Fearless Leader: Our Founder

Cass Turnbull’s latest book, Cass Turnbull’s Guide to Pruning, Third Edition was published in 2013 by Sasquatch Books and distributed by Random House.  She was also the author of The Complete Guide to Landscape Design, Renovation and Maintenance, available on our website in electronic format -- as a benefit of PlantAmnesty membership.

Cass Turnbull left the Seattle Parks Department in 1986 after 11 years to start her own landscape maintenance and consulting business.  One year later, she founded PlantAmnesty, a private nonprofit organization that now numbers nearly 1,200 members in 46 states and five countries.  PlantAmnesty's goal to "end the senseless torture and mutilation of trees and shrubs" has gained considerable local and national press as the organization strives to educate the commercial and public sectors on responsible, appropriate pruning and landscape management practices, establishing a standard of quality care for the urban ecology.

Born in Seattle in 1951, Turnbull studied for a liberal arts degree at Fairhaven College of Western Washington State University in Bellingham, Washington. She was a Washington State Certified Landscaper and a Certified Arborist--and taught horticulture at Washington State Vocational Schools. A veteran of the King County Master Gardener Program, she also studied horticulture at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture and at Edmonds Community College.

Turnbull lectured widely to parks departments, school districts, community clubs, commercial landscape groups, flower and home shows, and industry seminars.  She was frequently published and interviewed on the subject of pruning reform and won four awards for her work--which included not only teaching and lecturing, but also PowerPoint Presentations, instructive pamphlets, a quarterly newsletter, information booths, a how-to book, and YouTube videos.

Cass Turnbull died January 26th, 2017 while on vacation in Hawaii. She resided in Seattle with her husband, two cats, and garden.

Read some of the many memories and tributes to Cass here.