Posts By: Mark Chester

Tree Officers: An endangered species?

Local Governments across the land have faced major cut backs with funding in recent years, and many posts have been lost.  There has been a loss of tree officers, both in terms of numbers and experience.  I recently encountered a situation within Wales of someone without the relevant experience and background covering both trees and historic environment.  It wasn’t ideal, as the officer, doing their best, was unaware of the implications of a recently served Tree Preservation Order on the progress of regenerating a brown field site.

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‘Peer reviews; an enjoyable task?’

Being involved with the running of a magazine, I sometimes get invited to review books.  This can be a pleasurable task.  It does have its’ moments.  Occasionally, one is presented with a poor book, but this is not a regular occurrence, fortunately.  Last year, I had the pleasure of reading ‘Ancient and Other Veteran Trees’, edited (and largely written by) Dr. David Lonsdale.  And I got to keep my complimentary copy.

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The AA Annual Conference

I’ve been looking at the list of speakers for this year’s conference, and I’m impressed.  The following is but a summary.

Monday – Professor Cecil Konijnendijk, Dr. Peter Hobson, Dr. Glynn Percival, Dr. Dealga O’Callaghan

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The Value of Good Research

The topic of research has had an increased profile in recent years, with the issue of tree health in the face of a range of pathogens, and the work of Fund 4 Trees in raising funds to support some projects.  I recently interviewed Dr. Glynn Percival for a feature I plan to run in the Consulting Arborist Society Magazine in the near future.  Glynn values being associated with good research, and was preparing for a visit by Government inspectors who would assess the set up at the Bartlett Research Laboratories at Reading University.  Their hoped-for endorsement is something that Glynn clearly values.

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Young Trees

Last week, I was at Barcham Trees for the launch of the new ‘Young Trees: Achieving Longevity in the Landscape’ course, written by Keith Sacre.  Keith chaired the Drafting Committee for the new BS5845 British Standard which was published earlier this year.  This course has enabled him to provide flesh for the skeleton that is the British Standard.

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When felling is the best way forward

As a tree care professional, and someone who cares about trees, people can be surprised when I visit a site and recommend felling trees.  Sometimes, I recommend quite extensive felling works.  This is usually in connection with woodland management.  I have worked on several sites, here in Herefordshire, and over the border in Caerphilly and down to Cardiff, as the tree consultant in connection with planning applications.  I have had the pleasure of walking through some of the most fantastic mature woodland, with species diversity and age classes.

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Hope for the bigger trees?

The management of tree risk has been a theme for me over the past few weeks.  At the end of June, I was at an event looking at the application of risk management using the ISA’s Best Management Practice guide as a basis.  We explored the issue of how to manage trees of species where there is a tendency to shed branches, such as Ash and Cedars.  There are some great, and often historically important trees within the landscape, many whose presence is due to our Victorian forebears desire to build up collections of trees with specimens from around the world.

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A refreshing end to a busy week

This time last week, I was manning the CAS stand at the ARB Show.  Friday saw truly glorious weather, so much so that I suspect a number of visitors possibly took advantage to slip off home early.  It was definitely an afternoon to sit in the shade with a glass of something cool and sparkling.  Saturday dawned with a 5am thunderstorm and further downpour at 10am, but by midday the sky was clear and visitors were soon emerging.

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A day at the ARB show

The annual ARB show has become a fixture in the diary here at CAS Towers.  Whilst the overall theme is undoubtedly practical arboriculture, it has a friendly atmosphere and is a great opportunity to present the society to a new audience.  I remember visiting the event in previous years, helping out at the ISA stand and then, in 2011, having a stand next to the ISA.  Russell Ball was ISA President, and we had great fun running events side by side.

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Summer’s here; time for the ARB Show

I am reminding myself, with temperatures in the teens and the sun as elusive as a mid-summer frost (it is that yellow thing sometimes seen in the sky), we are in the summer months.  The French tennis open is underway, and I am busy preparing for the AA’s annual trade show.  I first attended on behalf of Russell Ball, former president of the ISA, but for the past three years, have had a stand with the Consulting Arborist Society.

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