Pro Arb Spring 2021

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spring 2021 • Volume 8 • Issue 02








any arborists are in a fortunate position workwise and it’s common to hear talk of being busy well into autumn. It seems tree work has been drawn into sharp focus as a result of the pandemic and most people being at home. But there’s also rising unemployment in other sectors and some are considering a move into arb. Short-course providers are reporting they’re experiencing a surge in bookings – see the article on page 29. ourses lasting typically between one and five days are popular with those looking to develop

ALL ENQUIRIES Tel: 01903 777 570 Eljays44 Ltd 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA EDITORIAL Features editor – Rachel Gordon Head of content – Nina Mason Subeditor – Katrina Roy Subeditor – Sam Seaton ADVERTISING Business development manager – Jamie Wilkinson Head of sales – Jessica McCabe

a particular skill or gaining a taste of what arb has to offer. There are certainly opportunities within arb and a case in point is bts, a business with expertise in the utilities sector, and which started with just two staff it now has more than 450. You can read the interview with managing director Hal McCallum on page 14. It’s also encouraging to hear that suppliers of arb kit are thriving, with high demand to upgrade and invest. Check out some of the great products from distributor Workware on page 40. And if you’ve big ambitions, then a W can set your firm apart we feature

Horticulture Careers – Daniel Riley PRODUCTION Design – Kirsty Turek Printed by Pensord Press Ltd Published by ©Eljays44 Ltd CIRCULATION Subscription enquiries: Pro Arb is published four times per year by Eljays44 Ltd. The 2021 subscription price is £95. Subscription records are maintained at Eljays44 Ltd, 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA, UK. Articles and information contained in this publication are the copyright of Eljays44 Ltd and may not be


Promax Access on page 47. Pro Arb would also like to congratulate Dr Glynn Percival on winning the International Society of Arboriculture’s LC Chadwick Award for his research – and you can catch up with his latest piece on oak tree health on page 23. Hope you enjoy the issue!

reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publishers. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, uncommissioned photographs or manuscripts. MANAGEMENT Managing director – Jim Wilkinson Editorial director – Lisa Wilkinson Business development manager – Jamie Wilkinson FOLLOW US ONLINE Follow us on Twitter @ProArbmagazine Like us on Facebook Proarbmagazine Connect to our LinkedIn group Pro Arb UK

Every week we send out ‘Pro Arb: The Tuesday Recap’, in which we highlight the most popular news stories from the last week. If you aren’t subscribed to The Tuesday Recap but would like to be, please email Millie Genner at If you would like to send us press releases to post online and potentially feature in The Tuesday Recap, please email

For careers in arboriculture and horticulture go to Cover image ©Workware


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s t n e t con 1 2 0 2 g n i spr


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news & views 6 > News

News and views from around the arb world

11 > News Extra

Why rewilding is becoming increasingly popular to both boost tree stock and combat climate change

14 > Interview – Hal McCallum

The managing director of utility specialist bts Group explains how his firm has experienced stellar growth



18 > Dr Duncan Slater’s Casebook

40 > Meet the Supplier – Workware

23 > Pests & Diseases with Dr Glynn Percival

43 > Product DNA

Experiments in manipulation produce intriguing results

What are the main causes and what can be done to manage cases of oak decline?

25 > Opinion – Jonathan Hazell Exploring why thorough knowledge of BS 5837 is a must

29 > Training – the quick fix that works



Short courses are invariably the preferred route for both the experienced and those planning to become arborists

33 > Becoming a Registered Consultant

What does the new application process from the Arboricultural Assocation entail?

35 > business zone – Staff and the COVID-19 jab

With a focus on quality and performance across arboriculture, the business is undergoing expansion

Take pole position with a choice of two new Stihl pruners

45 > Boots – get a grip

Discover Italian brand Crispi, available from UK distributor Outwear

47 > Mobile Elevating Work Platforms – rise up Promax Access’s Shaun Day on why a MEWP can lift your business

48 > Commercial vehicles – take your pick-up

The new Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max are already winning plaudits

51 > Tree champions

He’s known as the Tree Hunter – meet the inspirational Rob McBride

How employers can ensure they treat their people fairly

37 > business zone – Avoiding late payment Although taking a new client is welcome, a few checks always makes sense


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BIGGEST TREE PLANTING SCHEME LAUNCHES IN YORKSHIRE England’s largest tree planting scheme is underway at the Broughton Hall Estate in Skipton, North Yorkshire. Some 160ha (396 acres) were planted between December and April 2021, which is the equivalent of 224 football pitches. Around 250,000 trees have been planted so far. The tree planting is a core part of a major nature recovery programme that will transform a third of the 1,200ha estate to a much wilder state and increase biodiversity and wildlife. Other interventions include the natural regeneration of trees, scrub and grasslands, the creation and restoration of wetland habitats and sensitive woodland management. The Broughton Sanctuary Nature Recovery Programme initiative is being carried out in partnership with community venture, the White Rose Forest and the Forestry Commission.


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The 3,000-acre sanctuary is an area of the main estate, which also includes a historic house, holiday properties, a wellbeing centre and a business park. Natural tree species and scrub species have been chosen to meet the objectives for biodiversity, to be native and offer maximum resilience to climate change. The project will also help reduce water run off into local rivers and help protect communities from the risk of future floods. Once established, the woodland will also store significant uantities of carbon and help deliver the Government’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions in the UK by 2050.


AA REPORTS SURGE IN ONLINE TRAINING The Arboricultural Association says the numbers taking courses online soared during lockdown and it expects to see more students opt for this learning method throughout 2021. The AA switched to an online programme of training when it was forced to cancel many of its traditional classroom courses. Training co-ordinator Sarah Jackson comments: “We’re currently delivering as many courses as we can and constantly updating the schedule with new dates. All our online courses are delivered via Zoom.” She added the most popular courses were Basic Tree Survey and Inspection, Getting to Grips with Subsidence, Subsidence Investigation Workshop, Tree Pests, Diseases and Disorders, all of which had been fully booked. New courses include BS 5837: Tree Surveying and Categorisation, Arboriculture Knowledge and Soils for Arborists. The online courses are split into modules and delivered at the student’s own pace, with prerecorded presentations and digital assessment at the end of each module. A downloadable certificate is awarded to

passes of 70% or more from the learner’s account. The cost of courses is £80 for members and £110 for non-members. The is also offering weekly webinars, which have been attended by more than 10,000 viewers since their launch last year. These are free and are posted for a limited time on the AA’s YouTube channel before being moved to the members’ area of the website. Sarah added there remained uncertainty about when it would be possible to return to classroom courses. “As soon as we can, we will schedule courses that are not suitable for conversion to online delivery. These include the threeday Professional Tree Inspection and the PTI Refresher, the twoday Intermediate Tree Inspection and the one-day Valuing and Managing Veteran Trees. These courses will initially be held at our HQ in Gloucestershire where we can deliver them to a smaller number in a safe environment.”


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KENT ARBORIST FIRM BACKS GREENMECH An arborist business based in aidstone, ent, has recently purchased its fourth GreenMech wood chipper The Day Tree ellers, led by es Day, has gone from the entry level S unit up to the powerful hp O D unit in the space of six years. The business was founded by es and one of his sons in 2 and two other sons are now also on board. He comments “When we first started out, we looked at a couple of different chipper manufacturers and were impressed by GreenMech’s willingness to help and their general service level. “ t the time we went for the S pedestrian unit, and quickly followed that up

with two turntable uad hip ’s. As work evolved to cover domestic and commercial projects, it became evident that they needed the ability to process even larger timber. “I particularly like that you can manually slow the feed rollers down to process any particularly large diameter timbers. The higher horsepower ubota diesel engine handles this with ease and will hopefully give us years of reliable service. He adds the machine is also uiet, which makes it suited to work in residential areas. “ s standard, the entire O range

features an all-steel bonnet and additional fan to help reduce overall sound power and sound pressure. This, combined with GreenMech’s disc-blade chipping system, means it is one of the quietest chipper collections available.

FINE FOR CHOPPING DOWN PROTECTED TREES A woman who engaged tree surgeons to cut down four protected trees in her garden to make space for a swimming pool and hot tub has been told to pay fines and costs totalling , by Bexley Magistrates’ Court. erle oseph, a landlord from hislehurst, ent, was fined , and ordered to hand over , in costs for felling two sycamore trees, a pine and a horse chestnut tree at her property on a private estate. The property is in a conservation area and the trees were subject to a preservation order, issued by Bromley Council. Merle told the court she did not realise she needed permission to remove the trees. She said she had also since replaced them with nursery trees. However, the prosecution argued the


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replacement trees were a poor substitute. aura hillips, prosecuting, said “The trees have now been replaced. Replacement trees are not the same as the original trees which were of much greater amenity value than the nursery trees that replaced them. It will take decades rather than years for them to reach the same amenity value. The court also heard that Merle was told she would need permission from Bromley Council to fell the trees, but that she did so without notifying or gaining the necessary approval.

