Pro Arb Spring 2023

Page 1



It’s about time... the ARB Show is back! Welcoming arborists to Westonbirt once more Breaking out of the bank Why Graham Miller chose trees over finance Broadleaf Midlands –our secrets of success How a young firm is building its identity and reputation A tailored approach to tipper trucks Tipmaster knows how to get the job done

XGT 40V MAX CHAINSAWS BL4025 2.5Ah 28 min charge BL4040 4.0Ah 45 min charge BL4050 5.0Ah 50 min charge BL4080F 6.0Ah 76 min charge XGT 40V Chainsaw (Tool-less) UC014G - 300mm UC015G - 350mm UC016G - 400mm XGT 40V Chainsaw (Captive Nut) UC011G - 350mm



Volume 10

Issue 01

After a long hard winter, many arborists will be longing for spring and one of the biggest highlights coming up is the return of The ARB Show. Taking place on 12-13 May, the event will once again take place at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum –you can find out more on page 11.

On page 14, you can read our interview with Scottish arborist Graham Miller – he is proof that everyone should have a second bite of the cherry. After 10 years of an unfulfilling career in finance, he switched careers and is now climbing high with his own business.

There’s growing interest in planting and many arborists report their clients may want guidance in this area. You’ll find some inspiration from Dr Duncan Slater and his thoughts on woodland creation on page 20 as well as a charity’s work in Dorset to work with communities to plant trees – see page 24.

As ever, there are pages of tempting kit on parade – check out our profile on Tipmaster on page 26, which is renowned as being the one stop shop for tipper trucks. On page 29, you’ll also find a fresh take on the stump grinder, with one that can be attached to a chainsaw and so is suited to the most restricted access areas.

Finally, don’t miss the article on Broadleaf Midlands on page 42, a young business which is just two years old but has already is making a name for itself – owners Brandon and Kimberley have plenty of insight and show just how a modern arborist should look. We hope you enjoy the issue –let us know what you think.


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Arb is published four times per year by Eljays44 Ltd. The 2023 subscription price is £40. 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 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.
SPRING 2023 PROARB PROFESSIONAL TREE CARE FOR TREE SURGEONS It’s about time... the ARB Show is back! Welcoming arborists to Westonbirt once more Breaking out of the bank Why Graham Miller chose trees over finance Broadleaf Midlands – our secrets of success How a young firm is building its identity and reputation A tailored approach to tipper trucks Tipmaster knows how to get the job done
Cover image ©The ARB Show

THE ARB Show 2023

stump grinding –a perfect match

The Stump Beaver cleverly attaches to an excavator such as the Kubota KX019-4

EGO – in a quieter place

Ego Power Plus puts products to the test to learn about vibration and volume risks

Interview – Graham Miller


Enjoy food and drinks on the job site with Makita’s largest ‘cooler and warmer’ box

wood chipperS: Greenmech

Pests and

The SAFE-Trak system is the solution for embankment working

wood chippers: Först

A new agreement is underway with Spectrum Plant to cover the north of England

Stihl’s PS3 Pro chain

Dr Duncan Slater’s Casebook

Keep wildlife in and people out –insight and tips on woodland creation

Tree planting – the Nature Recovery Project

How a Dorset charity is working with communities to enhance local parks through planting

This full chisel saw chain offers up to a 20% higher cutting performance

case study –Broadleaf Midlands

In just two years this dynamic firm has built a strong brand and is wowing clients

cyber – stay safe

SMEs are at risk of being hacked so be clued up on basic cyber security

dealing with debt

Employers can help ease the burden if their people are struggling with money worries

Five minutes with...

Husqvarna’s Rob Trott is a former arborist who now supports professional customers

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 5 CONTENTS contents SPRING 2023 news 6 11 14 18 20 24 > > > > > > > > > > News Check out the latest from around the arb world
show that’s all about arborists is back at Westonbirt
Meet the man who turned his back on banking and now climbs high after choosing trees
Expert view
Percival on dealing with the
of apple scab
42 14 36 24
31 34 35 36 39 40 > > > > > > business features 26 29 > > MEET THE SUPPLIER
tipper trucks
44 47 51 11 KIT
Catch up with Tipmaster –a
provider of
–well connected The Terminator from Chainsaw Attachments is ideal when dealing with restricted access 42



5,000 TREES

Bedford residents are set to pick up free trees to plant, with 5,000 being given away by Bedford Borough Council. The trees, to be donated in February, can also be collected by businesses, schools and community groups. Individuals can collect up to five trees each and businesses, community groups and schools can collect up to 25 trees. Stakes and guards will also be provided for sites where they are needed.

The trees must be planted on private land within the Borough, with the owner’s permission and addresses of the planned planting locations will be taken as the trees are collected.

Mayor Dave Hodgson says: “Planting these 5,000 trees will provide a boost to our local environment, from increasing biodiversity to helping to tackle climate change. Through this giveaway, local residents, schools, communities and businesses can all be involved.”

There will be a mix of native broadleaf trees and shrubs including oaks and dogwood. Guidance and advice about how to look the trees, including a species guide, is available on the Council’s website.



UK Power Networks, the UK’s largest electricity distribution company, is investing £24 million a year to help reduce the number of power lines damaged by trees, including investing in a new data analysis system.

The sum will be invested over the next three years to make the electricity network more resilient and should reduce the risk of power cuts to eight million customers.

The data analysis system is called ‘TRIM’ – the Tree Risk Investment Model.

It was invented by a member of staff and successfully tried out last year.

The software can produce a priority list of where to cut trees so they do not come into contact with power lines. This is after analysing the number of historic power cuts, how many properties are connected to that circuit and how many spans of cables there are in the area.

The prioritised list, based on real-life data, helps those cutting the trees work in the most effective way. The success of the method, used first as a pilot in the South East and then in the East of England, has led to the company investing £24 million a year over the next three years to help reduce the number of power lines damaged by trees and branches, particularly during storms.

Commercial manager Mike Leicester, who used to work as a tree clearance contractor for UK Power Networks until he joined the company full time, had spent his spare time developing the model so that everything could be seen on one screen.

He says: “The main idea was to provide the business user with an easy to use, fast response, one page dashboard solution.

I am delighted it has worked and the company is now going to make it more automated.”

Power supplies are 99% reliable, largely because of the continual tree cutting

programme, with the company working closely with landowners, and staying mindful of the environmental impact and birds nesting.

Sam Smith from contractors TreeSmiths, says: “We have found this to be a really positive step forward in minimising faults and as such, reducing power cuts. With the new data tool in use we are now being steered to the high priority feeders and circuits. UK. Power Networks can now define exactly which area is a priority, ensuring our resources are being utilised to maximum efficiency. We have no doubt this is a really great tool to be using to pinpoint the areas in need of vegetation clearance with high volumes of customers before they become an issue.”




The MSA 220 TC-O is STIHL’s most powerful cordless arborist chainsaw to date. It’s the first STIHL chainsaw that has an LED display and integrated oil sensor, which provides key information during operation. With equivalent cutting performance to the petrol MS 201 TC-M and longservice life, arborist professionals can take on the tough tree maintenance and removal jobs.

The new ADVANCE ProCOM headset and ear defenders on the X-CLIMB helmet allow you to communicate with workers on the ground seamlessly, with simple networking over vast distances for up to 16 people, plus much more.




A tree surgeon from Powys, Wales who pleaded guilty to driving with two defective tyres, was recently allowed to keep his licence by magistrates.

Jamie Oliver Thomas Pembridge, 20, appeared at Llandrindod Wells Magistrates’ Court, already having points on his driving licence and therefore liable for more points and a disqualification. He put forward an ‘exceptional hardship’ argument to the magistrates as it would mean the loss of his employment, and this was accepted.

Although magistrates granted his application, Pembridge was warned he could not use this argument again if he reoffends. He was fined £100 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £34 surcharge, as well as having three points placed on his licence.


The latest figures from the Health & Safety Executive show a 375% in new cases of Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), which is the biggest growth in five years. These figures were highlighted by SIXIS Technology, the company that provides HAVSPRO, a solution for accurate, real-time measurement and monitoring of workplace vibration.

It noted that over 300 new cases of HAVS were reported in 2021, in addition to 165 new cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (up 412%) and 255 new instances of Depuytren’s Contracture (a rise of 392%). HAVSPRO points out that these conditions are all easily preventable with appropriate measures in places to protect the workforce.

More than two million people are at risk from developing HAVS and approximately 300,000 people suffer from HAVS. Employers who fail to protect their employees may also find they are sued on health and safety grounds. There have been fines of around £2.5 million in fines in the last seven years


Tubex, a manufacturer of plastic tree shelters, has called for fair and informed debate after some have called for a total ban of the material.

At the Forest Plastics Working Group Conference in Leeds, the exclusive adoption of biodegradable alternative materials was promoted. However, Tubex’s view was there was “plenty of evidence to suggest that plastic shelters – if managed correctly at

end-of-life – remain among the most effective and sustainable forms of tree protection.”

Tubex also says there is a misconception that shelters are single-use, disposable products – whereas they offer a recyclable, scalable and cost-effective solution for tree planting. “Biodegradable tree shelters have a vital role in tree planting efforts but some of the current conversations around their role is based on the false assumption of a ‘set-it-andforget-it’ mindset to overall tree shelter use,” said James Taylor, marketing and product development director at Tubex.

“The current debate is an important one but is lacking in critical nuance which can ultimately lead to a worse sustainability situation – both in terms of material usage and increased tree failure rates.”

and almost £1.4 million of these fines have been since 2018.

Russ Langthorne, managing director of SIXIS Technology, is also a HAVS sufferer, and he said: “The number of new cases is at a five-year high, and not just skewed as a result of the pandemic. Companies need to be taking this growing risk factor more seriously, given the significant impact it can have on both their workforce and their bottom line. Action must be taken now.”

