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May 2014

From the CEO

Karen Martin - CEO

May, at last! The rains and winds feel just like a distant memory as the trees come into leaf and flower and the hedgerows bloom. I have yet to hear a cuckoo but the birdsong has been fantastic, morning and evening.

I am told that one of the most frequent requests you receive is to prune fruit trees – often trees which have been left for many years and pose a not insignificant challenge. Walking through a friend’s orchards in Kent at the weekend I appreciated how specialist an art it is to care for fruit trees. Those I saw were very old: apples and cherry, still highly productive. Meeting with the Media & Communications Committee last week we considered the possibility of producing a guide to pruning fruit trees. Would this be of interest? If you have any views please can you let us know: admin@trees.org.uk

So, as thoughts turn to warmer days, it’s all hands on deck here to organise the ARB Show, 6–7 June. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it stays fine.

In the meantime, in the interests of ongoing collaboration and sharing information we have recently met with the RFS to share strategies and operational plans and we are soon welcoming to The Malthouse Professor Nicola Spence, who has recently been appointed Chief Plant Health Officer at Defra, and Jim Skeera, Executive Director of the International Society of Arboriculture.

Karen Martin

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Simon Cox
Laura Joule

New staff join AA head office team

As the Association grows its activities and increases its business on a daily basis, we have to step up to meet the rising demands. We are delighted to welcome Simon Cox to the Association as our new Technical Officer. Simon will work full-time, based at The Malthouse, joining the technical and supporting training development and the Arb AC scheme in particular. We are also very pleased to welcome Laura Joule, who joined us in April as Administration Assistant on an initial six-month contract. As well as administrative skills, Laura also holds relevant arboricultural and environmental qualifications and experience so is very well placed to work within our industry sector.

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The Winter Storm Damage Survey

Winter storm damage survey and competition
And the winner is…

Our winter storm damage survey included a competition – for both the first completed survey out of the hat and a cash prize for the best photograph of the storm damage. We received over 70 photos here at The Malthouse. Two highly experienced and knowledgeable photographers, AA Technical Officers Simon Richmond and Paul Smith, perused all the entries and both have selected this photograph as the winner: not so much on artistic merit, more on how to simultaneously move a fence and get a new car on your insurance. Well done David Humphries from City of London who wins £100! The winner of the first survey out of the hat was Nick Baxter, tree surgeon from Shaftesbury in Dorset. READ MORE about the survey and the results in the next ARB Magazine (out 25 May).

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AA Chair speaks at Policy Knowledge Seminar

As part of the build up towards the 2014 AA National Conference, Jago Keen, Association Chairman, has spoken at a Policy Knowledge Seminar in Bristol on the subject of ‘Responding to and mitigating against the effects of extreme weather’.

The seminar topics included:

Urban trees and their impact on health and human wellbeing

Green infrastructures and their positive impact on surface water drainage and flood mitigation

Green infrastructure in relation to global warming and the impact on carbon emissions and heat islands

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Less than a month to go until the ARB Show

ARB Show – less than 30 days to go!

Make a date in your diary – the ARB Show returns to the Bathurst Estate in Cirencester on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 June. The 2014 show, sponsored by STIHL, will build on the great success of last year’s show which pulled in over 2,100 visitors. We’ll see you there!

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STIHL – Primary sponsor of the ARB Show for the 10th year!

STIHL - Principal Sponsor of the ARB Show for 10th year

STIHL MSA 160T top handled chainsaw

STIHL is long-established as the world’s best-selling chainsaw brand and now its popularity is set to grow further with its presentation of the new MSA 160T at the The ARB Show.

Visitors can see the new cordless MSA 160T top handled chainsaw being demonstrated on both Friday and Saturday.

Visit the STIHL Technical centre at the The ARB show to talk to the technical team and see what else is new:

Telescopic Pole Pruner

New batteries and chargers – longer run time and faster re-charges.

Self tuning engines

MotoMix premixed 2 stroke fuel

ECOSPEED brushcutters


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The 3ATC Southern Climbing competition winners from Merriest Wood College

Are you arb enough?

