Scott Jamieson, VP of Corporate Partnerships and National Recruiting at Bartlett Tree Experts, a family-owned national corporation, shares what’s happening today at Bartlett’s Tree Research Laboratory. It’s home to a mix of a working research grounds, a conference center, diagnostic laboratory, and a unique private arboretum. Get a peek into the kinds of tree research they’re up to and what it might mean for you. Here’s our interview:
SJ: Scientific research is the founding principle of the Bartlett Tree Expert company and it began with Dr. F.A. Bartlett when he founded the company in 1907. The current property, 350 acres south of downtown Charlotte, NC, was purchased by Robert Bartlett Jr.’s father back in the 1960’s. Originally, the arboretum/research grounds were 20+ miles from Charlotte but as the city has grown we’re now within the city limits.
When first purchased, the site was an old horse track with little else on it. Since then, Robert Bartlett Jr. has planted thousands of trees and shrubs making it one of the premier arboretums in the country. It has the largest magnolia and holly collections in the U.S. The site is an interesting mix of a working research grounds, conference and training center, diagnostic laboratory, and this very unique private arboretum.
SJ: Our diagnostic lab processes nearly 10,000 samples a year coming in from our arborist representatives from across the country. Our diagnosticians use the latest technology to make the best diagnosis possible and then transmit their findings electronically to our representatives who then inform their clients of the findings. Because we process so many samples in such a sophisticated manner, our lab is the only private diagnostic lab in the country that is part of the National Plant Diagnostic Network which acts like the CDC for plants.
We have several PhD researchers on staff who also conduct ongoing arboricultural research. They investigate the latest in arboricultural practices to make sure they’re effective so that we can bring the best to our clients and the industry as a whole. They look at things such as beneficial insects as a means of pest control, the latest in sustainable soil care utilizing biochar, root care, lightning protection best practices, etc.
SJ: We base it on trends we see, and what we anticipate for our clients. We always want to bring the research back to the place where it will positively affect our clients and their trees.
ACTrees: What’s happening today at the Laboratory? Any current research activities or results of note?
SJ: We’re doing a lot of research with biochar right now and have partnered with the Morton Arboretum on our biochar research. We’ve been doing the studies for three years and have seen very encouraging results for tree care. There’s also a lot being looked at with beneficial insects. Many clients want this for their properties, and we’ve seen excellent results so we continue to look further for more advancement in this area.
SJ: We publish much of what we do in the Journal of Arboriculture. Our research also finds its way into industry best practices such as our work around lightning protection. You can find some of our results on our resource library.
ACTrees: Is the Laboratory’s arborist training program open to anyone?
SJ: We host many programs at our conference center located on the arboretum grounds. During the year we will invite clients, industry groups, and associations to our facilities to learn and share.
SJ: Our grounds are not “open to the public” but we have so many friends, clients, and associates coming through on a regular basis it feels that way. Robert Bartlett loves to share this special place with people who appreciate trees and scientific study. If you ever want to visit or have your green profession group host a meeting in Charlotte, let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate your request.
Scott Jamieson, ACTrees Board Vice President, grew up among the Lake Michigan dunes in Gary, Indiana, where he gained an appreciation for the intersection of urban issues, trees, and environmental conservation. He applies those insights as a Vice President with Bartlett Tree Experts, an international tree care firm with 100 offices in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. He leads Bartlett’s national recruiting and corporate partnerships, with a charge to both expand the company’s circle of public, industry, private and nonprofit partners and attract new talent. He also heads the Bartlett Inventory Solutions team in providing innovative and technologically advanced tree management plans to clients across the country. Scott holds a BS from Purdue University, an MS from Michigan State University, and an MBA from DePaul University’s Kellstadt School of Business. He is married and has two children.