He added: “Clearly, this huge rise in new cases in a number of related HAVS conditions and across a host of industries, indicates that there is now a very real requirement for businesses to prioritise vibration exposure measuring and monitoring, both to protect their workers and to avoid costly litigation and fines.

The HAVSPRO system provides continuous measuring and monitoring of vibration exposure, allowing for a proactive approach to vibration risk management.

The Forestry Commission presented various research into biodegradable shelters, which concluded that the forestry industry should continue using traditional plastic tree shelters and collect and recycle until more data becomes available.

Tubex offers a ‘Collection & Recycling’ programme to allow the responsible disposal and reuse of the plastic tubes at end of life. The company also has a biodegradable shelter, Tubex Nature, which it is says is suitable for planting in locations where collection and recycling is impractical.

“With the huge planting targets in the UK at the moment, there is still an undeniable requirement for tree protection. It’s vital to remember that everyone in the forestry and tree planting sector is working towards the same goal – planting as many trees as possible, while maintaining successful establishment rates.”



The government has announced new penalties on illegal tree felling that include unlimited fines and prison sentences. The announcement came from Defra and the Forestry Commission, which said the measures were to protect the UK’s trees and “curb the scourge of illegal felling.”

The new powers are part of the Environment Act 2021 and changes to the Forestry Act 1967 and aim to deliver “more proportionate, impactful and enduring enforcement options.” The changes are:

● Felling trees without a felling licence, where one was required, will carry the penalty of an unlimited fine – up from the current limit of £2,500 or twice the value of the trees felled

● Failure to comply with a Forestry Commission Enforcement Notice and a subsequent court-ordered Restocking Order (meaning any trees felled must be replanted) will put offenders at risk of imprisonment, in addition to an unlimited fine

● Restocking Notices and Enforcement Notices will be listed on the Local Land Charges Register, making them visible to


Stihl has extended its range of care and clean kits with the launch of the MS and MS PLUS, which are suitable for all petrol, cordless and electric Stihl chainsaws.

The MS and MS PLUS care and clean kits both feature the new VarioClean Eco, a universal cleaning agent made from natural raw materials, which are compatible with all chainsaw surfaces such as polymer, metal, rubber and aluminium.

The ECO-Cert certified cleaning agent is suitable for removing oil, resin, and grease from all parts of the chainsaw, including HD2 air filters. Users spray on VarioClean Eco to the relevant chainsaw area and leave for five minutes before wiping it down with a damp cloth or brush.

prospective buyers of the land – potentially reducing the land’s value. The statement claimed landowners have been known to fell trees without a licence in place, in readiness to accept the fine if they are caught and penalised, to repurpose the previously wooded land for commercial reasons. These new powers are expected to curb this illegal practice.

Forestry Minister Trudy Harrison says: “These robust measures, implemented as part of our world-leading Environment Act, empower the Forestry Commission to tackle the issue head-on with unlimited fines and custodial sentences for the worst offenders.”

Forestry Commission chief executive, Richard Stanford, says: “The Forestry Commission will not hesitate to investigate allegations of illegal tree felling. In cases which merit it, we will always seek prosecution. By guaranteeing that illegal felling is no longer a financially viable option for offenders, these measures are a significant step forward.” forestry-commission

In addition, both kits also have a wooden handled cleaning brush, which features plastic bristles and a metal blade.

The MS Plus care and clean kit features a wash bag that can be used as a microfibre cloth or alternatively a cleaning glove, which offers more effective cleaning of HD2 filters. Once the HD2 filter has been sprayed with VarioClean Eco and left for five minutes, simply put the filter in the wash bag and wash at 600C as users would their PPE.

The launch of the MS and MS Plus care and clean kits follows STIHL’s recent launch of service kits for petrol handheld tools that enable professional and domestic owners to carry out simple routine engine maintenance themselves, increasing their tool’s reliability and longevity.


Schools across the West Midlands and beyond are taking part in a research project to find out more about how trees grow and thrive.

The project – named BIFoR-in-a-Box – was designed by researchers at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR). Schools can apply for kits containing equipment to fit a dendrometer to a tree and then monitor it over a number of months and years to gather data on how the tree is growing.

It is designed to contribute to the national curriculum, enhancing students’ understanding of a range of environmental processes. Students can upload their data to the BIFoR team, who will use it to build up information on tree health and behaviour over a broad geographical area. Students will be able to see how their trees compare with other schools in the Midlands, the UK and further afield at the university’s campus in Dubai.

Project lead Dr Samantha Dobbie says: “Our aim is to inspire the next generation of plant scientists by inviting them to contribute to a real, largescale experiment that will help answer questions about trees and the influences of pollution and of climate change.”

The project will also feed into one of the world’s largest tree experiments. At BIFoR FACE, University of Birmingham scientists are pumping carbon dioxide into trees in a Staffordshire woodland to simulate the atmosphere predicted to be in place in 2050. Scientists are studying the effects of this atmosphere – not only on tree growth, but on carbon storage, water cycle function and the effects of pests and diseases on the trees. pages/bifor-in-a-box




This year’s ARB Show will take place on 12-13 May, and is once again at the beautiful Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, in Gloucestershire. For many arborists, it is the event they most look forward to, because of the quality of content as well as the opportunity to network with so many like-minded people.

The ARB Show did make a welcome appearance at last September’s APF event after a three-year break resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. But, while APF has a huge amount to offer, it does have a bias towards forestry. Having their ‘own’ show, however, will create some welcome inclusivity and focus. This will be the 22nd event and as ever, there will be the Arb Worker Zone, the Arborists’ Workshop, the UK Open Climbing Competition, the Knot Tying Competition and the Throwline Competition.

The ARB Show will also welcome the general public to the Tree Care Forum, with the aim to promote what professional arborists do as well as explaining the many benefits of trees. Although the climate emergency has led to greater appreciation of

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 11

trees, there is limited awareness of the role of arboriculture.

New showground layout

The Arboricultural Association has developed a new and improved showground layout which allows exhibitors and visitors to make the most of the spectacular location. The AA’s CEO John Parker said: “We’re thrilled to be back at Westonbirt. The ARB Show is our biggest single opportunity to bring together our industry and the public who have such a keen interest in trees. The importance of tree care is not fully understood, and many people will be unaware of the existence of the tree care profession.”

Tree Care Forum enjoyment and education

For the first time the Tree Care Forum will take place alongside the main ARB Show and will offer a programme of talks and activities showcasing the importance of arboriculture and the tree care community.

The Tree Care Forum has something to offer everyone, with children’s tree climbing allowing young budding climbers to try out the ropes. Expert speakers will share knowledge on a variety of topics including tree diseases and ancient trees. There are also tree walks, treasure hunts, climbing demonstrations and outdoor activities for all ages.

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 12 NEWS
For many arborists, it is the event they most look forward to, because of the quality of content as well as the opportunity to network with so many like-minded people

All about arborists

The ARB Show will feature some of the biggest industry brands and the latest arboricultural innovations. The highly popular ‘UK Open Climbing Competition’ offers an thrilling spectacle, with entrants from all over the UK and Ireland showing off their expert skills in the canopy.

Knot tying and throwline competitions will be open to all, allowing people the chance to see if they have the abilities of a professional arborist. Visitors will also be able to explore the stunning trees within the award-winning Arboretum, including 140 which are champions.

Find out more: Training-And-Events/The-ARB-Show

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 13 NEWS
The ARB Show will feature some of the biggest industry brands and the latest arboricultural innovations



As someone who has loved climbing and the outdoors since he was a small boy, Graham Miller was not a natural fit to work in banking. But, after spending many years in banking, he decided it was time to make a change and in his 30s, he retrained as an arborist. Since then, he has never looked back and his firm, GT Tree Services has built a home base in Dunfermline, Scotland and has only continued to expand.

Early days

Graham has no family connection with arboriculture, and he studied business at college. He then moved into accountancy, working for Sky, before joining a bank, where he was part of the financial investigation team for nearly 10 years. But he did not enjoy the work, which was becoming increasingly pressurised. When people left, they were not replaced but he was hopeful of promotion when

he filled in for a manager who was on leave. When the manager did not return, Graham applied for the role, with the support of peers. Alas, he was rejected, and today describes the experience as “the straw that broke the camel’s back”. He knew it was time to go, but had no clear idea about what he wanted to do.

A change of direction

Climbing was always a passion. “As a kid,

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 14 NEWS

I used to pile up the loose hay in the fields after it was cut, and jump into it from the overhanging large trees. I also used to love a tree swing and climbing in general. Working indoors for the best part of 14 years made me want to work outside, as I have always been, at heart, an outdoors person.”

On a fast-track

“The course was very enjoyable. There were four people on it, so it was not too big to train everyone and there was good one-on-one time.”

In particular, he loved the climbing and took to it quickly. He adds the most challenging part was studying for the theory element of the assessments. “I hadn’t studied for a number of years, but it was also a good way to retain the knowledge.”

The course cost around £4,200, a sizeable sum. But he says it made sense as a full time college course at a further education college would have taken far longer.

Graham contacted his local authority to see if he could do some volunteer work and Edinburgh Council agreed, although limited for health and safety reasons. Graham joined a team for groundwork and feeding the wood chipper, gaining a feel for what the job was like.

He also explains that there are pros and cons. “If I’d started the business when younger, then it would have been good to go to college and study a lot more on the theory of tree work. A fast-track course is fine for the practical side, but not for knowing about different tree species or how they react to being worked on as well as being able to relay this to customers. But, I needed to be up and running quickly and you can still learn a lot from other arborists, forums and books.”

He adds that taking six weeks off to study was difficult enough. “I was just over 30 at the time with a mortgage on our first home and a one-year-old child, so I couldn’t go through a college course. I needed to start earning again as soon as I could. Once I’d finished the course, I started looking for work.”