“There was profit from the offending albeit that was not the motive. The property is now nicer because it has a summerhouse and a pool house with a jacu i. Joseph insisted while she was told to move her building away from the boundary, the council did not refer to any trees. She added the development was not for financial gain but for her family to enjoy. She also argued against the amount, saying she could not afford the fine because of mortgage and school fee costs. But chair of the bench Nigel Barnes told her she had the total fine , 2 . a , fine, a surcharge and , . costs although instalments were acceptable at , per month so that the total balance is settled within 2 months.

MAKITA POWERS WORK AT CORNWALL’S EDEN PROJECT Makita has been appointed as the dedicated outdoor equipment supplier to the den roject, the visitor attraction and educational charity, near St ustell in ornwall. The manufacturer will be providing cordless machinery and power tools for employees. The aim is to ensure existing petrol and corded machines are replaced with Makita’s batterypowered products. Si ellamy, interim chief operating officer at the den roject, said “ den is dedicated to using sustainable methods and we wanted to update our grounds equipment with more environmentally friendly kit without compromising on power or performance. “The use of battery power as fuel completely eliminates the need for our team to transport and handle petrol and as no fumes are omitted during operation there are zero gas emissions – which is fantastic for reducing our carbon footprint further. What’s more, there is no need to consider the safe placement of cables as with corded machines.

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A row has broken out over the trimming of a number of historic trees, said to have been planted by noted landscaper Capability Brown, on land which is due for housing development in Huddersfield. Development officials and agents are denying that they authorised the work and instead are alleging it was carried out by a farmer. The mature oaks are understood to have been planted in the 18th century and were subject to aggressive trimming in contravention of tree preservation orders that should have protected them. The development site is within Kirklees Council’s local plan which was approved two years ago. The acre site is expected to be used for 2 new homes. It is managed by property agent Carter Jonas on behalf of landowner the Dartmouth state. The trees were trimmed as part of boundary work carried out to

scores of trees and described as “unfortunate” by managing agent ames radley. He said arter Jonas had not authorised the work and the local authority had been informed. Richard orton of eeds based KCS Development Ltd, which is preparing the HS site for building, said his firm was not involved and the trimming was “something totally out of our control” and described it as “a management issue . Local councillor Bernard McGuin said the trimming was a “gross abuse” and urged Kirklees Council to prosecute those responsible. “If you are a professional doing this job you are supposed to check if trees are protected. They’ve obviously not done any checking. They’ve just gone ahead. very overhanging branch has been lopped off. It’s now a matter for the council but it’s too late. ocal residents are really angry, and so am I.

Italian brand Climbing Technology, which is distributed by UK company Workware, has announced a number of new launches. These include the D, a light alloy hot forged connector with large capacity base with screwgate or triplex gate, which features a wide opening and large internal capacity. The D carabiner has an H shaped cross section that ensures an excellent weight to strength ratio and it is available with traditional screw lock gate D SG and with triplex auto lock gate D TG , both featuring the catch free closure system, for smoother clipping and unclipping manoeuvres. The D connector is compatible with Climbing Technology’s I RO , the positioning element that helps keep the carabiner aligned with the system it is connected to –

such as a pulley or a lanyard – and so reducing the chances of the carabiner being loaded on the minor axis. The I RO is not supplied with the carabiner but can be purchased separately. The Climbing Technology Gri ly ulley is a high load k pulley for felling and is equipped with aluminium sheaves mounted on self lubricated bushings, with steel spindles and aluminium side plates. The opening system of Grizzly is simple and safe and operates by pressing the top spindle and then rotating 90° the swinging plate. It also features a locking system that prevents accidental opening while in use and can be used with ropes up to 15mm in diameter.

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W W W .G RE E N M E CH .CO .U K 12/04/2021 10:37


news extra

Is rewilding the

way forward? adding new trees and ensuring they are protected along with the existing tree stock. This is part of the ’s aim to achieve net ero carbon emissions by 2 . eanwhile, Defra recently announced a number of initiatives which seek to increase tree planting across the to , ha per year by 2 2 . These include

Last year, some 20,400 responses were provided as part of a consultation on this, and the intention is to find the ways of adding new trees This government plans to change this, however, and in the coming weeks is expected to announce the ngland Tree Strategy. ast year, some 2 , responses were provided as part of a consultation on this, and the intention is to find the ways of


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2. m of investment for tree planting totaling ha in community forests across the . m pot to support planting schemes in towns and cities and where appropriate near rivers to reduce flood risk

2. m ocal uthority Treescapes und, aimed at establishing more trees outside of woodlands, such as in disused vacant community spaces and beside roads. ut, should planting be seen as the primary solution There is, in fact, growing support for rewilding, also called natural regeneration, which concerns repairing or restoring natural processes, so it remains sustainable long into the future. lanting versus rewilding is currently the subject debate, with the rboricultural ssociation’s technical director, ohn arker, welcoming the government’s moves as “good news , but also commenting “We continue to strongly push the message that mass tree planting targets alone are not the answer, and in many cases might not be appropriate at all.



any arborists are passionate about trees and nature and want to see the country’s tree stock increased and maintained. There are differing views on the best way of doing this, and the reality is that only of ritain has tree cover, compared to of the area and of urope as a whole.

Trees for ife


“Tree establishment is as important as tree planting there is little value in planting millions of trees if they are left to die. ocusing exclusively on native trees is unhelpful in urban areas where species diversity is critical if we are to maximise ecosystem services and future proof our urban forests. In some cases, natural regeneration will be a better option than planting, and the importance of open grown trees must not be overlooked.

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Discover rewilding projects

Many of these projects welcome volunteers and will be reinviting people to participate once it is seen as safe to do so. Caledonian Forest Charity Trees for Life is restoring the Caledonian Forest in the Scottish Highlands. The flagship rewilding project is at the , acre Dungreggan estate, to the west of Loch Ness. an hol oor The Langholm Initiative charity is to begin work on creating a new nature reserve on Langholm Moor in Dumfries & Galloway after raising £3.8m to purchase 5,000 acres of land from Buccleuch Estates. This is south Scotland’s biggest community buyout to date and the plan is to plant/establish 200ha of native woodland. ood eadow Trust Woodmeadow Trust is a charity based near York which focuses on creating woodmeadows – a mix of woodland and meadow that can contain more than 60 species per square metre – and inspiring others to plant and protect these habitats. Its flagship project is Three Hagges Woodmeadow and it wants to inspire a woodmeadow in every UK parish. Ca rian ildwood This will initially be to restore 750 acres of degraded upland valley and moorland in Aberystwyth and in time, to extend the wildwood to 7,500 acres. This would be through a mix of land purchase and partnerships with landowners and to create trails and wild camping zones, along with activities for everyone to enjoy.


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Bene ts of rewildin The AA is continuing to lobby the Houses of Commons and Lords on the alternative to mass tree planting, emphasising that while it has a crucial part to play, there must be a considered approach and for arboriculture professionals to be consulted. Charity Rewilding Britain described the government’s draft tree strategy as “woefully inadequate for tackling the nature and climate crises.” It supports

disease risk since trees are not imported onto sites and is more environmentally friendly. As natural woodlands tend to be more complex, this increases biodiversity, and results in better carbon absorption and storage. ow it works Rewilding occurs because nature distributes seeds in a variety of ways, such as being windborne, carried by birds or animals’ fur. It is important that there is

Focusing exclusively on native trees, as some projects do, is unhelpful in urban areas where species diversity is critical a doubling of the country’s woodland cover over the next decade, from 13% now to at least 26%. This could help absorb 10% of current UK greenhouse emissions annually and benefit declining wildlife. It added the Government’s draft strategy for reforestation in England fails to set any tree targets, and at best would raise English woodland cover from 10% today to just 12% by 2050. It believes rewilding would be both more successful and far cheaper than planting projects. The charity stated: “The Government’s unambitious plans also focus on manual tree planting as a uick fix. ut a Rewilding Britain study to be published later this year shows that allowing and enhancing natural regeneration – supported by native tree planting in suitable sites – would be the most effective long term approach for landscape scale reforestation. Rewilding Britain argues that natural regeneration has advantages such as reducing

a seed source nearby, as most regeneration tales places naturally within a couple of hundred metres of existing trees. There is no single solution and, while Rewilding Britain said natural regeneration should be the default approach to natural woodland expansion, it will not be suitable in all circumstances. According to Rebecca Wrigley, Rewilding Britain’s chief executive: “We urgently need an expansion of nature’s recovery across Britain that matches the scale of the threats from accelerating climate heating and species extinction – with clear and bold targets from the Government. “We can’t replace our lost woodlands by planting alone. Protecting ancient woodland fragments and allowing and assisting trees to naturally regenerate on a big scale is the most effective way of reversing the sorry fortunes of our crippled forests and woodlands, and so benefiting people, nature and the climate.”

