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15th June 2012

Here in Cirencester for the ARB show.  The weather was better than expected (at least no torrential rain), but rather squally.  I was very relieved that the Consulting Arborist Society stand is a ‘T’ frame erected by our hosts.  Less substantial marquees suffered somewhat.  I visited the TreeLife stand and became an in promptu stand-in pole as a gust threatened to life the roof.

Talking to David Dowson and his team, I became aware of the challenge in disseminating developments within the industry.  David has encountered so many students unaware of changes to BS3998 that he has produced a summary of the new document.  I’ll be looking to make this available via the CAS on-line magazine.  It is so important that professionals are kept up to date, and I appreciate the efforts of the Arboricultural Association with their roadshow presenting the changes to BS5837 and the 2012 TPO Regulations.

It has been good networking and speaking with so many considering consulting work.  However, away from the office, I have appreciated the challenges of trying to manage on two fronts.  Yesterday was spent finishing off work before leaving, including sending a BS5837 report for an application to be submitted this week, having updated the report to reflect the changes in the standard.  I am also working on the summer edition of TreeLine, aimed for Barcham’s Big Barn, where more than 400 industry professionals will gather to hear updates on research and developments.  However, trying to complete proof reading away from the office is logistically challenging.  I suspect I will have to work on Sunday.

Now I am off to look at the quality of marquees on e-bay as we prepare to take CAS to APF 2012.  I saw a forecast for the summer, which suggests a few more gusts are ahead.  I don’t really want the stand to end up on another pitch!

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.

A View From The Treehouse

This has been a slightly unusual week for me.  There have been seminars hosted by Professor Claus Mattheck and also by James Urban with his Up By Roots presentation, an event being co-ordinated with the ISA.  Yet I haven’t attended either.  It has been a case of unfortunate timing, as a prosecution I have assisted with came to court this week.  I was due to give evidence on Monday in a week-long trial, and needed to prioritise this.

In the end, the date and venue changed, and I found myself available as a witness at 9.30 on Wednesday morning.  A change of plea resulted in no trial being needed, but too late for me to attend either seminar.  A little frustrating, as I was in court last week, for a case that was adjourned.  One of these days, I will get in to the witness box!  However, I did get to see the Olympic flame passing through the village of Bartestree in Herefordshire on Thursday.

The arboricultural calendar is beginning to get busy.  At the Consulting Arborist Society, we hosted the first Managing Special Trees seminar, led by the very experienced Rhod Taylor, at Arley Arboretum.  It was well received, and we plan to run it again.  We are getting ready for The ARB Show in Cirencester (find us at T19) and Barcham Trees’ Third Big Barn event on 20th June.

As editor of both the Consulting Arborist on-line magazine and the ISA’s TreeLine, I can see I shall be busy writing reviews for both events.

The structure at CAS is progressing.  I am now the Director, and Bob Widd is the Chairman.  This arrangement allows him to pursue the more typical ambassadorial role f Chairman, and I can focus on leading the society and developing strategy for it.  It feels as though we are progressing.

Mark Chester

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.

A View from the Treehouse

It is interesting how work can come in waves.  For me, the first three months were very busy, as I worked on several larger projects.  Speaking to other consultants, it seems my experience is not unique.

I am presently at Capel Manor for the Celebration of Trees event.  In particular, we will be looking at the 2012 Regulations for Tree Preservation Orders and Keith Sacre updates on BS8545 Trees to Independence in the Landscape.  And then there is the AGM, at which we will be considering the society’s constitution, and a redefined role for me.

Yesterday, I attended the second in the series of free seminars being hosted by Gristwood & Toms and the ISA (UK/I Chapter).  There was a most informative presentation on the UK i-Tree Eco pilot project that was run by Treeconomics.  It will be fascinating to see the impact of this work in other urban areas as more surveys are undertaken.  Work at Luton is being processed at present, and I am looking forward to reading the Torbay report when I get home.  Methinks there is editorial material for TreeLine and the CAS magazine…..

I am looking forward to an exciting future with CAS, especially as we look to develop further Areas of Professionally Competence.  Next month, we run the first ‘Managing Special Trees’ seminar at Arley Arboretum, led by Rhod Taylor.  Given his wealth of knowledge and experience, this should be most informative.

Meanwhile, with the spring edition of TreeLine being sent out to members, it is time to work on the summer edition.