Graham found this with one of the biggest companies in Edinburgh, TD Tree and Land Services, who took him on full-time. He spent around 18 months there, working on all types of jobs, both domestic and commercial. “I learned a lot on the job but didn’t get as much climbing time as I would have liked –there was often not enough time as I would be slower than the lead climber.”

Starting out

He also took on a part-time role at the Dundas Castle estate, where he did tree work as well as maintenance jobs such as fencing and grass cutting, while growing his own business.

surgery tree climbing, aerial cutting, rescue and free fall techniques – he also obtained his tickets in small and large felling, wood chipping and first aid.

Graham had set up his own business once he’d finished the course but could not afford to be without full-time work. However, he took on jobs when he had free time, evenings and at weekends. He also posted on Facebook, showing the work he had completed. Business grew, as did his reputation, and Graham realised it would be feasible to leave his day job.

Graham went full-time with the business at the start of 2020 and alongside trees, he also carries out hedge cutting and fencing. Currently, Graham works with a few sub-contractors, although he is planning to take on full-time employees in the future. He comments: “I can’t do this at present as there is not always guaranteed work. But, I know the people I work with well and this helps me ensure there is good service.

“One is a young lad I met when working at Dundas Castle. He is a gardener by trade and now has his own business. He was interested in arb and has done his ground-based chainsaw

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 15 NEWS
Working indoors for the best part of 14 years made me want to work outside, as I have always been, at heart, an outdoors person
It takes a harder toll on the body compared to office work, although working outdoors also keeps you fit and healthy

operations, tree climbing, aerial cutting, free fall techniques and rescue tickets. This allowed me to be able to have him on site as a trained rescuer and chainsaw operator for insurance purposes. My best friend helps on bigger jobs where we require an extra hand on the ground as he also has his ground-based chainsaw operations tickets. For large awkward dismantles that require technical rigging, I have a friend who works with a local firm who will come and help me out when required.”

Keeping fit

When he is able to take on full-time staff, including an apprentice, Graham plans to take a back seat from climbing. “This was always my goal as I knew there would be a shorter shelf life. It takes a harder toll on the body compared to office work, although working outdoors also keeps you fit and healthy.

Tree surgery work is tough and he explains it can be a big change when taking on physical work. “I was fit before as I played football, martial arts and on occasion climbed indoors. So, fortunately, it wasn’t too much of a challenge.” He also says the move to an outdoor physical job also made it hard to keep weight on. This meant having to eat more between meals, before things settled down after a couple of months.

Meanwhile, he believes there have been advantages coming into the arb sector at a later age. “It can certainly help if you’re young and you learn while on an apprenticeship, as well as being agile and efficient in the tree. But you don’t always take work seriously. There are some who want to go out all the time, come into

work hungover or who are constantly on their mobile phones – which can be a big distraction. In this line of work, you can’t afford to make mistakes as they can be deadly.

“I’d got a lot of that out of my system and I started this job when I had a young family. I was more aware of what I was doing and a lot more cautious of my actions, so didn’t take risks. But, I might have done if I was younger and bolder and didn’t have as much to lose. Being older can mean being more focused on what you’re doing.”

As the business has grown, Graham has steadily taken on more kit. “I started with a basic climbing kit, ground saw, climbing saw and a small trailer that I towed with my car.

“I used to hire tipper vans and chippers for bigger jobs until I got to the stage when I needed to take the business to the next level. I bought a tipper van and from there, have added an arb body and another larger saw and extra top handle for back-up. Once the van is paid off this year, I will look to finance a new chipper. I would love a skid-steer to make shifting the large timber easier. Another investment would be a MEWP for more dangerous trees and some of my larger hedges, although these can be hired quite easily.”

Going for growth

There are always going to be challenges when running your own business and he explains: “Running your own business is a love-hate relationship. It can be great when you’ve a lot of work booked in and you don’t need to worry about where the income is coming from and you

can purchase some new equipment or save to add bigger equipment. It’s also great seeing your business grow and succeed.

But there are the times when you’re out doing quotes and you don’t get paid as well as the cost of all the fuel for driving about. You also have a lot of admin, which is often the last thing you want to do after getting home from a hard day’s graft. You also get times when you don’t have work and that can be scary if you have a mortgage and bills to pay for.”

Overall though, he has no regrets. “Running my own business has given me a massive boost in confidence to know I can achieve something with a lot of hard work and dedication. I had to go for it full-heartedly as there would only be one shot to make it successful.”

One of the biggest benefits in an improved work-life balance. He uses a shared calendar to manage family commitments so that he and his wife, who still works in finance, can share childcare. “On some days, I finish earlier, so I get to spend more time with the kids, play football, have some down time for myself or get stuff around the house done. I find it much easier now to switch off when I get home. It’s taken a lot of effort, but overall, choosing to work with trees was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 16 NEWS
Running my own business has given me a massive boost in confidence to know I can achieve something with a lot of hard work and dedication. I had to go for it full-heartedly as there would only be one shot to make it successful


Meet the newest member of the Timberwolf pack.

The TW 280HB HYBRID offers 62hp of peak power but with Kubota Super Mini Series engine levels of emissions and fuel consumption – ideal for the most challenging of jobs.

• Simple to maintain

Class leading peak power 62hp

• No Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF)

• Self-charging system

• Timberwolf quality built-in as standard

Apple scab can be hugely damaging for fruit growers and it can also seriously affect pear trees. Further, if the early spring weather conditions are optimum through being warm and moist, then hawthorn and mountain ash are also susceptible.

This is a fungal infection and Venturia inaequalis infects the leaves as shown in the image below, petioles and fruit, as shown in the image to the right. These infections are the most important to landscape trees and the initial symptoms appear as olive-green to sooty/smudgy spots on the leaf or petiole.


On older leaves, the infected areas form definite spots, which are slightly raised, black, and velvety in appearance. The lower sides of leaves become depressed which may cause leaf cupping. As the infection develops, the leaves turn yellow and drop prematurely. Premature defoliation makes the tree aesthetically undesirable and greatly weakens it. The infected fruit becomes deformed, scabby and usually drops before maturity.

What causes infection?

Venturia inaequalis overwinters in infected fallen leaves and during the late winter, the fungus enters the sexual or perithecial stage. Each dead leaf will have many perithecia, which are the fruiting body with a pore,



through which spores are discharged, while each perithecium will be filled with ascospores – a phase in the lifecycle of many fungi.

Warm spring rains cause the perithecia to forcefully discharge the spores into the air where they are carried by wind currents to young leaves. If weather conditions remain favourable, the ascospore will germinate and infect the leaf or fruit. Since all perithecia do not mature at the same time, ascospores are produced over a period of several months and with each spring rain, ascospores capable of causing infection are discharged.

How can apple scab be controlled?

Some varieties of crabapple have demonstrated resistance to apple scab and information on these can be found online via the RHS: uk/disease/apple-and-pear-scab. It therefore makes sense that resistant varieties, which have the desired aesthetic foliage, fruit, and flower characteristics, should be used when possible. Fungicide sprays will also effectively control apple scab if applied at the proper intervals with good coverage. Sprays should be applied at seven-to-10-day intervals from bud-break until two weeks after petal fall.

There can be further control by removing fallen leaves and any mummified fruit during autumn. During winter, there can be further protection by clearing or lightly thinning the crown to improve circulation of air. Fertilisation has also been shown to reduce the disease severity of apple scab and is recommended.

Examples of scab-resistant apple varieties Some types are more susceptible to scab tha others including Bramley’s Seedling, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Gala, James Grieve and Laxton’s Superb.

Those which have more resistance include:

• Claygate Pearmain

• Charles Ross

• Lord Derby

• Lane’s Prince Albert

• Discovery

• Ellison’s Orange

• Grenadier

• Ingrid Marie

• Pinova

• Reverend W. Wilks

• Rosemary Russet

• Suntan

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 18
Dr Glynn Percival is a plant physiologist/ technical support specialist at Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory.
infected fruit becomes deformed, scabby and usually drops before maturity
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Dr Duncan Slater’s Casebook


As a child, it was my dream to own a woodland, ideally with a castle in the middle of it! Unfortunately, life tends to get in the way of such childhood aspirations –as do land prices. However, I am now in the lucky position to work for an agricultural college, which owns a lot of land. This has allowed me to create new wooded areas – and to be (somewhat) in charge of them.

Going for growth

Although lay people will generally think trees grow slowly, that is not the case if you plant them in good ground and ensure there is sufficient weed control in early years. Within three years, a planting of 40cm to 60cm whips can result in young woodland with a canopy over one’s head –and, importantly, with a need for judicious maintenance. It is so important to go back – and to do so on a regular basis – to

a new planting and as many will know, I like a good bit of time-lapse photography. Many problems can arise that can be dealt with swiftly when seen, rather than allowing them to worsen. Besides, in my woodlands, I like to do some formative pruning and replacing dead or failing trees/ shrubs with new ones, as well as getting all the plastic tree guards off in good time. We have been working on establishing native woodland flowers too.

Design details

In terms of design, I always give generous space to the edges of my woodlands and plant ranks of shrubs near to those edges too. This means fewer liabilities will arise later, as the woodland grows.

I have created seven new woodlands in the last 10 years at Myerscough College, some not much bigger than a large back-garden, while three are from 1.3 to 2.1 hectares in size and all are ‘happy playgrounds’. So, having created new woodlands, what have I learnt that is worth sharing and how can you avoid and anticipate problems?

Other than that, I plant in big 2m x 2m blocks – knowing that some tree losses, and my thinning/ coppicing work will open up the woodland to have a more complex design as the trees develop. It is good to carry out cluster plantings of the same species, in 5s, 7s or 9s, so that there are distinct groups of the same species, ensuring some of each make it through for the longer term.

I have created seven new woodlands in the last 10 years at Myerscough College
Young woodland planting “Conifers for Colleges” planting – Myerscough Four years later...