role for hu ans While nature is encouraged to take its course, there is clearly a need for human involvement. Rewilding Britain wants the government raise annual investment from £50m now to at least £500m. The charity does not run projects itself but acts as a catalyst for groups to carry out practical work. It also carries out advocacy work to promote rewilding, campaigns and produces reports. It works with landowners, local authorities and other charities, focusing on projects of at least 1,000 acres, which have the biggest biodiversity benefits. Projects and local rewilding groups are also brought together via the Rewilding Network, with members able to connect and share experiences and expertise. Find out more at: www.rewildin ritain.or .uk

Images ©Langholm Initiative


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Powerline professionals



al McCallum understands trees and the work of an arborist, something that may surprise some of the younger members of bts Group when he visits them onsite. He explains: “I don’t think you can lead a business or gain respect from your people if you don’t understand the job and what people do for you.” For bts, this is often specialist work since the firm is one of the ’s

social aspects enjoyable, the role overall was not him. “I wasn’t very good at it. I’m dyslexic and always preferred more practical work, so after three years, I knew I had to get out.” Opportunity came in the form of an offer from Hal’s cousin, to set up a tree surgery business called Broadleaf Tree Specialists, based in Suffolk, which later became bts Group. “I joined him in 1987 and we agreed to

I don’t think you can lead a business or gain respect from the people if you don’t understand the job and what people do leading specialists in utility arboriculture and vegetation management. But for Hal, things could have been very different. On leaving school, he tried his hand in the ity of ondon, working for a major firm of insurance brokers. Although he found the


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run the firm together being able to work with my hands and climb trees was wonderful.” Hal says he has never allowed dyslexia to hold him back. “You need to play to your strengths, to seize opportunities, nothing should hold, everything is a strength in some

way,” he explains. From just two employees, bts now employs around staff across the group, including some who are sub-contracted. Hal gained his arboricultural ualification from Merrist Wood College and apart from throwing himself into working with trees, also discovered he had a talent for running a business, adding he was always spurred on to do this by his mother. “She’s now in her 80s but has always encouraged us to be entrepreneurs – all three of her sons have run their own firms. Being pro-active also allowed Hal to see the scope in working in the utility sector. “One early client we contracted for was Eastern Electricity. In the early days, we experienced the last of the clear-up from the Great Storm of 1987. Whether you remember it or have read about it, the devastation was immense in terms of tree damage. For us, it was a chance to show we could work to get things back up, not just powerlines but trains as well.”


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bts is now principal contractor for four of the seven utility companies in the , but also works for clients that are local authorities and private sector companies including estates and construction firms, in addition to some larger residential clients. It has also ac uired other complementary businesses to include an overhead line, scaffolding and a traffic management business. Hal says bts uickly realised it would grow by specialising and having the skills and willingness to take on higher risk work with longer contracts but lower margins workflow security. ut he is most passionate about safety at work. Hal explains that the bts ethos is “ veryone must go home safe at the end of a day’s work this has held true from the first day I started the company. He explains that utility arboriculture goes considerably beyond the abilities of the mainstream sector. “ ualified arborist may be T certified, but utility tree surgeons are re uired to have additional competencies units on top of this. It is a highly regulated sector and the need to reach this level of compliance is off putting to some firms, but for us, it is absolutely core to what we do. bts uses a team of former employees to provide much of their training. “They are great instructors and when they decided they wanted to set up their own business, I was enormously proud, and we will continue to support them. nother driving motivation is the need to work hard. Hal is keenly aware of the rigours of


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the practical side of the job, but also says it is a philosophy that runs throughout the business. tility providers are understandably demanding they face censure by regulator Ofgem if they fail to deliver and there is downtime, so they have high expectations of their suppliers. “Whoever the client is, we do our utmost to deliver the contract. It certainly can mean working hard and at speed as in the event of an extreme weather event, for example, people need to be deployed uickly, says Hal. “ veryone works on a productivity basis and that means if you are a la y bones, you won’t do so well here. ut there’s a great work ethic here and everyone does well and that includes the office staff if the business performs.

is a clear development pathway.” bts also takes on apprenticeships, with five currently on its books. s key workers, bts has continued to work throughout the pandemic, with employees being in bubbles and with regular testing. “Of our entire workforce, only four had O ID last year,” he notes. In 2 , the business was sold to RS nvironmental, but Hal and his team continue to work as usual. “It provided us more opportunity to grow, but they also have a light touch in letting us get on with running the business. Hal says expansion is planned, but he points out that there are challenges. “ tility contracts are long, and you need to ensure that

We don’t start people off with chainsaws. They learn the ropes properly, starting on the ground and in how to use machines such as chippers Specialist arboriculture work can certainly pay better than those just undertaking regular domestic jobs. s an example, Hal says “One young man joined us at after leaving school and after two years and working hard to become ualified he’s earning around , , which is not unusual. He emphasises that those working for bts need to take training seriously. “We don’t start people off with chainsaws. They learn the ‘ropes’ properly, starting on the ground and in how to use machines such as chippers there

contracts reflect what is going to be delivered. There have been examples of some other arb services providers “buying work , which makes no sense there is no point in being too cheap simply to get work on the books. s Hal approaches years at the helm, his enthusiasm remains undimmed. “We may be a large business in arboriculture, but while we have all sorts of people here in many different roles, we share common goals everyone helps out and does their best to ensure this is a safe, secure and successful place to work.

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© 2021 - Petzl - Matt Pycroft / Coldhouse © 2021 COllective - Petzl - Matt Pycroft /


Being effective in your daily work as an arborist means mastering advanced techniques and having the best equipment to efficiently move around and position yourself in the trees. Here's Waldo Etherington in his element at Stourhead Arboretum in Wiltshire.

Being effective in your daily work as an arborist means mastering advanced techniques and having the best equipment to efficiently move around and position yourself in the trees. Here's Waldo Etherington in his element at Stourhead Arboretum in Wiltshire.

Tree care solution includes a ZIGZAG PLUS mechanical Prusik, a CHICANE auxiliary braking device and a 11.6 mm FLOW low stretch kernmantel rope.

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S E R U F E AT 1 2 0 2 g n spri

18 > Dr Duncan Slater’s Casebook Experiments in manipulation produce interesting results

23 > Pests & Diseases with Dr Glynn Percival

Guidance on causation and management of oak decline

25 > Opinion – Jonathan Hazell

Why those producing tree reports must have thorough knowledge of BS 5837

29 > Training that works

Short courses are the preferred route for both experienced and wannabe arborists

33 > Becoming a Registered Consultant A new application process brings considerable benefits

35 > Business zone – Staff and the COVID-19 jab Should bosses allow time off

37 > business zone – Avoiding late payment Making a wise call with a new client

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Pro Arb | Spring 2021

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with form



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hat a tree’s form can be manipulated in quite extreme ways has always interested me. I started coppicing hazel at the age of 12, became an advocate for formative pruning of tree in my late teens, and have inherited a bonsai tree from my mother – so this is perhaps where my interest has come from. There are several traditional methods of tree form manipulation, from the ancient arts of coppicing, pollarding and hedge-laying to more recent trends in tree training, such as topiary. At one of the college’s out-centres, Croxteth Park in Liverpool, there is a walled garden with many preserved specimens of fruit trees that are extreme examples of such manipulations of tree form, the goblet-shaped apple and pear trees being my favourites. My aim here is to share some details of my recent experiments that have involved manipulations of trees. Much can be learnt by how trees respond to injuries in particular component parts. How do you like your forks? As part of my PhD, I was able to carry out a four-year-long experiment on the branch junctions of trees - this additional length of experimental time is very valuable in seeing the longer-term responses of trees. In this experiment, I drilled, split, or braced over 80 forks in hazel trees, to determine how these manipulations affected the strength of the junction and how the tree responded and with the following results. Example A The image shows some example forks at the point of harvesting.