The Arb Association Arborist Tree Challenge (3ATC) season started this week with the Southern College Climbing Competition (sponsored by www.steinworldwide.com), at Bentley Wildfowl Trust, Kent. Six Colleges across the UK competed in the event and the winners were Merrist Wood College with a combined final climb time of 10 minutes 14 seconds. The team consisted of Josh Read, Jonathan Leuba and Thibaut Leuba. Merrist Wood College received a £1,000 STEIN gift voucher and the team won a £600 STEIN gift voucher to share between them. On 21 May the Northern CCC (sponsored by www.gustharts.com) will take place at Kirklees College, Northumberland. The UK Open event (sponsored by www.arbjobs.com) will be held at the 2014 ARB Show in Cirencester on 6 and 7 June. UK Open entries are welcome from Novice, Expert and Premier climbers. See www.3atc.com for further information and online advance booking.

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Chalara guide

Chalara guide released in Kent

Mike Sankus, Association Trustee and Chair of the South East Branch, has worked closely with partners in the Forestry Commission, Kent Downs AONB and Kent County Council to produce a guide which offers practical advice to help slow the spread of Chalara, minimise impacts on biodiversity, protect economic return from timber production, safeguard the public, and comply with legislation. Particular thanks go to Jonathan Harding from the Forestry Commission and Dan Docker, a tree officer in Kent, who drafted the document with Mike Sankus. You can help by being aware of the Chalara symptoms and reporting them for investigation using the Tree Alert app or online form at www.forestry.gov.uk/treealert.

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The 48th AA’s National Amenity Conference 2014

Healthy Trees, Healthy People

Planning and preparation for the Association 2014 Conference is now well underway with an even bigger line up of speakers than last year. Take a look in the ARB Magazine for more details. On your doorstep in just a few weeks!

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The Government’s Trustmark

ArbAC Trustmark approval progress report

As announced in the last e-news, Paul Smith has been working with Trustmark for the last 6 months to progress the association’s approval under the scheme.

Paul is delighted with the work that has been done during April to progress the scheme launch: “Following meetings with TrustMark in the last 2 weeks, the processes for adoption and registration have been agreed and we will shortly be providing full details to all Arb Approved Contractors. TrustMark have been incredibly supportive and announcements of our approval have gone out to national, local and trade press already.

The TrustMark Scheme strap-line ‘Government Endorsed Standards’ conveys a very strong and reassuring message which is well deserved by our member contractors.

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The AA breaks the 2,000 followers and 2,000 Likes milestone

Social media milestone

We are pleased to announce that the Association has now reached the milestone of 2,000 followers on Twitter and 2,000 likes on the Facebook page. Members of the Media & Communications Committee continue to post new, relevant and sometimes humorous articles.


Claus Mattheck visits Edinburgh on 23 May book your place

Scottish Branch

Mattheck Seminar

A review of latest research and update of the VTA methodology

23 May 2014, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

A review of Professor Dr Claus Mattheck’s most recent update to his visual tree assessment methodology. As ever with Claus Mattheck, it will be a day where many questions will posed and new ideas introduced to attendees.

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South East Branch

South East Branch at the Spring Garden & Leisure Show

South East Branch members have been out on the road at the South of England Spring Garden & Leisure Show, sharing a stand with the Forestry Commission. Thank you to the Branch and the 10 volunteers for this collaborative work in reaching out to the public. The Branch will be representing the AA at the full South of England Show on 5–7 June with climbing demonstrations and technical expertise.

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Midland Branch summer visit to Burghley House

Midland Branch

Midland Branch summer visit to Burghley House

The 2014 summer visit will be held at Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire, for an early evening walk lead by Peter Glassey, Head of Forestry Parks and Gardens. This will provide a unique opportunity to look at veteran trees, review the work of classical English landscape specialists George London and Moses Cook who originally laid out a formal landscape in the 1600s. To book your place email lesley@symbiosis.gb.com.


Symbiosis Consulting in association with the AA presents

Claus Mattheck Seminar

Claus Mattheck Seminar

Professor Dr Claus Mattheck will come to The Field Centre, Hatfield Business Park, on 20 May and Holywell Park Conference Centre, Loughborough University, on 21 May 2014.