I have moved from using polypropylene mulch mats, which are effective a real pain to remove later on as both the trees/ shrubs and weeds tend to root into them. I now use woodchip mulch, so checking on weed control needs is now a priority my list whenever I revisit a planting. I plan to invest in a higher proportion of biodegradable tree shelters for future plantings – but that is quite budget dependent.

Wildlife first I deliberately manage my woodlands to be quite inaccessible for human beings, through strategic plantings of thorny shrubs and the retention of ruderal herbs, especially nettles, thistles and brambles. This means when I enter the wood you can hear animals scatter and the birds chattering away, telling me off for coming into their territory.

Although there has been a long campaign in the UK to make more of our countryside accessible to people, if you truly want biodiversity to thrive in a small woodland, it is better if almost no-one accesses it at all.

I plant mostly native trees and shrubs, with some non-natives such as pines, Douglas fir, redwoods and sycamore, mostly for their sheltering value. Woodlands with an evergreen element are known to support a higher biodiversity – as in the University of Birmingham research paper from Bradwell et al on ‘Forest innovation to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergencies’.

Further, one cannot plant hollies successfully in my part of Lancashire, and yews only really establish once a woodland


is semi-mature in this coastal area. I am just starting to introduce yews into my first planted woodland.

One genus that is very useful on the lowlands of Lancashire is Salix; there are a wide range of willow species present locally, including many naturally occurring hybrids. Willows grow fast and cope with the wetter ground in some of my wooded areas. They cast only a light shade and do not sucker, unlike poplars. I use a lot of willow cuttings – which come for free –trying to pick out male trees to clone, as female willows will produce a lot of white feathery seeds in the late spring, which can cover the place like snow.

Willow coppices easily and the scrubbier willows such as Salix caprea, S. cinerea and S. x reichardtii (which I would call ‘sallows’) are great nurses for other trees, such as oak and limes. This is because they do not reach a great height but establish very quickly to provide much-needed shelter. The biodiversity value of willows is also very high and some of the local herbivores do not eat them much.

Enjoy the early days

It is often fun to go back and enjoy the rapid change that is occurring. Young, wooded areas are highly used by local wildlife because they offer shelter, havens, nesting sites and food sources that adjacent industrially farmed fields do not. The first woodland I created over a five-year period now has regular visits from a tawny owl, I have had native partridge nesting in there, families of hedgehogs overwinter in it, and during the COVID-19 lockdowns, I found what should really be night-time wildlife, a fox and a barn owl, out hunting. There are also my more regular visitors – a local hare and a stoat. The varieties of insects present are innumerable, but it has been pleasing to see speckled wood butterflies making use of my recently coppiced areas.

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Willow setts planted at a local nature reserve Eight years later... Six years later...

Potential problems

Having mentioned herbivores, you can expect some losses when you plant out. Ideally, just a small percentage would be damaged or lost, typically less than 10%. Your planting can cope with that and there is no need to go out culling native animals to protect the trees. Two of my woodlands have regular visits from hares, so using hare-height guards (75 cm) is the way to go. As a native animal, hares deserve their place in the UK – and their population has dramatically declined – by 80% –in the last century, according to the Hare Preservation Trust, 2022.

At college, rabbit populations have fluctuated greatly, due to outbreaks of myxomatosis – and currently the population is coming back after a severe drop-off due to ‘myxie’.

Some of my sites are quite wet and have no banks or raised areas – and this means no rabbits. A more common problem for my plantings is meadow voles (Microtus agrestis), which can squirm their way underneath tree guards to feast within.

I have noticed they have a strong preference for chewing through young hazel plug-plants, so I now plant hazels at

a larger size and they are establishing far better. This perhaps helps to explain why one rarely sees a hazel tree establishing on long-grassed motorway verges, the voles probably do away with them all.

Roe deer are present at the edges of my college campus and you certainly get to see them in my small woods. However, I have had few losses due to them. There are some benefits as they love to graze on brambles – and one ate the tops off a wide clump of rosebay willowherb, providing better light levels for my planted trees. The presence of deer does mean you need to be conscious of the risks from deer ticks – and the potential infections you might get (Trees for Life, 2022). Long socks and

checking your legs after a visit, especially inner thighs, is a good idea.

Where surface flooding can be a problem, I put in linked shallow ditches and the occasional balancing pond, or I plant willow and aspen. It is wrong to drain such wet areas where I work – wet woodlands are one of the rarest and most depleted habitats in Lancashire (JNCC, 2008). Shunting the water downstream only leads to increasing other people’s flood risk.

Learning never stops

I am continually learning valuable lessons as I put in new woodlands and manage existing ones as part of our Arbor Day UK efforts.

As the woodlands develop in height, some are very likely to be visited by grey squirrels. I am already considering a couple of strategies to prevent severe squirrel damage to my trees, as they enter the pole stage.

Overall, those planting woodland should look to achieve high biodiversity gains, which comes from planting mixed species which should be majority native. It is about using the land in a way that suits it, coppicing some areas and making these vital spaces as inaccessible as possible to the human species so wildlife can thrive.

Dr Duncan Slater is a senior lecturer in arboriculture at Myerscough College, Lancashire. He is also a co-ordinator of Arbor Day UK (#ArborDayUK) – an action group that seeks to put new trees and woodlands back into the landscape. To support or sponsor these Arbor Day efforts, please contact Dr Slater at

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Roe deer Fraying damage Grey squirrel Basal damage Rabbit Debarking Guard on... Guard off! Close-up of damage
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People power transforms Dorset parks



ADorset-based charity is working with local communities to boost tree planting across a number of parks, as part of a ‘Nature Recovery’ project. Those who are taking part in the planting include individuals, local clubs and community groups – no prior experience is needed to help with tree planting, everyone is welcome to come along and lend a hand and all tools and equipment to take part are supplied by The Parks Foundation.

The Nature Recovery project is being run by The Parks Foundation, a charity which enhances green spaces in Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole –over the winter months, some 170 mature trees and 4,000 whips are being planted.


The overall purpose of the project is to transform some of the area’s ‘green deserts’ into wildlife-rich sites that will create habitat and species resilience by linking existing biodiverse sites to a wider network. A key focus was drawing in local residents, to empower them to care and enjoy their parks more and in providing education about nature. Local people were also surveyed to find out their views on plans for the parks.

In 2021, The Parks Foundation alongside Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, was awarded £224,000 funding from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund to deliver a Nature Recovery project in selected parks. The fund is aimed at boosting green jobs as well as supporting nature.

The fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies and is delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency, and Forestry Commission.

Concar: “We’re absolutely delighted to invite the community to join us in planting trees. This planting has a focus on flowering and fruiting trees, which are great for pollinators and other wildlife. They also give park visitors the opportunity to explore new activities such as urban foraging.

“We hope these trees will continue to benefit wildlife and people for decades. How great would it be to take shade with

your family or friends in your local park under a tree you remember planting as a child?”

The parks are Alexandra Park, Branksome Recreation Ground, Haskells Recreation Ground, Jumpers Common, Kinson Manor Playing Fields, Muscliff Park, Pelhams Park, Slades Farm, Strouden Park, Watermans Park and Winton Recreation Ground. Details of Nature Recovery project activities, including planting days, are advertised on The Parks Foundation’s website and via its social media.

Find out more at:

For The Parks Foundation, the Nature Recovery project has meant making physical changes in parks, and Parks Activators – people who are passionate about ecology and community engagement – overseeing planting work as well as running a variety of activities. These took place monthly and included nature crafts, making bird, bat, hedgehog and bee homes, sowing wildflower meadows as well as planting trees and hedgerows.

According to The Parks Foundation’s Nature Recovery Project Manager Stephen

This planting has a focus on flowering and fruiting trees, which are great for pollinators and other wildlife. They also give park visitors the opportunity to explore new activities such as urban foraging
The overall purpose of the project is to transform some of the area’s ‘green deserts’ into wildlife-rich sites that will create habitat and species resilience


meet the supplier


Arborists, from all over the UK, have for years travelled to Leyton in East London for a very particular reason – this is the place to find a tipper that exactly matches their needs.

Tipmaster creates bespoke tippers based on individual requirements and also has a broad range of ‘standard’ models from leading manufacturers – the split in terms of sales is around 50/50. But, whichever

is chosen, each vehicle will have been converted in-house by fully accredited experts and using high-quality materials.

In-house expertise

All work is carried out at the Leyton workshop, including bodywork, welding, cutting, folding, fabrication and paintwork. Matt comments: “It’s skilled work, but converting a chassis into a tipper truck is

not something you can learn at college –we train in-house and fortunately, many of our people have been with us for years.”

A long history

Being based relatively close to central London is quite unusual for a manufacturer, but Matt says although a move out to the provinces has occasionally been considered, the business will be staying

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 26 KIT
Ford L2 Arb Tipper

put. “We’ve been here a very long time and everyone knows our location. We’re fortunate in having plenty of space and a loyal and skilled workforce, so it would not make sense for us.”

There are around 30 people based at the London site, but also over 100 employees working at three other locations in Essex, including two franchised vehicle dealers.

The company is long established; it goes back 55 years with its present owners, having been founded in 1968 by chairman, Ian Terry –Matt's father. However, the business has much longer roots stemming back to 1886, ranging from cycle and motor bike manufacturing taking place in Leyton, London.

Meeting needs

Tipmaster’s large site welcomes a range of arborists, some of whom know exactly what

they want while others, particularly if it is a first tipper purchase, will want to check out what’s available and explore their options.

we can provide as much guidance as is needed. Others will already have plans for a bespoke conversion, but we ensure there is a full specification and weight calculation before any work starts.” He adds that Tipmaster is also focused on after sales, ensuring there is excellent service, available via a nationwide network, and spare parts are readily available from Tipmaster online.