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Example A Where forks had their centre drilled out, further growth often rapidly occluded the drill hole and caused the junction to become visually bulged. Having drilled out the axillary wood, it is perhaps not surprising that this reaction was like what one would see if a bark inclusion were formed in the junction. Example B Of the 25 forks that I split carefully just through their junction ridge, breaking through each junction’s axillary wood but no further, Man-made bark inclusions Having found a very strong association between the presence of natural braces in trees and the junction formed below them being bark-included, I set up an experiment in 2016 to prove that by bracing young branch junctions, you could

Example B

Example C

20 of them failed completely in subsequent winter weather. The five that remained all exhibited bulges at the end of the cracked section, which had often extended until the tip of the crack met a knot or a curve in the stem that had arrested its progress. Example C For the braced specimens, the idea was to show that if one statically braced branch junctions, they would become more and more reliant on that make them become weak barkincluded junctions. I set up 60 of these in young aspen (Populus tremula L.) – and after a year, nothing much had happened to them, compared to their controls. However, by the second growing season, they had formed some bark inclusions, and by the

artificial support and thus would weaken in relative terms. This was shown to be the case, with braced specimens exhibiting the development of adverse taper in their branches and losing around 30% of the bending strength compared with the control specimens. All three of these manipulations show the importance of axillary wood, that tortuously grained, denser wood formed under a junction’s bark ridge, in providing strength to branch junctions (Slater & Ennos, 2015). fourth year of the experiment, 57 out of the 60 junctions had become bark inclusions. This is very much the ‘dark side’ of my research – being able to weaken trees in such a way! This work proves that natural bracing can be a direct cause of bark inclusions in trees – justifying formative pruning work to prevent or remove natural bracing in young trees (Slater, 2021). Or, to keep the finding simpler, for any part of a tree to be strong, it needs to be ‘exercised’ by experiencing regular loading. Take off that loading, and that component will become weaker and potentially a focal point for failure at a later stage.

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Zip fastenings A further ongoing experiment of mine, in a few young oak trees (Quercus robur L.), is where I have cut out all the axillary wood in branch junctions and then fitted a very flexible brace. The idea of this manipulation is to encourage the growth of new axillary wood – which will be possible to evidence quite easily in oak trees, as oak forms a coarse wood grain and the whirled and twisting wood grain patterns of axillary wood can be seen by eye in this species. Again, this experiment showed no promise after just one year,

as having cut into the trees, the vascular cambium dies back in the first year of being exposed to the air. However, good things come to those that wait, as you can see from the time-lapsed image of one of my cut through junctions. The trees have responded strongly to this damage now, ‘zipping’ these cuts back up with the addition of woundwood – although I have yet to show that this new wood has the anatomy and mechanical properties of axillary wood. I will hopefully be reporting this experiment in a few years’ time.

After one year

Cable tie causations Another of my ongoing experiments has involved, rather cruelly, throttling the stems of a set of birch trees with cable ties. “Why?” – you may well ask. This experiment was ‘inspired’ by seeing so many trees occluding wire fencing, washing lines, tree ties and similar items – and I wondered as to the limit for what a tree could ‘swallow’ without being strangled by the ligature. Unfortunately, the application of cable ties to our urban trees is becoming common, due to a current trend to strap lighting systems to them, so identifying the possible effects could be instructive. Also, I received an odd correspondence once, from an arborist who thought that even a piece of string wrapped around the stem of a tree would cause the tree to fail - that’s not my experience, so I thought it would be good to prove that a mix of different outcomes occur. So, I have fitted cable ties of varying widths on a set of young birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) that were due to be thinned out of a woodland, to see what would

happen to them. The thinnest cable ties (only 2.5mm in width) were all snapped by the growth pressures generated by the secondary growth of the stems of these rapidly growing birches. Nearly all the intermediate-sized cable ties (3.6, 4.8, and 7.5mm) have now, after three growing seasons, become occluded into the birch stems (Fig. 5). However, for the thickest cable ties used in this experiment (a 10mm-wide band), some are still yet to be occluded, and one stem has snapped at the point where the cable tie was applied. This goes to show that a young tree will find occluding thinner bands of material such as string, wire or cable ties into their structure much easier than thicker bands – and thicker bands are

more likely to cause a stress notch that can become a focal point for tree failure. In conclusion, the response of trees to being manipulated is not only intriguing, it can also be used for proving interesting adaptations in tree growth. As a scientist, I admire the work of Professor Ingo Burgert, who’s intriguing experiment showed that changing the lateral loading of the stems of young beech trees (Fagus sylvatica L.) caused the rays within the wood to re-align to the forces being applied (Burgert et al., 1999). This sort of work is highly instructive and teaches us so much about how flexible the model for tree growth is and the ways in which they can respond to different growing environments.


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Figure 5: Cable tie experiment on young birch

Two years later

After three years References Burgert I, Bernasconi, A and Eckstein D (1999) Evidence for the strength function of rays in living trees; European Journal of Wood and Wood Products 57, 397-399. Slater D and Ennos A R (2016) An assessment of the ability of bifurcations of hazel (Corylus avellana L.) to remodel in response to bracing, drilling, and splitting; Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 42, 355-370. Slater D (2021) Inducing bark inclusions in branch junctions of aspen (Populus tremula L.) by bracing them with horticultural wire; Arboricultural Journal, in press. Dr Duncan Slater is a senior lecturer in arboriculture at Myerscough College, Lancashire. He is also a co-ordinator of Arbor Day UK (#ArborDayUK)


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& D IS E A S E wat c h


ak is one of the most common tree species in the United Kingdom. Recent years have brought extreme shifts in climate such as spring and summer being hotter and drier, excess soil moisture conditions and prolonged flooding particularly in the south of England and a proliferation of root diseases and wood-boring insect infestations. The result of these combined stress factors has been an observable increase in the decline of oak species, particularly pedunculate oak (Quercus robur). History has shown that a species decline like this occurs when widespread conditions such as drought or excess soil moisture stress detrimentally affects the tree population, leaving them weak and susceptible to damaging insects and disease. Complex factors Since declines typically result from a set of complex factors interacting over time, early signs of a problem often go unnoticed. Unfortunately, once decline has progressed, it is difficult to reverse. Oak trees under stress are a target for a number of insect and disease problems.

Protecting the

mighty oak

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PROTECT AGAINST THE DECLINE OF ONE OF THE NATION’S FAVOURITE TREES? DR GLYNN PERCIVAL DISCUSSES THIS INCREASING CONCERN of the UK where tree roots can be submerged under water for four to six months has also contributed to the death of oak trees. Under stress Further, when oaks become stressed, they release chemical compounds that attract woodboring insects. Tunneling and feeding activity under the bark results in fatal, internal damage. Common to oak are the two-spotted oak buprestid beetle and oak pinhole borer. Though defoliating insects such as oak processionary moth are not as devastating as borers, these insects can also pose serious issues for trees in decline. Symptoms include a slow but progressive deterioration of the crown over many years. Mature oak showing symptoms of decline Deterioration commences with leaves becoming paler and smaller. With Fertilization and soil amendments based time, twigs start to dieback, followed by small on this testing should be combined with branches. This dieback may progress to large cultural practices including mulching and branches, and in severe cases the tree dies. proper irrigation to aid in recovery and reduce the likelihood of decline. In areas where flooding or drought have occurred, preventative insect and disease treatments may prove important to help fend off serious infestations of beetle attack or Armillaria What’s the solution? ingress for example. Encouraging overall tree health is the best way to prevent an oak tree from Dr Glynn Percival is a plant physiologist/ succumbing to decline. The first step is soil technical support specialist at Bartlett Tree testing and analysis to identify any nutritional Research Laboratory. deficiencies or toxicities within the soil.

Oak trees under stress are a target for a number of insect and disease problems Phytophthora root rot and Armillaria root rot disease are commonly seen on trees where waterlogged conditions occur. Armillaria can also be found after periods of drought. Regional problems such as prolonged waterlogging and subse uent flooding in areas


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here is a patchy and limited understanding of BS 5837:2012, which is unfortunate, as it is one of the key levers that the arborist has to influence development. BS 5837:2012 is a British Standard that provides “recommendations relating to tree care, with a view to achieving a harmonious and sustainable relationship between new construction/existing structures and their surrounding trees” – the standard’s recommendations can


Jonathan Hazell.indd 25

be applied whether or not planning permission is required. It applies to all trees that may be affected during a development’s design, demolition or construction phase. I’m both an independent arboricultural consultant and the retained adviser in the planning service for two local authorities. I became aware of the knowledge gap through a number of work experiences, including a huge increase in planning applications and the fact that some consultant arborists are without the skillset to

provide the required document to support these. This lack of knowledge is also found among the professions which arboricultural consultants work with every day, including architects, agents, developers,

there is clearly work to be done in educating and informing those we work with. A long history There has been a British Standard for trees on development sites

This lack of knowledge is found among the professions which arboricultural consultants work with every day ecologists, local authority planners and planning consultants. So,

for more than 40 years, although the current issue of BS 5837

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came into being nine years ago. In the case of a residential or commercial development, the local authority planning authority will require a survey from a trained

So, what does the work involve and how can the consultant help in delivering a report that will be read and acted on? The focus for the arborist will be the tree

the local authority planning authority will require a survey from a trained arborist if there are trees present on or next to the proposed site arborist if there are trees present on or next to the proposed site. The consultant will be aware most clients will not want a report to read – they will simply want results. And having read many, I would add that some reports do not deserve to be read as they fail to address the brief.