Proposed programme to include:

A new branch attachment model starting from Alex Shigo’s model

A new unpredictable lateral grain failure mode of branches which look absolutely safe

Possible symptoms for the new failure mode and related risks of misinterpretation

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Click to download the Tree Health Management Plan

Tree Health Management Plan released by Defra

A new tree health management plan sets out the government’s approach to tree health in England. The plant biosecurity strategy for Great Britain provides an overview of the activity that Defra and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales are undertaking to improve plant biosecurity. The strategy includes updates on the management approaches to Chalara ash dieback, Phytophthora ramorum, Phytophthora kernovia and oak processionary moth. It also sets out how government and a wide range of other partners are managing new and future threats to our tree population in England.

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Chalara in non-woodland settings

Tree Council member forum, Wednesday 23 July, 10am–4pm

Westwood Centre, Coventry

Tree Council members are invited to a member forum on Chalara in non-woodland settings (with optional complimentary dinner and accommodation on 22 July for a limited number of attendees).

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Intended abolition of the Home Grown Timber Advisory Committee

Defra is inviting views as part of the consultation process on the government’s proposals for the abolition of the Home Grown Timber Advisory Committee. The consultation period closed on 30 May. To take part, complete the online survey.

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Walk in the Woods, 31 May 2014

A Walk in the Woods

In its 40th anniversary year, The Tree Council is urging everyone to get out into the woods or walk around trees in their neighbourhoods during the month of May and look at what a difference trees make to the landscape.

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Urban Forest Resilience Conference PDF

Urban Forest Resilience Conference

On 4 June the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, will host a conference building on last year’s ‘Tackling the threat to London’s trees’ event. This year’s conference objectives include: to review the current resilience of London’s/England’s urban forest; and to consider the wide range of factors needed to secure a resilient urban forest. AA Chair Jago Keen will speak about the importance of building socio-ecological resilience in urban tree populations to overcome current vulnerability and build adaptive capacity.

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Expert’s Question Time II: Managing Trees, Managing Risk, Jeremy Barrell and Dr David Lonsdale

Expert’s Question Time II: Managing Trees, Managing Risk

This Consulting Arborist Society seminar at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, on 1 July, will explain what the law expects of you as a manager of trees. It will examine what is proportionate and how to know when you’ve done enough. Two leading industry experts – Jeremy Barrell and Dr David Lonsdale – will guide you on how to apply proportionate response with effective use of resources in order to meet health and safety obligations in a manner that is defendable.

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Urban Tree Diversity, 16-18 June 2014, Alnarp, Sweden

International conference on urban tree diversity

16–18 June 2014, Alnarp, Sweden

Urban tree diversity in all its aspects, from selection and establishment to biocultural diversity, is the theme of this international event. This research conference, hosted at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp, Sweden, and organised by some of the leading international organisations within arboriculture and urban forestry (including the ISA and IUFRO’s urban forestry group) will discuss various aspects of urban tree diversity.

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Rethinking Cities

The ‘Tree or False?’ walkshop – on 29 May (as part of London Tree Week) and later in June – is a ‘weaving wellbeing in neighbourhoods walkshop’ for the All London Green Grid Group. It will be based around the Ice Age Tree Trail in Southwark (surrounding the Imperial War Museum) and is a participatory event for young and old, exploring and inventing myths about trees.

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Getting trees right in the urban environment - 10% discount for AA members

10% discount for AA members

Getting trees right in the urban environment

Host by CIRIA on 15 July, from 14.00–16.30, this multi-disiciplined event will:

demonstrate the benefits and costs of trees in UK urban environments

discuss issues relating to planting and managing trees in the urban environment

highlight problems that can occur with urban trees and ways in which these could be resolved

provide networking opportunities


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The Gruffalo’s big birthday forest picnic!

Get ready for The Gruffalo’s big birthday forest picnic!

Families across England are invited by the Forestry Commission to gather on Saturday 7 June to celebrate The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary with a big birthday forest picnic. A party pack of forest activities and Gruffalo-inspired picnic ideas is free for those who have signed up to find out more.



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