Plenty of stock

“It’s why many choose to make the journey to see us. We’ve been doing conversions for many years and arboriculture is one of our biggest sectors. They can tell us about their preferred way of working and

Tipmaster also works closely with commercial vehicle dealerships and chassis manufacturers to ensure it has a steady supply of vehicles to convert. Popular manufacturers include Ford, Fuso, Iveco, Vauxhall, Citroen, Peugeot, Isuzu, DAF and Mercedes. Matt adds that options include either a 3.5 or 7.5 chassis and steel or aluminium construction – however,

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 27 KIT
We’ve been doing conversions for many years and arboriculture is one of our biggest sectors
Iveco Arb Tipper

arborists will invariably choose a light and rust-resistant aluminium floor.

In almost all cases, Tipmaster only sells new vehicles. Matt adds there will very occasionally be a used tipper, but this will invariably be one where he knows both the customer and the vehicle well.

“Quality is very important to us and so we have not focused on the used market, we do however convert used tippers into Arb Tippers. Most arborists are also very concerned about reliability and prefer new.”

Tipmaster also has finance options for those who want to spread payments, which many customers choose to use.

Appearance matters

A smart tipper also represents the business and Matt says arborists are often very particular about the appearance and so can select the paint colour as well as using the signwriting service, both of which are available inhouse. “We provide a one-stop shop and

can make other modifications as required, such as tow bars, LED beacons and work lamps, built-in tool boxes and winches, vehicle tracking systems and deadlocks.”

number of tippers they own to meet customer demand.”

Although there is a push towards ‘greener’ driving, Matt says the market is not ready for fully electric tippers as yet. “They do exist, but many arborist firms are in rural areas and they do a lot of driving. As electric technology continues to develop, we’ll see electric tippers become more commonplace, but it’s not quite ready yet.”

Going greener

He continues that many arborists are thriving and are keen to upgrade. “Many of those we’ve got to know have done well, they are genuine people, who are extremely skilled and they are building up the

Even so, he points out that many arborists are upgrading older tippers for those which have modern engines and are compliant with clean air zones such as ULEZ in London. “The arb sector is forward looking and I always enjoy meeting customers at events such the Arb Show and APF – and it’s great that so many choose to come into East London and drive away with a tipper that is absolutely right for their business.”

KIT PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 28
Fuso Arb Tipper
it’s great that so many choose to come into East London and drive away with a tipper that is absolutely right for their business
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Arborists will often be asked to remove unsightly tree stumps after a felling. But, this can be less straightforward if they are in an urban area and they need to go through a narrow gate or they need to reach the back garden of a terraced property.

The Terminator is a lightweight – 25kg –but powerful attachment for stump grinding that can be used with a range of Stihl chainsaws, as follows:

● Terminator Pro 500 / 600 –can be used with the Stihl 500i engine and the 600 series.

● Terminator Pro 800 – fits onto a Stihl 880 and 881 engine.

The Terminator stump grinding attachment comes with a guard, leg, cutter wheel, tools and maintenance stand and is priced at £2,995.

Chainsaw Attachments was set up in 2016 and is run by director Patrick Watts. He spent some 10 years at the start of his career working as a tree surgeon, working with his father who ran his own arb firm. He then moved into designing machinery for the sector and this included tracked stump grinders, and he launched the Predator Power brand, a business he continues to part own.

Around four years ago, Patrick decided to develop a stump grinder that was suited to work where access was extremely challenging. “There are jobs where it is not possible to bring a large stump grinder and some where there is no outside access at all. The Terminator is easy to carry if you

need to go through a property or down steps and allows easy removal of small to medium tree stumps and shrubs.”

It's also handy because it can be easily lifted into the back of the truck, allowing a chipper to be towed. This means the stump can be ground out after removing the tree without a return trip to site with a stump grinder on a trailer.

The cutting teeth system is provided by Multi-Tip, which manufactures a system that is high performance, quick change and replaceable. The Terminator model is simple and fast to set up, allowing the user to start work on grinding in minutes. As with any tree work, full PPE should be worn including gloves, goggles and a helmet. Patrick says minimal training is required – videos are available on the Chainsaw Attachments’ website and YouTube.

“We are on hand to answer any queries, but typically, someone would be able to start work in about half an hour or less.” He explains that as a lightweight machine, it is not suited to grinding very large tree stumps and it would not make sense to use it all day, every day. “Instead, it is an incredibly handy tool to use a few times a week and a couple of hours at a time and it has an excellent power to weight ratio.”

The Terminator is now being distributed globally, including in the US, Australia and New Zealand, and in the UK it is available from dealerships including Predator, Ben Burgess and Lister Wilder. Chainsaw Attachments also provides a range of spare parts.

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 29 KIT
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The Stump Beaver is a clever invention from engineer Graham Dewhurst, director of Geko Engineering. This is a stump grinding attachment which attaches to a mini excavator, popular in a number of markets including arborists but also landscapers, golf courses and construction firms.

As Dewhurst explains: “If you have a suitable excavator, then it makes sense to expand its use. Professional stump grinding will always be needed and arborists who can do it themselves can earn some useful extra revenue.”

The Stump Beaver is used primarily with micro and mini excavators as the 0.8t-to-2.0t class of machine. “This is where there is the highest volume of new sales in the UK. We have fitted grinders to several 3t machines where usually a flow restrictor is required to reduce hydraulic flow. But our main sales are to the 1.5t machine class, although the grinder works really well on most micro machines too,” says Dewhurst.

Ready to go

The Stump Beaver is supplied complete and ready to be attached with a custommade bracket to suit the type of excavator. “We make the hitch ourselves to suit the customer’s machine. We also supply

refit the stand and lower the whole lot to the ground or trailer to de-couple.”

Ease of use

The auxiliary hydraulic circuit of the excavator supplies power to the grinder, while the grinder hydraulics prevent reverse wheel rotation, anti-cavitation and safe stopping even if the hydraulic circuit is suddenly closed preventing damage. A full guard over the wheel both limits depth of cut and directs chips away from the excavator driver. The guard can be removed to give access for tooth changing and cleaning, again the stand allows for tooth maintenance when the grinder is removed from the excavator.

a storage/maintenance stand which holds the grinder to facilitate easy connection to the excavator. Once secured to the excavator the attachment and stand are lifted and the stand removed saving any lifting or manual handling. Once the job is complete simply

Dewhurst continues: “In use the process is simple, position the excavator close to the stump, engage the auxiliary hydraulics to spin up the wheel then use the excavator arm to lower the grinder and engage the stump then slowly move across the stump using the excavator slew function and let the chips fly.”

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Professional stump grinding will always be needed and arborists who can do it themselves can earn some useful extra revenue

Delivery to your door

The grinder bracket can be rotated through 90 degrees to allow the bucket ram or dipper arm of the excavator to be used instead of the slew for those instances where room or access is tight.

Dewhurst adds that maintenance of the grinder is minimal, requiring only teeth to be kept sharp or replaced, and oil in the spindle bearing is changed each year.

Each grinder is made in-house by Geko Engineering, then delivered in person to UK mainland customers. “This allows us to meet the customer and fit the attachment to his machine to ensure everything is working correctly. During delivery we always try


Kubota, a trusted brand within the arborist community, has a range of excavators available. For instance, the new KX019-4 mini excavator raises the standard in the 1.5-2.0 tonne category with a powerful digging force and a wider working range compared to rivals. Its size ensures enhanced accessibility and it delivers an impressive bucket digging force, including in tough conditions.

The KX019-4 is powered by Kubota’s D902 16 PS engine, ensures noise and vibtation is minimised and it meets all current engine emission regulations. The variable track gauge can be expanded to a maximum of 1,300mm and retracted to 990mm to make passing through narrow doorways and tight work possible. Either adjustment can be made in just seconds by operating the independent track gauge lever.

The focus is also on comfort, with one of the largest cabins in its class with ample legroom, adjustable seating and a wide door, along with a new multifunctional digital panel. This has a one-touch button operation to view the time, hour meter and tachometer. Warning lamps with code numbers on the display provide alerts in case of emergencies such as overheating, hydraulic problems or low battery. Programming of the anti-theft keys can also be easily performed with the digital panel.

out the machine and grind a stump, we can then run through any operating queries answering any questions on the spot and give some tips.”


KIT PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 32
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During delivery we always try out the machine and grind a stump, we can then run through any operating queries answering any questions on the spot

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The sound of chainsaws, brush cutters and leaf blowers, familiar to all arborists and other outdoor maintenance professionals, may be only temporary, but its effects can last much longer than the time it takes to do the job. Long-term exposure to high levels of noise and vibration can trigger various health problems, from hearing loss to cardiovascular troubles.

EGO Power Plus, as part of its Challenge 2025 initiative, has put a host of batterypowered and petrol-powered tools to the test to understand which produce the greatest – and most harmful – levels of noise and vibration. The key finding from this research is that petrol-powered tools are up to three times louder than battery alternatives. Independent tests were carried out across five product categories: rotary mowers; hedge trimmers; line trimmers; leaf blowers and chainsaws. For each, one petrol and one battery tool were tested, each comparable in terms of performance and cost.

When measuring noise, a logarithmic scale is used which means that in decibel

terms, a doubling in perceived loudness corresponds to roughly an increase in 10 dB(A). Across every category, EGO’s tools produced less noise than their petrol-powered counterparts. For line trimmers, the petrolpowered tool generated an alarming 103.8dB(A),

87dB(A), with two generating noise levels of more than 100dB(A). Meanwhile, two battery-powered tools operated below or within the recognised limits, and zero battery-powered tools exceeded 94dB(A).

When it comes to vibration, three out of five battery-powered tools came in under the daily vibration exposure limit of 2.5m/s2, set by HSE, at which vibration becomes a concern. Of the petrol tools, however, the opposite is true, with four out of five found to exceed this exposure limit. This means the majority of petrol-powered tools tested cannot be used for the entire duration of a working day (averaging eight hours) without causing potential health concerns.

which, to the normal ear, sounds almost three times louder than EGO’s BCX3800 line trimmer.