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survey and tree constraints plan, followed by the Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) and the Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS) – these will be required at different stages in the process and often months or even years apart. The tree constraints plan is a design tool and typical data

includes the trees’ root protection areas, their canopy spreads, their quality category, and an entirely arbitrary representation of the shade that they might cast. The AIA is a document usually produced early in the project and looks at the planned works and their impact on trees, while the S is a site specific document that details specific measures. A further output is arboricultural site supervision and monitoring. This means being on hand at the work site to ensure that as much as possible is being done to follow the AMS and ensure that the retained trees are not harmed by any unforeseen development on or off site. I almost always recommend that a scheme of supervision and reporting be a

condition of any consent, although have seen few monitoring reports. According to BS 5837, the purpose of the survey is “to inform feasibility studies and design options”. It should be completed fairy early in the process and the standard provides a comprehensive shopping list of information to be included in the survey and guidance on how it should be carried out. The next piece of work for the arborist will be the site analysis within the I , defined as a tool that “evaluates the direct and indirect effects of the proposed design and where necessary recommends mitigation.” In my own private work, I’ve now taken to being quite robust and clearly setting out what is meant


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the issues can be complicated and, with an AMS, it is likely that there will be some negotiation with the local planning authority during the consideration of the application. Only when the design and layout has been agreed can the final version be prepared. This should reflect the impact on or of retained trees with respect to the access, any changes in level, contractor parking, materials storage and handling, temporary site buildings, tree pruning or removals, the use of cranes, the location of welfare facilities and so on.

by, and required of, an AIA by quoting clauses from the standard. A mixed bag Standards of report can vary and some arboricultural contractors have in more recent times diversified and started to apply their extensive practical knowledge and experience to the analysis of development sites. Some produce very good work, others do not and perhaps have not read the standard and instead have chosen to rely on word of mouth, even if they may still make some astute observations. The AIA covers a wide area and BS 5837 states it should: “take account of the effects of any tree loss required to implement the design, and any potentially damaging activities proposed in the vicinity of retained trees. Such activities might include the removal of existing structures and hard surfacing, the installation of new hard surfacing, the installation of services, and the location and dimensions of all proposed excavations or changes in ground


Jonathan Hazell.indd 27

level, including any that might arise from the implementation of the recommended mitigation measures. In addition to the impact of the permanent works, account should be taken of the buildability of the scheme in terms of access, adequate working space and provision for the storage of materials, including topsoil.” The AIA is a key piece of work for the planning case officer and must be shared, along with the designs and all the other supporting reports; everything will then be weighed and balanced and compared with policy and after some negotiation the application will be determined. Meanwhile, as the AIA is responsible for the ‘what’ elements of an analysis, the ‘how’ is reserved for the AMS. The AMS asks the subject matter expert to describe and demonstrate how the operation can be delivered with minimal risk of adverse impact upon a retained tree. If it’s a simple development proposal, then I see no harm in asking for the AMS after consent

has been granted and so by condition to remove an upfront cost. If consent was refused for some reason, the buyer would have had unnecessary costs and the report would not be required. However, with a more complicated proposal where there is the possibility that carrying out the approved development would harm the trees that had been identified for retention, then it’s reasonable to seek an AMS prior to determination. A supplement to the AMS is the tree protection plan, which should indicate the precise location of protective barriers to be erected to form a construction exclusion zone around the retained trees. It should also show the extent and type of ground protection, and any additional physical measures to be installed to safeguard vulnerable sections of trees. The plan must be widely shared, and so to maintain and protect your reputation it should be produced to a high standard, with the emphasis on being concise and understood. However,

Final check On completing a report, check for typos and errors and be aware of problems with paragraph numbering. You should try to be consistent and use the same language throughout the report; do not use code when everyday language will do. Many reports I see also use words when drawings would better describe the point they are trying to make. Finally, edit ruthlessly or ask someone to proofread for you. I read what was purported to be an AMS for a larger project and struck out five of the sections as irrelevant, and of the remainder three were boiler plate text. In conclusion, when producing a report, the arborist is the subject expert, but this is also not the time to overinflate your worth. Stick to the areas of your competence and do not speak for others – such as on topics such as foundation design – and following these measures will certainly play a part towards ensuring that trees are retained and survive the development process. Jonathan is an arboricultural consultant.

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On the right course



he stop-start lockdown and need to social distance has proved challenging for arb sector training course providers, but as we move ahead into 2021, one fact is clear – there is currently huge demand for those running intensive short courses. uality providers that offer these courses typically lasting from one to six days – say they are dealing both with vast backlogs and a huge rise in bookings. Job uncertainty and rising unemployment may have prompted some to consider a move into arboriculture and a career change. Some may have realised they did not want to return to offices or contact centres, for example, and prefer a role that is outdoors. However, while there are plenty of further education courses available, these typically last for one or two years. These may not be practical if someone cannot afford to study for such a long duration or if they have family commitments. Potentially, the requisite tickets to work in areas such as climbing, with a chainsaw or to use a wood chipper, can be obtained far more quickly through short courses. It can therefore make sense to take a short course that is independently assessed and


Training.indd 29

©PMR Training

allow finding a job at a trainee level. Training can then be taken on a sporadic basis while also gaining work experience. Among the most popular courses for novices is chainsaw maintenance, cross-cutting and felling trees up to 380mm, with independent assessment by City & Guilds, which is mostly offered over five days. ccording to manda Payne, head of training for PMR Training: “This gives a good base for candidates to move on to do more courses if they want to – a lot are going on to do their tree climbing and aerial rescue from this and then chainsaw with freefall techniques.” PMR Training is based in Haverfordwest, owys and offers a wide range of courses for land-based businesses, with a focus on arboriculture and agriculture. Amanda says there has been vast growth during the past 12 months, with students coming from across Wales and other parts of the UK. She adds: “There is no typical student and age varies, but of late, there have been more who have been looking to retrain to start a new career.” The business remained open during lockdown, since training in health and

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safety remained essential for some organisations. According to Amanda: “We had to reduce numbers on courses, but the majority took place outside, which helped make them COVID secure.” Stephen Hailes, director with H&W Training, which is based in Dumfries, Scotland, says his business is also exceptionally busy and is booked up until the end of the year. Students come from many areas of Scotland, but also much further afield, including Oxford and Manchester, and are both individuals and those

and, as Stephen adds: “With good training and commitment, most will have no problems. It’s about being on time, polite and not having an attitude – there’s every opportunity to do well.” Red Stag Training, based in Woodbridge, Suffolk, was set up in 2 and offers a range of courses – and has specialism in utility arboriculture, led by fellow director, Kevin Muttitt who is principal assessor in this area. Fellow director Rik Fox explains that demand was also in part fuelled by the need to be

We’re definitely seeing more who want a career change and also to start up their own businesses. We’re also taking on more female students compliant with Work at Height regulations, which requires the use of two climbing lines. He adds that: “One of the most enjoyable aspects of the work is the mix of ages and people. They may want to learn for career reasons or if they want skills for use at home. Some such as ecologists may need to climb trees for their work, such as if they want to manage bat habitats.”

©PMR Training

©PMR Training

being sent by employers. “We’re definitely seeing more who want a career change and also to start up their own businesses. We’re also taking on more female students – Lantra in Scotland is providing funding for women as they are underrepresented in arb.” But, once training is completed, should all find work It is well documented that there is a shortage in the sector, so this is good news

In terms of the arb sector, Rik says employers will often ensure both their directly employed and sub contracted staff attend, to ensure there are high standards across the board. He agrees that prospects are good for those who take training seriously. “The arborists I’m talking to are all working flat out. Rik says the industry is only being held back by a lack of awareness about the need to employ properly ualified arborists. “Too often, people don’t ask if someone they are engaging to do tree work is properly insured or ualified. I think that, overall, the industry is heading in the right direction and the good guys will prevail.”


