University of Illinois, Plant Pathology

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 editor in chief of the journal Arboriculture and Urban Forestry and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Environmental Horticulture. 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.

2013 curriculum vitae
Gary Watson 2013 curriculum vitae (PDF)