In real terms, reducing noise levels from 100dB(A) to 85dB(A) means the user can be exposed to noise for approximately three hours longer before risk assessment is even required. At the other end of the spectrum, EGO’s mower was proven to generate just 74.7dB(A), 10.3dB(A) beneath the exposure limit level, which is 30% quieter than a market-leading petrol equivalent.

Of all the tools tested, four petrolpowered tools exceeded the daily noise exposure limit of

For both noise and vibration, daily limits are set which should not be exceeded. These are set out within numerous workrelated safety documents, including the Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005), and for vibration, in the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations (2005).

The reality of long-term exposure to noise and vibration is becoming well known. Prolonged exposure to high levels of noise and vibration is known to have health implications for operators – related conditions include hearing loss, Raynaud’s, and even cardiovascular problems.

Understanding which tools are most damaging to health should inform decisions around switching from petrol-power to battery. Plus, with comparable levels of performance, alongside zero emissions and cost benefits, battery-powered tools are a viable alternative for every professional arborist and gardener.

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 34 KIT
For more information:
Understanding which tools are most damaging to health should inform decisions around switching from petrol-power to battery


Ample dimensions

• At 50 litres, the CW002G is Makita’s largest ‘Cooler and Warmer’ box to date and is ideal for arborists working outdoors, particularly if they are users of the manufacturer’s XGT or LXT cordless collection. The internal dimensions are 867L x 465W x 476H mm – this means it is tall enough to hold two-litre milk cartons.

Improved features

• It comes with a new key feature –a drainage plug that allows the user to easily remove melted ice. The box is also durable with an IPX4 rating and it features large 100mm wheels and a pull handle for transport with side grips for easy lifting. It is also fitted with a convenient LED display to provide users with temperature and battery levels and easily change settings.


'Cooler and Warmer’ box


• The box has two battery ports for either 40V XGT or 18V LXT batteries, providing long run times. Alternatively, it can be powered via an invehicle 12v/24v DC power supply, or via mains power supply with a 240v AC adaptor.

Hot or cold?

• There are a total of 14 inside temperature settings, ranging from -18°C to 60°C.

Long operating hours hen paired with 2x 5.0Ah XGT batteries, the unit can operate for up to 10 hours at -18°C, 24.5 hours at 5°C (normal fridge temperature), and six hours at 60°C (runtimes are based on the box being precooled and will be reduced if cooling from room temperature.)

For more information, please visit:

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 35 KIT
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In 1999, GreenMech was the first UK manufacturer to launch a tracked woodchipper. Since then, the market has expanded with the manufacturer overseeing developments and expansions to the range, which now encapsulates fixed, variable, extending and pivoting track systems.

It was a combination of customer demand and GreenMech’s abilities in design and manufacturing that led to the development of their first chipper with a tracked undercarriage. This machine used the basic principles of conventional fixed track carriers, similar to that used on mini excavators.

However, we realised there was a need to go further as this did not fully address the key industry issues of poor stability on sloping ground, lack of adequate ground clearance and machinery that was too wide, so restricting the all-important access into tight areas.

Introducing SAFE-Trak

GreenMech sought to overcome these problems with the introduction of the first machine equipped with their SAFE-Trak system in 2002. This revolutionised the operator experience in terms of significantly enhanced safety, manoeuvrability and ease of access, all while maintaining engine oil pressure, when compared to a conventional tracked undercarriage chipper.



The patented SAFE-Trak system incorporates two independently adjustable track mounted legs which, with the ability to extend them one at a time, meant embankments of up to 35 degrees can be traversed in safety. It also provides unparalleled ground clearance of up to 630mm.

By 2004, the SAFE-Trak system became a product in its own right and became the ‘go-to’ for de-veg contractors, specifically those working on power line, railway and motorway maintenance.

With a 6” capacity, the ECO 150 SAFE-Trak provided the solution to work on slopes of up to 35 degrees. It also featured a roll angle of 63 degrees, meaning that with any loss of traction, it would slide long before it would tip.

In 2006, GreenMech introduced the SAFETrak 16-23, followed by the legendary SAFE-Trak 19-28 in 2007.

Queen’s Award for Enterprise

Following in the tracks of the ECO 150 SAFETrak, these larger models were quickly adopted by companies such as Deutsche Bahn, Network Rail and many similar sub-contracting companies around the world, their global recognition culminating in the receipt of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise-Innovation in 2009.

Following this, GreenMech began extending the track concept to other machines in the range, such as with the turntable QuadChip machine. The QuadTrak 160 provided the operator with ultimate flexibility, allowing convenient loading from the kerbside and the quick and safe ascent of slopes up to 30 degrees. The machine could also be tilted, keeping it level and so ensuring consistent and correct engine oil pressure, as well as reducing the risk of oil starvation. The QuadTrak became a dual-purpose unit thanks to a dedicated trailer, allowing simplicity of use on the trailer or as a stand-alone tracked unit. ArbTrak 150 and 200 fixed track machines also joined the line-up.

KIT PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 36

Next generation

In 2018, GreenMech celebrated the sale of the 1000th SAFE-Trak 19-28. By now, we had paved the way for the next-generation of track technology with the launch of the patent pending SURE-Trak 19-28, which took all of the features of the SAFE-Trak system to the next level. The SURE-Trak is the first independently extendable system to also incorporate pivoting tracks. This allows each track to maintain contact with the ground while following different contours, ensuring even greater unit stability.

Tracks can be extended and retracted on the move, with the operator able to make both side-to-side and longitudinal adjustments to the angle of the machine. Where ground conditions allow, the operator can track straight up and down a slope for better access, all while maintaining engine oil pressure. The ability to adjust the SURE-Trak over and above the SAFE-Trak enhances manoeuvrability and delivers even greater safety for the operator, crew and machine.

Find out more:

The GreenMech EVO series, launched in 2019, features a range of tracked options. The addition of twin-drive horizontally extending ‘vari’ tracks makes the EVO 165DT the perfect ‘go-anywhere’ woodchipper. The track

With a line-up that spans over 20 units, GreenMech has a woodchipper to suit a wide array of end-users. The company’s success is down to the ability to innovate, as shown by the unique disc-blade chipping technology and in the case of SURE-Trak, the ability to perform in even the most challenging of environments.

Arb firm Southwestarb, based in Dumfries and Galloway took delivery of the first SURE-Trak 19-28 woodchipper in the UK, in 2019.

“When I established Southwestarb five years ago, the first thing I purchased was a GreenMech SAFETrak chipper,” explains director Stewart Ball. “My previous employer had been a longstanding user of the SAFE-Trak units and, having looked at other machines, when it came to working on embankments or challenging terrain, no other chippers came close.

“Since we’ve had the SURE-Trak, it’s been working on embankments that other chippers could only dream of getting to. Not only can we reach any given location, but the actual chipping performance is second to none. The powerful rollers will pull in even the most awkward forked material for the disc blades to process. Keep these sharp and the chipper won’t skip a beat.”

system provides ground clearance of 194mm and a tracking speed of 3.2kph to provide the operator with optimal manoeuvrability and stability.

More recently, the EVO concept was extended into the 8” market with the launch of the EVO 205D which paved the way for a range of larger tracked models, with EVO 205DT fixed track, SAFE-Trak and SURE-Trak now available. One of those benefitting from the versatility of a tracked unit for both domestic and commercial projects is Nick Hoskings, who

runs Woodworks Tree Surgery, which is based in Mold, Flintshire. He purchased an EVO 205D SAFETrak on the GreenMech stand at APF 2022. “We previously had a SAFE-Trak 19-28, so going to the 205D SAFE-Trak was a natural progression – this machine being newer, bigger, more reliable and more powerful,” explains Nick. “Since taking delivery in October 2022, it’s been on jobs of all shapes and sizes, most recently a roadside clearance project and it’s taken everything in its stride.”

At the heart of the EVO 205D, is a Stage-V compliant 50hp Kubota diesel engine, delivering powerful chipping performance for bulky brash and timber of up to 8”. Underneath the robust, steel chassis is GreenMech’s patented SAFETrak system which provides Nick with ground clearance of up to 530mm and allows the safe traversing of slopes up to 35 degrees.

KIT PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 37
ARBORIST VIEW - SAFE-TRAK 19-28 ARBORIST VIEW - EVO 205D Southwestarb Woodworks Tree Surgery


As alkylate petrol pioneers since 1988, Aspen ensures a safer and healthier working environment.

Available for both two and fourstroke engines, our ethanol free fuel is perfectly suited for professionals –offering a cleaner burning fuel which also improves the performance of your machinery.

The Log Splitter is our first trailer implement and we are certain that new and existing customers alike will be impressed with this highly versatile and reliable product.

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INTRODUCING Pro Arb - February - Ifor Williams Trailers.pdf 2 25/01/2023 12:33:55
Log Splitter



Först, Europe’s leading wood chipper manufacturer, is delighted to announce a new dealership agreement with Spectrum Plant. Spectrum Plant, already well known and highly regarded within the arboricultural industry in the north of England, will join the Först family as the official dealer for both sales and service, in Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the Isle of Man.

Incorporating a handful of dealer partners in strategic locations, into their otherwise direct selling model, is a relatively new direction for Först. Historically, the company has sold direct to their customers across the UK in order to maintain the very highest level of customer service. However, following a successful partnership with ILH Groundcare Machinery in Scotland, Först has recognised the benefits to customers in areas of significant distance from their head office in Andover, of having a local and arb focused dealer.

customer care that they would receive if they came directly to Först.

Först Assist remains available to all customers and will still be the first port of call for all technical enquiries. However, where

the Först standard across the whole of the UK as the product range and volume of machines in the market grows.

