I spent much of my early career in arboriculture as a tree officer, and became very familiar with the phrase, ‘don’t get me wrong. I love trees, but…’ More recently, working as a consultant, there are occasions when a client will explain to me that it would be so much better if I agreed to the removal of a certain tree when writing a BS5837 tree report.
I have been surveying trees for a housing association this month. I have done work such as this before, and been requested to collect quite limited data sufficient to manage the tree stock for the then financial year. However, this task has been refreshing. Not only did the housing association seek guidance on how to proceed, enabling me to provide a more complete picture for them. The attitude of many of the residents has been so supportive of ‘their’ trees. ‘You’re not going to cut the trees, are you?’ has been expressed repeatedly.
On one site, a resident, busy sweeping up leaves, eyed me slightly suscpiously as I tagged a glorious old, somewhat battle-worn Sweet Chestnut, standing next to an old oak which, one suspects, has suffered from the ignorance of a previous generation seeking to contain spreading branches which cast too much shade. The resident, evidently proud of the communal garden in which we stood, reminded me that these two trees had one of them protection orders, so couldn’t be cut.
As I reassured him of my remit, I pondered how refreshing it is to meet people who appreciate their trees, and act as guardians for them. I remember a boss, who was unpopular for saying ‘no’ so many times, explaining to me that the trees have enough enemies; someone needs to stand up for them.
Mark Chester is a practising tree consultant at Cedarwood Tree Care, director of the Consulting Arborist Society and a former Tree Officer. A graduate in Amenity Horticulture, he holds the AA Technician?s Certificate. He is a Chartered Environmentalist and Professional Member of the Arboricultural Association and the Institute of Horticulture. As a professional arborist, Mark prepares tree reports for clients from is Herefordshire consultancy.