Bye for now

Mark Chester

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.

An Apology and Update

To my regular reader, apologies for the absence of a blog for a while.  I have been busy working on a complex and demanding planning application, of which maybe more later.  Also, in January, I was appointed as editor of the ISA (UK&I) TreeLine Magazine.  I have been busy, but enjoying myself, meeting various personalities within the industry and researching for articles.  More on that later.  I now have the fun of writing material and chasing possible contributors.

I have also been active putting the CAS training programme together, and particularly confirming bookings for Capel Manor’s Celebration of Trees event.  We are launching a reviewed ‘Tree Valuation’ seminar/workshop for this opening to the calendar.

The on-line magazine continues to progress, and we have had contributions from some new writers, which is exciting.  It is also great to be able to link with the sites of associate organisations.  You’ll have to visit www.tree-industry-news.com to find out more.

With best wishes,

Mark Chester

Chairman, Consulting Arborist Society

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.

Learning how to be an expert witness, a new CAS magazine and report writing tips

I’m taking the Bond Solon Expert Witness course.

One of the ‘perks’ of running CAS is that there is such a range of training options to trial for the benefit of members.

Today was the ‘Cross-Examination’ day. We were subject to a grilling, sorry, detailed questioning on our chosen report. The instructor gently guided each of us in to the minefield of not sticking to the topic and beginning to speculate.  I think that we managed to avoid the traps, although the experience was pretty full-on.

I’m not sure if the others in the group were trying to tell me something; we started with 9 people signed up for the course and, due to various commitments, only 3 were still with me today. Still, we watched each other’s backs and came through fairly unharmed. I think.

Last week saw the launch of the new Consulting Arborist magazine. I’ve been producing a quarterly newsletter for members and interested observers. However, this new approach, on-line and bi-monthly, will allow space for more features and we will be developing an archive of material. Bartlett’s will be helping with info on tree problems, and Barcham’s  will provide an indepth look at tree species and their application. And I’ll be working hard to keep the flow of articles going.

I started with 5 tips to improve report writing skills, hoping that Dr. Jon Heuch didn’t look too closely, as I was using notes from his seminar. I know that my skills have improved from his input and we plan to run a series on how to write a good BS5837 report.

Meanwhile, once I’ve gained access to Bluetooth and been able to download the first batch of data from the fluorometer and evaluate the condition of my first 200 trees.

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.

Learning about aphids on conifers, tree root morphology and object of desire – a ‘little pea’

Back from the FR Jones trade show. It was great to meet with arborists considering working in consultancy, and to hopefully sign up some new members.

Thanks to Russell Ball of ISA for co-ordinating and Bartletts for the loan of a lap top for a power point presentation. Russell and I both managed to type our presentations on Saturday morning, with steam rising from the keyboard.

Dr. Glynn Percival provided an informative presentation on tree health and I learnt about how aphids stay localised, and so will attack individual conifers rather than spread across the whole hedge (when one is available).

I have sat at Glynn’s feet on several occasions, and learn something new every time.

Andrew Cowan also spoke on his research regarding how tree root morphology develops with time to ensure continued support. He has an amazing insight.

Back home, and having finished one report to accompany a planning application, I have been busy surveying trees for a tree health assessment.

Just taken (loan) delivery of a ‘little pea’ to assess chlorophyll fluorescence among the population I have been surveying.

I’m planning to review it for CAS. And to persuade my finance director to let me buy one.  As I’m used to wearing several different hats, that should be an interesting conversation!

Also booked for CAS to have a stand at the AA conference at Warwick University.

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.

En route to ArborCamp

I write this blog on a train to Kent for the F. R. Jones Arb & Forestry event and the inaugural ArborCamp organised by the ISA.  Russell Ball’s contagious enthusiathm and the invitation to talk to arborists about CAS have drawn me away from my study and finishing a tree report.

With rain forecast before my return on Saturday evening, I cut the grass this morning.  Think I may have called that one spot-on, as I watch hay being baled en-route.

I’ve been running CAS for 18 months now, and enjoy the role, although it battles for priority with my own consultancy work.

Not sure what I’ll be doing at this event as I’ve been told there’s a laptop for PowerPoint.  I prefer to use a flip chart and have no notes.  Since when did I need a script to talk about trees?  And next week, I will focus on my own work.  Promise…..

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.