“Following the successful appointment of ILH Groundcare and more recently Pro-Arb Machinery, we were looking for another dealer to cover the North West. Upon the first visit to Spectrum Plant’s depot we were immediately struck by how knowledgeable, professional and customer-centric the team were, all the attributes we look for in a successful partnership. They’ve worked in the arb industry for over 14 years and are perfectly equipped to look after our customers to the high standards we require and we very much look forward to working with them.”

hands-on technical support is required in the North of England, enquiries will be passed on to the relevant Först-approved dealer.

Spectrum will be offering full sales, service and parts support to customers within their region and are conveniently based in Warrington. Spectrum Plant joins existing dealers Pro-Arb Machinery in York (which covers Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Durham and Yorkshire) and ILH in Scotland, which will ensure that the whole of the northern part of the UK is covered.

Mark Schaefer, managing director of Spectrum Plant commented: “As a dealership, Spectrum wants to work with the best in the business. Först offers high performance, high quality woodchippers with unrivalled customer support and a brand that has seen them grow to be the largest UK/European producer of woodchippers within 10 years of starting.

Först, never wanting to compromise on customer service, has been very careful to choose the right dealer partners. By selecting highly focused, specialist arb dealers, rather than general machinery dealers, Först has been able to ensure their customers benefit from the same specialist arb knowledge and

Doug Ghinn, director at Först commented: “The decision to bring a focused, local service to the North of England is a strategic move for us. Först is founded on delivering exceptional customer service and we constantly monitor customer satisfaction. This move to appoint dedicated and arb focused dealers in the North of England is absolutely the right decision for us to ensure we are able to deliver

The reason we’ve decided to partner with them is because the passion for what they do and desire to offer the highest quality of service to customers is clear and matches our own company values. We’ve worked in the arb industry selling woodchippers for many years and we’re excited to now be working with the market leaders.”

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 39 KIT
This move is absolutely the right decision for us to ensure we are able to deliver the Först standard across the whole of the UK
Doug Ghinn and Phil Edmondson



Stihl’s new full chisel saw chain offers up to a 20% higher cutting performance and it is compatible with any of the manufacturer’s professional chainsaws with a power output of 1.6 kW-2.0 kW.

The new PS3 Pro chain is available in 3/8 P pitch and 1.1mm drive link gauge and features a narrow kerf designed to reduce resistance while cutting. This new geometry results in a chain that not only cuts faster than the previous 1.3mm gauge chain but is less sensitive to pressure too. For cordless chainsaw models, the increase in cutting efficiency allows more cuts to be made per charge, thereby improving productivity.


Stihl’s recent launches include the MSA 220 T and MSA 220 TC-O, the manufacturer’s most powerful and durable cordless top-handled chainsaws to date. They are designed for tree care professionals to remove larger branches or perform crown maintenance with ease. When used with the recommended AP 300 S battery, both new chainsaws deliver 2.1 kW of electrical power, providing up to 29 minutes of working time and the necessary power for cutting larger branches.

Meanwhile, the new MSA 300 is the most powerful cordless chainsaw in Stihl’s AP System. It is recommended for use with a 16” Light 04 guide bar and .325” RS Pro chain for fast cutting. The chainsaw is suitable for felling, cross-cutting, snedding and processing, offering arborists plenty of power for taking on larger felling and processing tasks.

There is also a new 1.1mm Light 04 guide bar, which has been specifically designed for use with the PS3 Pro chain, offering increased durability and optimum balance. In addition, the drive links on the PS3 Pro sit deeper inside the Light 04 guide bar compared to ¼ P 1.1mm chain. This further decreases the likelihood of the chain de-railing.

Available in 12” and 14” lengths, the PS3 Pro chain and Light 04 guide bar comes as standard with the new MSA 220 C-B, or separately as an upgrade for models such as the MSA 220 T and MS 201 TC-M. Furthermore, the PS3 Pro is compatible with all standard 3/8 P sharpening accessories.

For more information:

Stihl’s battery range also now features the AP 500 S, the most powerful AP model in its range and the first to feature laminate technology helping to double the service life up to 2,400 charge cycles, as well as the new AL 301-4 multi-charger that can charge up to four AP and AP batteries at one time. Stihl products are available from more than 700 specialist approved dealers who offer advice and after sales support.

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 40 KIT
the increase in cutting efficiency allows more cuts to be made per charge, thereby improving productivity
MSA 300


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on a growth journey Broadleaf Midlands

This March, Broadleaf Midlands will be just two years old, but has already built a strong foundation. Pro Arb featured the firm back in August 2021 and caught up recently with owners Brandon King and Kimberley Allen to find out more about their strategy. Broadleaf Midlands, based in Shepshed, Leicestershire, has been making progress in several ways. This includes taking on full-time employees and revamping the company brand. But, what has driven their decision making and what have they learnt from their experiences?

Starting out

Broadleaf Midlands was initially set up with Brandon and Kimberley working on a part-time basis while working in other roles. Brandon was with John Lewis Partnership, but decided there was an expanding amount of tree work bookings that convinced him he could make the business work. Kimberley had been working in childcare management/assessing before setting

out on a new career path. She enrolled onto a business degree whilst also working at John Lewis Partnership, but was diagnosed with lupus, an auto-immune condition, which can cause a range of debilitating symptoms during flare-ups. However, while challenging, Kimberley decided that working with Brandon to launch Broadleaf Midlands would also provide more flexibility.

Recruiting with care

They now have an apprentice who has joined the team, and Brandon explains this was important to enable expansion, but also brings a new level of responsibility. “With staff, there are always health and safety issues, but there are particular risks when working with trees. Having an apprentice requires planning and organisation in terms of allowing days at college and off-the-job training. We will continue to invest in training (CPD) for ourselves and staff so we can ensure we are empowered to do what we can to run a successful and valuable business.

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 42
Brandon and Kim at FSB Small Business Awards 2022 (as regional finalists) Brandon with new FSI grinder

“There are always challenges when you have employees and you need to ensure they are motivated and that the work being provided meets your standards. We also work with subcontractors and again, they have to be the right people to represent your business.”

So, is there an ideal number of staff they would like to employ? Brandon, says the number 20 has some appeal, allowing them to have multiple teams – but this is some years off.

SEO skills bring searches home Kimberley has considerable expertise in digital marketing, including SEO which she has become certified in after receiving a diploma with the Digital Marketing Institute.

Broadleaf Midlands is now highly placed when local people look for an arborist firm. “I’ve developed a good understanding of how Google Map Pack works, which is an important tool to boost search engine results and help local people find you and we also concentrate on growing our customer list,” she explains. “It is time-consuming working on the website and social media as well as SEO, and while results do not happen straight away, we have seen progress and it’s definitely worth it.”

Building up kit

The business has invested in new equipment, and one of these is a narrow access stump grinder from Global Sales. The great news with

we are prepared to borrow, we do not want to become indebted.”

Being different – Planet Promise

Broadleaf Midlands plants a tree for each it fells, an initiative known as the Planet Promise, and

well and fit as our brand. They are on our truck, website, leaflets, marketing, social posts, etc. They are now also being seen on kits of a local grassroots football club after the club reached out in need of sponsorship for winter jackets. We were happy to help support the young girls and boys getting involved in sports in our community at Shepshed Dynamo Y&J Under 9s, and provide their winter training jackets.”

Excelling at customer service

Broadleaf Midlands has plenty of repeat bookings, and business is also driven by recommendations and positive reviews.

which their daughter, Brooke, put forward as an idea. Brandon comments: “The Planet Promise has been amazing and we are deeply proud of our daughter for inspiring the idea. Our mission is to provide sustainable solutions within our work and many customers like knowing that if for whatever reason they decide to remove their trees, that more will be planted in tribute.”

He adds that a ‘review promise’ has also been introduced and means that for every review received, then a tree is also planted. “We have planted over 240 trees now with the two promises, and we also gave away 60 trees in our local community to support tree planting for the Queen’s Green Canopy. Shepshed residents got involved in planting our saplings in their gardens and the rest were planted in green spaces throughout the community.”

A strong brand identity

this is that the couple applied for funding from the local Sir Thomas White Loan Charity and were successful.

Brandon adds he is also considering investing in a MEWP, a high-cost piece of kit, but says there is demand for ash dieback tree removal and an access platform is often the only way to do this in the most serious cases. “We plan to move onto more battery-powered kit too, when we can afford to do so. Although

Broadleaf Midlands has a strong brand identity and this sets the business apart. Kimberley explains there is plenty of competition in terms of other tree surgeon firms throughout the East Midlands: “There are many other good firms and we had to find a way to stand out from these well-established companies. The Digital Marketing Institute says customer touchpoints are a vital way to build trust, and so we try to ensure that each of these touchpoints is professional, yet fun and memorable.

“Our previous company colours were grey and orange and we switched to a vibrant blue and orange. We think these colours contrast

Brandon says: “We have a constant flow of five star reviews, and pride ourselves on providing a positive customer experience. We’re about being friendly and approachable. Customers like it when you take the time to listen to what they want and then explain how what they want

can be achieved through various arboricultural processes. They like to see the work carried out to best standards with their properties left neat and tidy – and this needs to happen every time.”

Focusing on the positive

Running a business will always bring pressures that do not exist when working for an employer. The couple say pressures include managing time when there are multiple jobs, managing staff, keeping pricing competitive, and switching off for family time. But these are outnumbered by benefits, which they say include flexibility, and the satisfaction of building something that is theirs.

In terms of advice, Brandon says: “Staying persistent and focused on goals is important. Take risks, but risks that have been planned and calculated, and continue to invest in the business – but more importantly, invest in yourselves”.

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 43
Tree saplings given away in local community for Queens Green Canopy Broadleaf Truck at a job site with hired MEWP
We have a constant flow of five star reviews, and pride ourselves on providing a positive customer experience

Be clued up on cyber security


Cyber security may not always be seen as a top priority by arborists, but their business and reputation could be in jeopardy if they ignore it. Many have no security installed on their computers, yet these often hold customer data and sensitive financial information.