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An improved route for



he AA’s Registered Consultant Scheme represents the highest level of knowledge and training within the UK and a new application process launches this spring, following a major review. The review’s purpose was to see how the process could be improved and see more suitably ualified individuals encouraged to apply. As part of the review, the AA set up a programme of Aspiring Registered Consultant workshops, a new quality assurance system, appointed an external auditor and lead assessor and then revised the application process. It also appointed a scheme manager with technical and admin support who work with the external team’s lead assessor, liaison officer, report portfolio assessors and quality assurance panel. The AA also provides a number of continuing professional development (CPD) events each year and the annual Standards and Development day. This day offers D in addition to the existing annual requirement for Professional or Fellow

embers acting as assurance that Registered Consultants maintain their skill and knowledge to expected levels. Despite this, the AA recognised the process could be enhanced as there was no specific assessment of individual Registered Consultant’s work or standards. This led to the development of the new Quality Assurance system, which requires each Registered Consultant to present a selection of completed reports, one of which is chosen to be scrutinised by the Quality Assurance panel. The panel meets twice a year and three or four Registered Consultants’ work is assessed. Since its introduction, the panel has reviewed the work of and this ongoing schedule will complete assessment of all existing members of the scheme, creating a rolling system whereby each is subject to the Quality ssurance assessment on a five yearly basis. eanwhile in 2 2 , the found some potential applicants felt excluded from applying because of the requirements to present specific types of reports for assessment.

As such, part of the review – undertaken by the AA’s Consultants’ Working Group – resulted in a wholesale analysis of the different types of professional work undertaken by the consultant sector. To reflect this, the new process now offers the choice of different subject modules, within six separate competency areas. The requirement for submission will be a total of five subject modules, of which one must be the compulsory rofessional ractice module, R . The remaining four subject modules must be chosen from at least three separate competency areas and this means no more than two modules from the same competency area. Applications under the new process need submitting at two fixed dates annually arch and September , which creates target dates for completing portfolios of reports. Portfolio assessment is undertaken confidentially, and detailed feedback provided by the lead assessor. If successful, the applicant is interviewed and if this goes well, they are accepted into the Registered Consultant Scheme. The AA will also continue to allow potential applicants the opportunity to submit one single report for scrutiny, as a pre-application check. During 2 2 , the will carry out this pre application check of one report free of charge if accompanied by an expression of intent to submit a full portfolio application. Details of the new process are at: Simon Richmond is the Arboricultural Association’s senior technical o cer.


Qualification.indd 33

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Should you give time off

for a jab?



he UK is moving full steam ahead with its vaccination programme, with all adults expected to be offered at least a first jab by the end of this uly. s younger people start to be called up, many employers should expect to be asked by their staff if they can take time off to attend appointments. So, how should bosses respond irstly, there is nothing in the law that says time off must be provided for vaccinations or indeed, any medical appointment. ut that does not mean it is right to refuse a re uest.

exceptionally busy, then the employer may choose to ask them to move this to another slot, either in the evening or on another day.

What is your current policy? The government has not produced any employer guidelines as yet, but some employers will already have a policy if staff have a GP or hospital appointment and, if so, a O ID jab fits into this category. any arborists, being small firms, may not have an official policy though and instead handle re uests for medically related time off on an ad hoc basis. If an employee has a day time vaccination appointment booked for when the company is

Avoid risks There are also risks to the employer in denying someone time off. The pandemic has caused a rise in mental health problems and being unable to attend a vaccination appointment could be unhelpful for an individual’s mental and physical health. What is more, if they belong to a vulnerable group, they could ualify as disabled under the uality ct 2 . That means the employer needs to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to support them and this could include time off for vaccinations. ore broadly, denying time off could prevent staff from taking the vaccine at all. s the looks towards rebuilding the economy, employers need to play their part and a fully vaccinated workplace is important for protecting the community.


BZ Vaccination.indd 35

Be considerate and think of the wider picture ut at the same time, this should only be a last resort. xpecting staff to wait longer for their vaccination is likely to be unwelcome and firms should take a responsible attitude towards employees’ health. If staff are encouraged to attend their original appointments, this protects them and also the firm’s reputation.

Focus on morale Overall, it makes sense for employers to be prepared in advance and to have a wellcommunicated policy set up in advance. On the issue of whether time off should be paid, this again should be based on existing practice if the employer already pays staff when they are off for medical leave, then this should be the case with vaccinations. If not, then at least ensure you are clear on this. lternatively, you may be able to pay staff but ask them to work some overtime or to use their holiday entitlement.

Alternatively, you may be able to pay staff but ask them to work some overtime or to use their holiday entitlement gain though, it is worth considering morale. nsuring staff are paid when having their jabs will encourage take up and will protect both employees and the wider population. James Potts is Peninsula’s legal services director. Launched in 1983, the company offers HR, employment law and health & safety support services to small and fast-growing businesses across the country, as well as tax and payroll advice, employee assistance programmes, and HR and health and safety training.

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Put the brakes



s the UK emerges from lockdown, arborists may well find they are approached by new clients to work on trees, tidy up outside space and maintain grounds. But, while new business can be welcome, this can quickly become soured if there are issues with late payment. According to the Federation of Small usinesses, at least 2 , firms could cease trading in 2021. Anyone owed money by an insolvent business is unlikely to receive anything at all. Arborists invariably have more issues with commercial clients, rather than domestic ones. Working for a business means a less personal relationship and it’s easier for an invoice to be mislaid or held up. Background research Before going to see them, it may be worth doing some research a firm could have a track record in not paying their bills. One option is to use an online credit checking service such as Experian; another is to do a search on the website Trust Online. This is operated by

Registry Trust and provides details on any previous county court judgements for a small fee. Request payment upfront? Although most arborists will provide an invoice and wait to be paid, some request payment upfront. This means expenses – such as the need to hire in equipment or pay for additional labour – is covered. Some companies may agree to this, others won’t, and so it’s up to the arborist to decide if they want to go ahead anyway or walk away. Be clear on Ts and Cs One of the most important areas to get right is the quotation. This is where the arborist can spell out not only the cost for the work and any extra charges for additional services, but also their payment terms. If the quote is accepted, they can confirm with the client they are satisfied with these. It’s vital to specify when payment becomes due. any firms will allow 30 days before they expect payment, but for

a small supplier, this can be a long time to wait – it’s only after this period that they can start chasing. Don’t delay if there’s no pay If payment is late, get in touch with the firm promptly. Being persistent but polite should yield results. Although late payment is common, most arborists say they only rarely encounter a serious problem. But having a process set up to deal with debtors is useful. There are firms such as Thomas Higgins that will send out legal letters demanding payment for a reasonable fee and provide a debt collection service, while there is also the small claims court as a last resort. Be organised Expanding arborists need good systems to track when they quote, invoice and are paid. If cheques are accepted, consider whether it’s time to stop and insist on BACS. Payment technology has also come down in price and allows clients to settle up immediately. There is a choice of payment terminals available or a mobile phone can be used – check out providers such as Square, Worldpay or Zettle. For those running their own business, ensuring they are paid on time and without hassle will require some work – and that comes along with the day job.


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available from all Marlow stockists. Search your nearest stockist at www.marlowropes. com/suppliers 26/03/2021 16:14

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t i K 1 2 0 2 spring 40 > Meet the Supplier – Workware Sourcing specialist arborist equipment

43 > Product DNA

Take pole position with Stihl’s new pruners

45 > Boots – get a grip Discover Italian brand Crispi

47 > Mobile Elevating Work Platforms

Rise up with Promax Access

48 > Commercial vehicles – pick-up perfection

The new Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max

51 > Tree champions

Meet the inspirational Rob McBride

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M e e t t he re suppli



orkware is the name behind many of the top international brands that arborists rely on when in trees or on the ground, enabling them to boost their performance, while working safely and efficiently. It supplies a wide range of products, including climbing gear, helmets, boots and trauma kits, to name but a few. The firm, based in arlisle, is a division of the large arr’s Group, which focuses on the agricultural and engineering sectors. ommercial manager, eil Thomas, has been with Workware just over a year, having previously worked in sports e uipment marketing. He is hugely enthusiastic about his role and has uickly become a fan of the arboriculture sector. “I’m thoroughly enjoying it and I work with a great team. It’s surprised me just how technical the sector is – arborists are incredibly discerning and rightly so, given that the work can be dangerous. Looking good “ rborists know exactly what tool, for example, will be right for a job. reviously, I’d have thought an axe was simply that but there are many different kinds according to the need. This is also a market where safety is paramount, but many

arborists also want to look good and you can see this by the importance of social media. He adds these are also exciting times for Workware, as the business is going through a major transformation, involving a new IT system and improved processes that will sharpen service and bring many benefits for customers. Workware’s customers are primarily the ’s specialist arboriculture retailers. “We will be offering a more competitive and straightforward pricing structure and a new inventory management system to ensure easy stock replacement, which includes retailers being able to pre-book stock which we can then store in our warehouse, if re uired, at no extra cost, he explains. orkin e i ly eil works with a team of around people within Workware who are dedicated to the arb market. He spends around two days a week in the arlisle office, while for the remainder, he

