Soil Biology, Planting Design among Topics Explored at ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO in Phoenix


The theme for the 2012 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO is Beyond Boundaries—Design, Leadership & Community. More than 5,000 landscape architecture professionals and students from across the country and around the world will gather in Phoenix, September 28 – October 1, to enjoy the fellowship of others from the profession and to reconnect with the fundamental elements of design. Key issues such as practice management, sustainability and stormwater management will be addressed by some of the country’s foremost experts in the field.

Each year, the ASLA Professional Awards program honors the best in landscape architecture from around the globe, while the Students Award program gives us a glimpse of the future of the profession. The ASLA Awards Ceremony will be at 12 p.m., October 1 in the Phoenix Convention Center. To learn more about the awards, click here.

Scroll down to see the collection of plant and soil programs, open for coverage with an authorized press pass unless otherwise stated:

Friday, Sept. 28

“SITES Core Concepts: Soils and Hydrology” – This full-day workshop presents an in depth examination of sustainable soils management and hydrology practices, as developed by the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES). 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

“Connecting the Tree to the Soil: Methods in Preservation During Construction” – Construction damage and soil compaction are common causes of tree death and decline, especially where wide protection areas aren’t practical during construction. Through a wide range of case studies, presenters will illustrate effective and innovative ways to preserve both trees and soil. 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.

“The Art and Science of Designing Native Meadows, Grasslands, and Woodlands” – Meadows, grasslands and woodlands offer many environmental, managerial and aesthetic benefits, yet designers often struggle with these complex ecosystems. This session will provide proven design, installation and management strategies for establishing sustained meadows and grasslands from seed and live plants. 1:30 - 3 p.m.

“Phytotechnologies: Using Plants to Clean Up Contaminated Sites” – Cost-effective, natural cleanup methods have a growing role in mitigating site pollution. Recent scientific studies will highlight the advantages and limitations of phytotechnology—whereby plants uptake and remove contaminants. 3:30 - 5 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 29

“Are Natives Overrated?” – Greater environmental awareness has designated native plant species as intrinsically superior choices to non-natives. Increasing disagreement among practitioners and scientists begs for a timely debate on the facts and opinions. This session offers a careful, no-nonsense and open reevaluation of this contentious issue. 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

“Natives and the Post-Industrial Site” – The urgent need for practical tree-selection processes for urban and brownfield sites warrant a careful and pragmatic reassessment of the “need for natives.” Addressing site assessment, soil remediation, planting regimen and area-wide biodiversity, panelists will put special emphasis on pragmatics and long-term maintenance. 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

“Soil Busters: Bringing Soils Back to Reality” – Soils are an integral element of a sustainable landscape, and this panel will present the realities of soil design and installation. Using Teardrop Park, the High Line and the World Trade Center Memorial as examples, the landscape architects involved will share what they learned. 1:30 - 3 p.m.

“Green Wall Planting Design: Using Plants to Create a Living Work of Art” – Professionals designing and installing green wall systems will discuss the aesthetics and pragmatics of bringing artistry and creativity to the green-wall plant palette. 1:30 - 3 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 1

 “Healthy Soils” – Soil impacts plant performance. These sessions will teach basic physical, organic and chemical soil properties for existing and proposed soil conditions for projects of all sizes. It will serve as a basis for healthy-soil design, developing soil solutions and writing or interpreting soil specifications, and it will also show how to analyze existing soils and preserve, reuse or modify them for the long term. 8 - 9:30 a.m. (Part I), 10 - 11:30 a.m. (Part II)

“A Modern Garden for the Sonoran Desert: Sunnylands Center & Gardens” – This presentation features the unique 15-acre Sunnylands Center and Gardens in Rancho Mirage, CA, an extension of a prestigious 200-acre desert retreat. The landscape architect designed a 9-acre interpretive desert garden that expresses the beauty, color, form and texture of the Sonoran Desert. 1:30 - 3 p.m.

“The Evolution of Native Plant Palette and Aesthetic: From Discovery to Design” During the past two decades there has been a complete transformation in the plant palette and design aesthetic for Southwestern landscapes. Learn how plant explorers, growers, educators, and landscape architects have partnered to accomplish a widespread shift toward sustainable and regionally sensitive landscapes. 3:30 - 5 p.m.

Working journalists attending the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO for editorial coverage are eligible to receive complimentary media credentials. The media credentials provide access to the EXPO floor, general sessions, education sessions, and the working press room with computers, internet access and refreshments.

Media interested in attending should contact Karen Trimbath at with their name, address, email, phone number, title and media organization. Due to limited space, journalists are strongly encouraged to register well in advance. All requests are approved upon a case-by-case basis, and ASLA may require additional documentation for credentials. For any questions, contact Karen Trimbath.

About ASLA

Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing nearly 16,000 members in 48 professional chapters and 76 student chapters. The Society's mission is to lead, to educate and to participate in the careful stewardship, wise planning and artful design of our cultural and natural environments. Members of the Society use their “ASLA” suffix after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Learn more about landscape architecture online at


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