A recent report from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport found that 48% of UK small firms were not confident enough to carry out basic online security tasks. In such cases, taking advice on how to beef up security is essential.

SMEs are at risk

Many firms believe they are too small to be a target. However, criminals target millions of businesses indiscriminately – and smaller firms are more likely to be caught out because they employ fewer people with relevant knowledge. Many arborists will have information on their systems, which could include bank account details, credit and debit card numbers as well as customer information such as that held on invoices, and all this can be stolen and then sold on.

There may well be a local expert who can provide some basic guidance which will be enough to add in vital levels of protection. This could be in setting up a firewall, helping with patching which is where flaws are identified on software and repaired, transferring data to safe locations and monitoring and removing malware – malicious software.

Guidance is available from the government’s National Cyber Security Centre. The NCSC runs the Cyber Essentials scheme, which helps protect UK businesses from the most common threats, setting out basic controls and showing how having the right policies can deter threats.

Dangers from ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware, where there is an attempt to obtain payment in return for not publishing stolen data. This

According to Lindsey Pyle, vice president of strategy at Avast Business: “SMEs often have very limited budget and resources, and many don’t have somebody on staff managing security holistically. As a result, not only are they lacking in their defence, but they’re also slower to react to incidents.”

Phishing perils

Phishing scams involve fraudulent messages being sent with the aim being to encourage the recipient to click on a link to a fake website. On doing this, sensitive data can be accessed – some 90% of data breaches occur because of phishing. Scam emails are incredibly common and NCSC recently said the public reported some 6.4 million emails as being suspicious in 2022. Using the Suspicious Email Reporting Service can ensure fake websites are taken down.

crime is surprisingly common, but, many do not reveal it has happened to them.

Research in January from anti-virus software provider Avast found that over a quarter (26%) of UK small businesses had been targeted by ransomware within the past year. Of this number, almost half (47%) of those falling victim had paid the ransom to regain access to their files or systems. The survey also found 41% lost data while 34% lost access to devices.

Sarah Lyons, NCSC deputy director for economy and society resilience, said: “We know cyber criminals try to exploit trends and current affairs to make their scams seem convincing and sadly our latest data shows 2022 was no exception. We want to help people more easily spot the common tricks fraudsters use, so that ultimately they can stay safer online.”

Find out more from the National Centre for Cyber Security

criminals target millions of businesses indiscriminately - and smaller firms are more likely to be caught out
21 - 22 November 2023 ExCeL London Save the date
For more information contact: 07585 118136 SIMON NEEDLE, Principal Arboriculturist at Birmingham City Council There is a lot of data, and because TreePlotter CANOPY is very visual, to councilors and other active members it works well for communicating SEE HOW LOCAL COUNCILS LIKE YOURS CAN BENEFIT FROM AN URBAN TREE CANOPY ASSESSMENT LEARN MORE HERE: Mention Pro Arb when ordering £40 per year SUBSCRIBE NOW! • Quarterly independent magazine • Weekly email update • News-based website Call 01903 777570 or email for more details SPRING 2023 PRO ARB PROFESSIONAL TREE CARE FOR TREE SURGEONS It’s about the ARB back! arborists to Westonbirt Breaking out of the bank Why Graham finance Broadleaf Midlands –our of success firm building its tailored approach to tipper the unfogable mesh eye protection 01254 377 467

A helping hand to deal with debt


Christmas is well and truly over but many will have – once again – overspent to ensure friends and family had a wonderful time. But there are plenty of people, including those who work full-time, who are now struggling with debt and it can feel like their situation is overwhelming.

Arborists often work extremely hard and for long hours, but many are not well paid. Those work as sub-contractors can also find jobs vary and while they might enjoy the flexibility of being in control of their hours, they are also not paid if they are not working.

The current cost of living crisis has led to a rise in debt but alongside the practical issues of being unable to pay bills or rent, for example, it can also lead to mental health issues and extra pressure at home. Serious debt problems can affect concentration and someone’s ability to work safety – and this could be a huge problem for an arb firm.

As an employer, you may feel like you are doing enough by offering employment. But, offering empathy and practical help can do much to reassure your staff member – or indeed sub-contractor – that they are not alone and that there are ways to ease matters.

Debt creates stress

Many are embarrassed if they are in debt and they may try and try and cover up how much they owe and end up making problems even worse. If a team member indicates they are in financial difficulty, it could well be worth offering a confidential chat to see if you are able to provide assistance.

You may remind them that that while the scale of debt varies, most people owe money. In fact, research from the debt index showed that four in five UK adults entered 2023 in debt and that this was largely

caused by trying to meet monthly bills. The figures are up from 2021, when it was three in five. Although credit cards can also payments to be made over a longer period, interest is only not charged if the balance is cleared. However, the research showed that one in three are unable to do this and so they are faced with borrowing costs. It was also found that almost half (46%) had taken out an

additional credit card of loan to help deal with the cost of living. In addition, it was shown that the average debt has increased over the year from £25,879 to £34,566 (£8,687) in 2022, and this does not include mortgages.

PROARBMAGAZINE.COM Pro Arb | Spring 2023 47
alongside the practical issues of being unable to pay bills or rent, for example, it can also lead to mental health issues and extra pressure at home
If a team member indicates they are in financial difficulty, it could well be worth offering a confidential chat


Citizens Advice Bureau

One option is Citizens Advice Bureau, which sees many people with debt problems – it is one of the most common reasons for guidance being sought. Depending on the area, there can drop-in sessions or appointments that need to be booked, while online chat may also be available. It also offers some general information about debt and ways to cope online – check out their website.


StepChange is a debt charity, and it encourages employers to understand that debt is common and should be something to discuss in the workplace. It points out that over 50% of those who are seeking advice about money problems are in employment.

The charity has a number of resources to help employers, including on how to start the conversation. StepChange also has a guide for employers, which gives explains its services, which include debt advice, support with budgeting, or help with managing persistent debt. Advice is available on their website or over the phone, and the user can switch between channels to suit their needs. StepChange also has guidance on its website on how to deal with the rising cost of living.

Visit it online at, or get in touch through 0113 138 1111. It is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and on Saturday from 8am to 4pm.

Money Helper

Money Helper is a government-approved online service, which includes advice on debt, such as dealing with bills and ways to pay off debt and dealing with courts and fines. The website includes a search facility to find free face-to-face debt advice, along with online and telephone debt advice services. This can be found at: use-our-debt-advice-locator

Preparation matters

If you choose to signpost the employee to Citizens Advice Bureau or StepChange, remind them to ensure they have as much information about the nature of their debts and how much is owed, as well as details on their outgoings and what pay is coming in. The adviser will then be able to understand the problems and help create a budget to see how the situation can be improved. They should also be able to advise on how to contact companies to whom money is owed and if possible, to set up payments plans where the debt can be repaid over a longer period and in small amounts.

Other measures

If the employee asks for an advance on their wages, this can put the employer in a difficult position. Even if it is agreed to, this is very much a short-term fix and although it may help with an emergency, it also means that the staff member may well also have even worse problems when they receive a reduced sum of pay.

You may be able to offer someone extra hours or overtime to help them boost their earnings. You may also want to consider allowing them some paid time off if they are offered an appointment with Citizens Advice Bureau, for example, as this may only be available during working hours.

If they are not already using a food bank, this could be another area to suggest. Some

may feel there is a stigma to using these, but it should be remembered that food banks are increasingly being used by people in work and it’s been reported that around 15% of nurses, for example, will regularly use them.

To be able to use a food bank requires a referral from an authorised agency – this could be a social worker, a GP, a housing officer or an adviser from the Citizens Advice Bureau. The vouchers to use the food bank are provided once it has been checked that the individual is eligible because they are in financial need.

With the UK in a recession and ongoing high inflation, the financial pressures that many are under look set to remain for many months to come. Dealing with debt is never easy, but an understanding employer can certainly make the road to recovery a little less rocky.

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Rob Trott


When did you join Husqvarna and what’s your role?

I joined the team in April 2017 and I work for the professional division of Husqvarna. My job role involves supporting our professional customer base, predominantly with regards to our petrol and battery handheld range. No two days are the same!

How would you describe the culture at Husqvarna?

Husqvarna wants to provide a connection and an understanding, not just for our own employees of the company, but also the end users who are utilising our machines every day.

a company can help provide solutions to make the working day better.

How big will battery become… can you see petrol tools being phased out entirely?

I use battery whenever possible, petrol still has its place in the industry but once the run time in a battery becomes sufficient enough when dealing with the higher capacity chainsaws, then I see no reason why battery wouldn’t be the first choice over a petrol equivalent.

Is there one Husqvarna tool or item –suited to arborists – that is really flying off the shelves at the moment?

The T540i XP top handle chainsaw with the BLi 200X battery. I am yet to hear a negative review of this machine, it’s fantastic and I haven’t gone back to petrol top handles myself since its release.

What did you do previously?

I was an arborist and I still try to get out into the trees whenever I can.

What are the best parts of your job?

I get to spend a great deal of time talking to and connecting with customers, discussing the pros and cons of daily work as an arborist, getting into the real issues to see how we as

What do you think makes a successful arborist?

I’ve always believed the best arborists are people who are also good at working on the ground, understanding the difficulties of being a ‘groundie’ and ensuring you’re making sure those working below you while you’re operating in the tree are not in danger from your cuts, or even just trying to make their job easier by simply changing the direction of limb felling. In short, being a considerate and thoughtful arborist.

Are there any trends you’ve spotted recently?

Yes, a great shift from petrol to battery top handles.

What do you look for in a Husqvarna ambassador? They need to be an informative instructor and also someone who can inspire.

How do you switch off when out of work?

I think as an arborist it’s more than work, it’s a passion

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once the run time in a battery becomes sufficient enough when dealing with the higher capacity chainsaws, then I see no reason why battery wouldn’t be the first choice
T540i XP top handle chainsaw
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