Scientific Staff

Gary Watson, PhD

Lead Scientist Emeritus, Arboriculture

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As Lead Scientist Emeritus at The Morton Arboretum, Gary Watson provides leadership in urban tree science to a diverse team of scientists and researchers.

Gary joined the Arboretum’s 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). As a researcher, Gary’s 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.

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.


PhD, Plant Pathology

University of Illinois
Champaign, IL

  • Former president, Illinois Arborist Association
  • Former president, the International Society of Arboriculture
  • Former president, Arboricultural Research and Education Academy