Women in Arboriculture

The Women in Arboriculture Group aims to support and champion females in the tree care industry while collaborating to encourage a culture change and greater diversity. The group welcomes views, ideas and constructive comments from anyone in the industry.

Top climbing arborist Boel Hammarstrand talks about women in the industry.

Promoting Diversity

Diversity has a vital role to play in raising the profile of arboriculture. By sharing experiences, we hope to encourage more people to seek a career in arboriculture.

Sharing Knowledge

As there is no set path into the industry, the route you take is completely up to you. Qualifications and training ranges from apprenticeships to masters degrees, there’s an option for everyone. One thing is for certain, you will never stop learning!

Providing Support

Supporting and offering guidance to those with less experience is crucial, so we’ve developed a forum for you to ask questions and share knowledge.

Women in Arboricutulture Group chair, Arboricultural Association chair and Arboricultural consultant Michelle Ryan explains the aims of the project.

12 Faces of Arb

This Women in Arboriculture project looked at 12 inspirational women who’ve chosen to make their living in this sometimes tough but always exciting industry.

Becki Gawthorpe from Forest Research discusses the variety of rewarding roles in arboriculture.

What are the typical services of an arboricultural contractor?

Services typically required of an arboricultural contractor are:

In addition some contractors may undertake pest and disease (‘P&D’) identification and control, bracing, soil decompaction and amelioration, tree fertilisation, mulching and other operations, including hedge trimming, fruit tree pruning, veteran tree management. However, only those listed above are covered by the ‘ARB Approved Contractor Scheme

These services are usually performed to an agreed specification which may come from:

In either case it is prudent for clients to obtain a written specification for the work and to agree the specification and price prior to commissioning the contractor.

Further information:

The Arboricultural Association's official guide to choosing your tree surgeon

When is the bird nesting season?

The ‘Bird Nesting Season’ is officially from February until August (Natural England) and it is recommended that vegetation works (tree or hedge cutting) or site clearance should be done outside of the nesting season. However, in reality the nesting period may start before this and extend beyond it, in some cases. The busiest time for nesting birds is from 1st March until 31st July and of course varies according to species, etc.

Responsibilities of Tree Work Contractors:

As contractors we must aim to avoid impact to nesting birds and infringement of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and breaching the European Habitats Directive 1992/Nesting Birds Directive.

When tree or vegetation clearance work has to be undertaken during the nesting season, a pre works survey needs to be carried out by a suitably competent person. As a general rule, it should be assumed that birds will be nesting in trees, and as contactors it is down to us to assess, record and confirm that any works carried out in the management of trees and other vegetation has not disturbed actively nesting birds.

Ground vegetation, and therefore ground nesting birds, can often be overlooked by tree workers so additional care and controls should be taken when access and egress to the work site may also cause disturbance or damage to a nesting site. This is also true for retained trees on site as the removal of adjacent trees or remedial works on a tree may lead to the established nest being abandoned, exposed to the elements or predation. This action is also a breach of the act and therefore could lead to prosecution.

In our experience most clients are sympathetic and if works need to be put on hold until nesting is over then this is usually accepted.

On larger scale developments the main client should be well aware of the requirements of the legislation and therefore should be more than sympathetic and support you as a contractor not to breach the legislation. If this is not the case you may need to review the suitability of the client!

Further information:

Natural England - Wild bird survey guidance

What should I do to make sure that Bats are not affected by tree work?

All British Bat species are protected by law and many bats roost in trees; although some bat species have adapted to living in buildings, trees still remain important throughout the year for most of the UK’s 16 species. Suitable trees are becoming fewer and further between as older and hollow trees, which provide holes to roost in and a feast of insect life (and even younger trees with suitable cavities) are removed.

Please remember to check with your arborist that they have checked the tree(s) for bats or roosts before work commences. If bats (or roosts) are thought to be present before, or during, work then works should be stopped and advice sort from Natural England or a competent ecologist to ensure you will be working within the law.

The presence of bats does not necessarily mean that tree work cannot proceed, but it does mean that the above procedures must be followed in order to ensure you are working within the law and minimise the risk of bats being killed or injured.

If you are interested in finding out more about one of the UK's rarest mammals please contact the Bat Conservation Trust.

Do I need permission to carry out work on trees on my property?

If your trees are protected by a Tree Preservation Order, or you are within a Conservation Area, or the trees are protected by a condition attached to a planning permission, then you will need consent for the works.

Find out if your tree has a TPO

More detailed information on TPOs: www.gov.uk/guidance/tree-preservation-orders-and-trees-in-conservation-areas#Flowchart-1-Making-and-confirming-TPO

Are there any times of year when tree works should not be undertaken?

Ideally, tree works should not be undertaken during the springtime period, when the 'sap is rising' to enable the leaves to flush (come out) and photosynthesis to begin, and during the autumn, when the tree is drawing nutrients back into itself from the leaves as they go brown.

If works are undertaken in the spring then the tree may become more vulnerable to pest and disease attack. If works are carried out in the autumn then the tree will not be able to get all the nutrients that it needs for the next spring and the tree may be put under unnecessary stress, increasing the likelihood of disease.

Outside these periods most trees can be pruned at any time of the year, with a few exceptions:

Cherry, Plum and related trees (Prunus species) should be pruned soon after flowering to reduce the risk of bacterial infection.

Maple, Birch, Beech and Walnut should be pruned in leaf or just after leaf fall and Magnolia in high summer to avoid ‘bleeding’ (exuding sap), which, although not considered damaging, can be unsightly.

If possible, pruning should be avoided when recovery may be impaired, for example during a period of physiological stress following previous tree work or construction-related damage or during seasonal weather extremes such as drought or extended heavy frost.

bleedingfruit treespruningtime of year

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If you need advice or tree management services - always use an Arb Approved Contractor (Tree work) or a Registered Consultant (Arboricultural consultant)

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Arboricultural Association Ltd. A company registered in England at The Malthouse, Stroud Green, Standish, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire GL10 3DL, UK. Company number 4070377.
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