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works from home in orth Wales. “We’re a flexible place to work, where people are given freedom to come up with ideas and grow the business, he says. ecause of the impact of O ID , the past year has been exceptionally difficult for many retailers and those in both wholesaling and distribution, but eil says that Workware has benefited from “a bumper year and, although there was a lot of uncertainly at the start of the pandemic, we’re up on all our targets. He points out demand stayed high in part because the arb sector mostly stayed in work “ any arborists found there was also strong demand


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BRING ON THE BRANDS Workware’s leading brands include: Climbing Technology Helmets, harnesses and climbing devices are provided by this leading Italian brand. Its most recent launch is the ergonomically designed Aries tree helmet, which is lined with breathable Cordura fabric. HAIX HAIX chainsaw boots are made in Europe and embedded with safety features that makes them resistant to cuts, while providing the wearer with stability even on all types of ground. Hendon Ladders These highly popular tripod ladders, which come in a range of models and sizes, are light but strong and provide a stable work platform for professionals, including when working on uneven terrain. All ladders now also come with rubber feet as standard. Simarghu Simarghu is a favourite with climbers and products include chest and waist harnesses, with models for men and women, in addition to trauma kits, which are widely viewed as being among the best on the market and should be considered an absolute must when at work.

listen to our end users including working with arb consultants to help us choose our product range. We always invite feedback and like to supply brands that are of higher specification and more advanced in terms of technical design.” The aim is to bring in other brands, in particular, from international manufacturers that may be less well known in the UK. He adds, though, that Brexit has made importing somewhat more difficult. “We may find there are opportunities, such as with countries in the Far East, longer term, but as far as Europe is concerned, Brexit has not meant tariff free trading. The best way for us to deal with this is to order less frequently and in larger quantities and this allows us to manage the additional costs.” Meanwhile, with the UK hopefully on a sustained road to recovery, Workware is more than well placed to play a key role in ensuring the country’s arborists have access to the best kit the world has to offer.

Solidur French manufacturer Solidur is a leading provider of PPE and safety clothing, including chainsaw trousers and jackets. To find out more about Workware and to locate your nearest retailer, visit: for work on trees from people at home. Meanwhile, although retailers may not always have been open, they were able to do business to their professional customers via trade counters and via click and collect services.” New launches Neil says Workware is currently looking to distribute a number of new brands later on this year. “We follow trends closely and particularly


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Arborists / Crew Leaders Plant Healthcare Technicians We have opportunities for experienced Arborists for our offices in the UK and Dublin to work in teams undertaking a wide variety of tree work and plant healthcare services.

For more information call Sarah Maddox on 07850 649443 or apply via the website at

Find your Aspen dealer at

EVERY TREE NEEDS A CHAMPION. The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Company

unfogable mesh eye protection 01254 377 467 6”, 7.5” & 8” Tracked Chippers

6” Towed Chippers Stump Grinders - 28hp, 50hp & 75hp Tracked Access Platforms 14m, 15m, 19m & 20 Metres

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vary chain speed with their finger. The tools also benefit from uick acceleration, no emissions and a low noise output – this means no ear defenders are needed. Both models feature a new ergonomic control handle with an intuitive start-up process to ensure the tool is only started when intended. The new handle design also makes sure that the tool is comfortable to use whether the user is right-handed or left-handed and has anti-slip protection for further safety.


tihl has launched two new cordless pole pruners, the HTA 66 and HTA 86, which could well provide that much needed extra reach to an arborist’s kit armoury. The new models replace Stihl’s current HTA 65 and HTA 85 models. They are equipped with a 1/4” PM3 saw chain as standard, which offers operators precise, high cutting performance. The pruners are suited to a variety of tasks including grounds


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maintenance, orchards, tree maintenance and other arboriculture work. For the long haul Professional users may be working for many hours and the new pruners have a repositioned battery slot to make them exceptionally well balanced, providing easier handling and reducing fatigue when working over longer periods. Both the HTA 66 and HTA 86 have a powerful EC motor that allows the user to

Measuring up The HTA 66 has an overall length of 240cm and the HTA 86 has a newly designed square telescopic shaft that not only can be adjusted between 270cm and 390cm without tools, but also offers high shaft stiffness to protect against twisting and deflection for precise positioning even at its full extension. Furthermore, the cutting lengths of 25cm (HTA 66) and 30cm (HTA 86) enable even thicker branches to be shortened with precision and efficiency. new robust branch hook on both models also helps with removing loose cuttings. Other features include straightforward chain tensioning that makes it easy to re-tension the saw chain in addition to the captive nut on the sprocket cover that allows for a quick chain change. In addition, users are able to keep track of oil levels because of the semi-transparent oil tank and the patented lock allows the tank to be opened and closed quickly without tools. Both the HTA 66 and HTA 86 can be used with Stihl’s 36V AP battery system and these are compatible with more than other 20 tools.

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Crispi rispi is an Italian brand, which was founded in 1975 in the Veneto region, and it still remains a family business. The company now exports globally to some 54 countries, including across Europe, Japan and the US and is available in the UK through the distributor Outwear, which has a specialism in arboriculture. The company has held ISO certification since 2 and manufacture continues to take place in Italy. • Forst GTX Chainsaw Boots These lass 2 chainsaw boots are aimed at arborists and have been made with the emphasis on comfort and durability. They are extremely lightweight at only 930g and are designed to ensure excellent support around the ankle in addition to a protective aluminium toe cap and rubber outer toe cap. The premium materials include Vibram soles, Gore-Tex lining and water-repellent leather and a key feature is the inclusion of Thermo Wire Technology (TWT). This is an innovative system, developed by rispi and visible on the side of the boot, which permits support to the upper by giving extra structure, better stability, protection and support to the shoe.

Forst GTX Chainsaw Boots

Nevada Safety Boot

Stihl STIHL’s Advance GTX trekking chainsaw boots are aimed at professional arborists and offer lass 2 protection over the front of the foot in addition to the tongue. They are manufactured from high-quality and water-repellent suede and have a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane. The nonslip sole has self-cleaning deep treads, which means they are ideal in challenging work conditions such as hillsides and the boots are suited to all day wear, since they contain an orthopaedic insole, which is removable. Additional water and wear protection is provided by the high-rise rubber edge.

• Nevada Safety Boot These lightweight and comfortable safety boots comprise an upper made in water-repellent Nubuck and are Gore-Tex insulated to ensure maximum waterproofing and breathability. The rispi D construction transports moisture away, leaving the foot dry. They also have an anti-perforation insole and top cap protection, together with a Vibram sole, to ensure a strong grip in slippery conditions.


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We are the UK distributor for Logrite Arches, Hookaroons, Canthooks & Logstands

Portable Winch Offical Stockist Powerful and mobile capstan rope winches. NEW MODELS

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Compact machines able to access difficult to reach areas Manoeuvres through standard gateways and narrow paths Low ground Save money with our pressures avoiding ■ Extensive range of compact damage to drives, powered access solutions

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paths and lawns Quick and easy access for roof Dual powered repairs, both internal andfor external silent, or internal ■ Compact machines able to access fume free working difficult to reach areas Site to site Manoeuvres through standard transportation on gateways standard and narrow paths plant trailer ■ Low ground pressures avoiding Full range of damage to drives, vehicle compact paths andmounted lawns access platforms ■ Dual powered for silent, or internal Avoids costly hire fume free charges working

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Established 1999 A full range of compact vehicle mounted access platforms which can be quickly set up on a standard driveway or single lane carriageway. Insulated cage options available.

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Promax Access Ltd

Promax Access Ltd Avoids costly hire charges 01226 716657 Unit 8, Acorn Phase 3, Cost effective High Street, Grimethorpe, 01226 716658 investment Barnsley, South Yorkshire S72 7BD solutions / low cost of ownership Tel: 01226 716657 Email: A full range of compact vehicle mounted access platforms which can be quickly set up on a standard driveway or Web: Fax:Insulated 01226 716658 single lane carriageway. cage options available. Unit 8, Acorn Phase 3, High Street, Grimethorpe,


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Reach out for

more work



re you an arborist looking to move up to the next level? If so, it could well be time to look at whether owning a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) is the way forward. Promax Access is a leading provider of MEWPs for the arborist community and the Barnsley-based business is owned by Shaun Day. He set up the firm more than 2 years ago, importing high-quality MEWPs that are manufactured in Italy. Buying a MEWP is likely to be a considerable investment for an arborist and they will need to weigh up carefully what the benefits will be and buy from someone who knows the market. Shaun comments: “We understand the needs of arborists they are around of our customers – and it’s often when they start taking on bigger jobs or regular contracts that a MEWP becomes necessary. There are going to be times when climbing is


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unsafe or impossible. “Using a MEWP can protect staff from injury and allow some who may have existing conditions to work for longer – climbing just isn’t feasible for many older arborists. Some clients may also say a MEWP is essential from a safety perspective and there is HSE guidance on this.” There are numerous factors to consider. The most obvious is size and Shaun says while models start from 2m, most arborists will choose one at to 22m to ensure they can reach sufficient height. Meanwhile, if the arborist takes on work near power lines, they may need an insulated model. Promax Access’s MEWPs are narrow enough to offer good access such as into back gardens and have a tracked chassis for challenging terrain. Most arborists will opt for a spiderlift model that can be towed on a standard trailer. Other considerations include how the MEWP will be funded the majority opt for finance, which Promax Access can arrange. “A monthly charge is easily manageable and many of our W owners find their earnings will increase significantly and will more than cover this. There are also cases where an arborist sub lets their W to other firms, which may be a useful sideline. On whether to buy new or second hand, Shaun says new models tend to be selected, because there are more to choose from.

