Introducing Professor Elwood Prickelthorn, ; alter ego of Warren Hoselton, . Tree aficionado, internationally certified arborist, and supervisor of Toronto Island Parks, City of Toronto. What a mouthful. His impressive resume can be seen on the Professor Pricklethorn website.
Since Graduating from Humber College with a Horticulture and Aboriculture Diploma in 1982, Warren has worked passionately to promote and educate the next generation of tree-huggers throughout Canada and the US. That’s almost 40 years of dedication… I’m 40 years old in February…. I’m just going to let you digest that.
Warren takes the Professor on the road working with public schools and municipalities to teach the essentials of how trees work, and the importance of our sacred biome.
INTERNATIONALLY certified arborist?
Yes, the ISA, or International Society of Arboriculture is an international organisation of tree care professions that establishes tree care and service standards for professional arborists worldwide; to become a certified arborist, you must write a lengthy exam which covers in-depth tree care practices and standards. The exam and subsequent certification ensures that arborists worldwide are working in sync.
Does that also allow you to teach internationally as well?
Not really… It’s more of an accreditatioon regarding international standards of tree care/best practices.
There are a lots of DIY arborists out there. Thoughts?
DIY pruning… definitely lighter pruning than heavier! You don’t want to shock the tree by creating an unbalance with the crown/root system and also impede its ability to photosynthesize.
What are the risks aside from horticultural, when DIY errors are about?
Safety, for one. And tree damage or damage to your (or neighbours’) property and you. A zealot can easily get carried away thus exposing the trees to possible diseases or pests. At the end, you’ll be paying to either remove it or repair it. Don’t forget that any removing of trees without a permit can snag you a hefty fine from the city of Toronto! How much? It’s an escalating menu. It can be frustrating, but repairing a damaged property or body will be much worse.
So if I wanted a tree, but don’t know where to start, and probably don’t know anything about the costs of having a tree, and worry about rodents and pests and responsibilities of owning a tree, where do I go?
The city of Toronto runs a free-tree program! You go to the City of Toronto website and fill out a request for a street tree planting. This tree planting is for home owners who would like something nice on their property at their front lawn. If you want something in your back yard, The Toronto Parks and Trees is a non-profit organization that provides free trees for pickup! Information on tree care and specifications is also provided on the webpage.
I noticed these are native trees. What does that mean? And what do I do if I want something prettier?
A “native” tree is a tree whose natural habitat is found in your immediate environment – an organism that was not introduced from another environment that isn’t known to be part of that ecosystem.
You should still do some of your own research on tree size and height so you know what works for the space you have. These two places offer native trees only, so if you want something a bit more swanky, your best bet is to call a landscaper or visit a nursery yourself.
What about weed trees? How to I know if I have an undesireable in my yard?
Each province/city will have a list of invasive plants and animals/insects. Check with your municipality or your province. In Ontario, the governing body is OMAFRA It seems like a lot of work, but in the end, you’ll be glad you did it.
Soooo…Who is Professor Elwood Pricklethorn, really? How was the character of Professor Elwood Pricklethorn started?
Well I used to go in to the Toronto Island Public and Natural Science School as me and talk about trees. I think it was good but a bit boring so I decided to animate it after a trip to New Orleans in 2010. I bought a funky wig, glasses and a lab coat at a thrift store. Pricklethorn was essentially born in NOLA! It was easy for me to kick it all off there as no one knew me… I could let loose. So then I refined a program and made sure it’s flexible/adaptable for different age groups…. got better/slicker props and signage…
How can a school or organization book some time with the professor?
We offer in-class sessions or on-location nature walks called PEP talks (Professor Elwood Pricklethorn-Talks!) If you’d like a visit with me, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Teachers can view the details of the talk online at my website. I have been all over Ontario and parts of the United States with my PEP rallies and I’m always happy to do more!
Wow! Thanks for the great talk guys. A very informative conversation on tree resourcefulness.
I hope I have been able to provide some useful information about trees and the Professor!
Need Resources to find your tree?
Visit Ontario Trees to get to know your trees in our provincial biome.
Got a sprawling acreage and want it to look more cottage-campy? Try Forests Ontario for their 50 million trees program!
Google-ing Ontario Trees also brings up solid resources for your researching needs!
Happy 2018, and here’s to another year forward of Homesteading-ish!