K I T m


But, even if buying used, the arborist can be assured the model will be thoroughly checked out for safety. “Our focus is all about quality and we know of many MEWPs still in service some 2 years after purchase. ut regular servicing is a must, and we offer this six-monthly under the LOLER regime. Arborists can register for this and we will remind them when their service is due.” Arborists must also ensure employees have appropriate training before any MEWP goes into service and this is readily available from providers throughout the UK. A further issue is security – these are valuable pieces of kit, but Shaun explains that fortunately, theft is extremely rare as trackers can be fitted and they can also be disabled from use remotely. Promax Access has remained open during the lockdown and is dealing with exceptional demand from arborists, who it seems are now ready to elevate their businesses via a MEWP. Find out more at:

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Pick-ups that

KmmIeTrcial pack a punch co vehicles


Toyota Hilux


arlier this year it was reported that Nissan’s Navara pick-up will no longer be offered in the , joining Mitsubishi that pulled out of the sector in Europe and Mercedes-Benz that has discontinued its X-class range. The good news, though, is that Toyota and Isuzu remain committed to pick-ups as these new launches demonstrate.

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A Hilux is always likely to be high on an arborist’s wishlist and the latest version now offers a 2. engine and is available in single, extra and double cab models. In particular, the range leading Invincible and Invincible double cab models offer plenty of luxury elements combined with toughness. A Hilux won the Dakar Rally in Senegal and this should inspire confidence that even the most challenging conditions will be handled with ease. The new launch is able to reach 60mph in 10 seconds and has a top speed of 109mph – it also has a button to switch between power and economy modes. The Hilux can carry a weight of up to a tonne and pull three and a half times this, while features include touchscreen infotainment technology, Wi i, luetooth, rear view camera, parking sensors, a cooled upper glovebox, heated front seats and S ports. The loadbay is lined with durable plastic and has well sited anchor points. xternally, the front end of the new Hilux has been redesigned with a bold threedimensional trape oidal grille and new D lights, front and rear.

Those buying a new Hilux can customise their model, selecting from more than individual items such as a chrome sport bar and side bar with integrated steps, plus an aluminium roll cover for the Invincible. The deck can also be fitted with accessories, including bespoke lockable storage boxes. sliding deck floor can also be fitted for easier loading and unloading of heavy items, up to kg in weight. Toyota’s accessory tow bars are now supplied with multi use seven and pin adaptors as standard for primary and second back up electricity connection. loor mats are available in rubber or textile with other choices including high beam lamps, inch matte black and 17-inch machined alloy wheels, an alarm system and dash cams. The Hilux comes with a five year , mile warranty. The entry level Active Single ab model is priced from 2 , to , for the top of the range Invincible edition. There are also currently a range of offers available one example of this is for the Invincible at finance over 2 months at a price of 2 per month.


12/04/2021 09:18


Isuzu D-Max Isuzu’s new D-Max came into UK showrooms this arch and offers buyers a superb amount of choice. This includes three versions – usiness, ll urpose and dventure. There are also four trim levels tility, D 2 , D and V-Cross. All have a diesel engine which meets the uro D emission standard and offer either a six speed manual or automatic transmission. enefits include a stronger chassis, new audio systems and dvanced Driver ssist Systems on all variants, which has many safety benefits such as utonomous mergency raking, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed imiter and ane Departure Warning revention which are fitted on every model and, for the first time in the pick up segment, Rear ross Traffic lert, lind Spot onitor and mergency ane eeping are fitted on all double cabs. The D ax is also capable of towing up to . t and carrying a payload of more than a tonne. ost arborists will opt for the usiness


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range with tility trim, which is most suited to those re uiring a work vehicle. This is offered in a choice of x2 or x and in three different cab types single, extended and double cab. It also features automatic headlights with high beam assist, automatic windscreen wipers, speed sensitive power steering, D radio and a stop and start system. tility models are well suited to outdoor environments with easy to clean vinyl flooring and durable steel wheels, while the bumpers, door mirrors and door handles are made from hard wearing black plastic. In anuary, the new launch won the 2 2 ick p of the ear award and it has also become the first pick up to achieve the maximum five star rating in the latest uro tests. It is backed by Isu u’s five year 2 , mile warranty and the tility models are available in four colours Splash White, ercury Silver, Obsidian Grey and Onyx lack with pricing from 2 , .

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The official job board of Pro Landscaper User-friendly interface. A modernised design means that the site is easier to navigate, with simplified job application features. Follow your favourite companies. You can follow some of the biggest companies in the industry to be notifiedof the latest vacancies as they are uploaded. Register a CV. Upload a CV and let employers find you!

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Treasures from tree hunting FOCUS on O

n 23 April, Rob McBride, aka The Tree Hunter, completes a 13-year project to document the ancient trees along Offa’s Dyke, the earthwork which follows the border between England and Wales and constructed over several years from 785AD. He has walked, hitched, cycled and camped to cover the 177 miles, measuring trees, filming, photographing and uncovering the cultural significance of many old trees from the numerous people he met on his epic adventure. Rob will publish a book about his experience called The Great Trees of Offa’s Dyke later this year. In addition to writing, Shropshire-based Rob appears regularly in the media to talk trees and advises on tree-related community projects. He’s a seasoned campaigner and took a couple of years away from Offa’s Dyke to join the crusade in Sheffield when mass culling of healthy street trees began in 2014. Local people were joined by protestors from other parts of the UK who wanted the destruction stopped. This was a long drawn out and, at times, violent conflict, but the people were heeded and felling stopped. What’s more, the event influenced other local authorities’ development approach. Rob’s career involves trees, whether in communication, consultation or campaigning, but early work life was very different. He was a software engineer for 22 years and comments: “I was burnt out, my career was over. Leaving was the best thing I could do, and I had to reconnect with nature.” He joined the Ancient Tree Forum and developed knowledge from a number of academics and specialists, something he wants to share with the wider community. “I’m not an expert, being a layperson helps give a different perspective and


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ancient tr


ROB MCBRIDE IS ON MISSION TO ENCOURAGE MORE PEOPLE TO CELEBRATE AND PROTECT ANCIENT TREES assists in my mission to take ‘trees’ to a wider audience. It’s time more were able to gain appreciation – and this is already happening.” Rob is active on social media, reaching out to those who want to know about ancient trees, including through YouTube videos, and is also building a website. The lockdown meant he could not travel for the European Tree of the Year competition. He’s been involved with the promotion of the contest for the past six years and self-funded numerous trips to different countries to visit short-listed trees – previously visiting 13 trees in five weeks. The winner is decided by the public via an online vote. This year’s winner is a Spanish holm oak, which is more than a thousand years’ old. Rob adds one of his favourites is the Brimmon Oak in Newtown, Powys, which came second in 2017. “The tree, which is more than 500 years old, was due to be felled to build a bypass, but because of campaigning, the road was rerouted, which shows what can be achieved.”

Even so, he points out trees will always need people prepared to fight for them, with the loss of ancient woodland as a result of HS2 showing threats remain. “Even though planting new trees helps, these cannot replace the loss of ancient trees. Also, aftercare is crucial of planted saplings.” Meanwhile, there are 15 more trails within the UK and even though he has completed Offa’s Dyke, Rob is currently planning which to explore and document next. He’s also planning a number of tree safaris – routes he has particular knowledge of where people can enjoy ancient trees. “I’ve had a great response already. I’ll be taking groups of around 10 this year, all socially distanced.” For Rob, trees have proved a life changing force for good and it’s a certainty he’ll be doing as much as he can to ensure that many more start to feel the same way. Pre-register for a signed copy of the book by emailing at:

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