Service Summary

Welcome to The Green Man Arboricultural Consultancy

This website supports the consultancy business based in North Wales and which operates throughout the United Kingdom providing a wide range of arboricultural services including: home buyers tree reports, tree condition reports, development site surveys and reports, woodland assessment and management plans and general advice relating to trees.

For further information or to discuss your requirements please contact us on: 01978 821 851/ 07981 912 162 or via

Monday, 14 June 2010

An Introduction to Tree Biology - Defects, Signs and Symptoms I

I walked past a couple of people today looking at a large Horse Chestnut tree near my house. I missed the start of their conversation but as I walked past I heard them commenting on its health and appearance; the lady said she thought the tree looked sturdy enough.

It reminded me of many a discussion I have had with people, distraught at a particular tree being felled when they believed the tree to be perfectly healthy, and the hours I have spent trying to reassure someone that a tree near their house is no cause for concern when they are convinced that it is dangerous.

Trees can tolerate very poor conditions before they are so effected that they fall over, or fail, however for the most there are signs and symptoms that the arboricultural consultant can detect to aid appropriate management.

The term signs is used when there is an external indication of defects on a tree such as the fruiting body of a parasitic fungus, (parasitic - lives off live woody tissue) or a particular saprophytic fungus, (saprophytic - lives of dead woody tissue) associated with trees in decline, or significant deadwood and secondary pathogens. I will explain all of this in greater detail later.

The term symptoms refers to indicators of defects that the tree develops itself such as the swelling of reaction wood that may indicate internal defects such as decay and cavities, or deadwood indicating issues with the trees root system.

Both symptoms and signs may be subtle however significant internal defects may be present.

It is the job of the arboricultural consultant to inspect trees for such signs and symptoms and calculate their severity and significance for any given tree in an individual environment.

To return to parasitic and saprophytic fungus, there are many parasitic fungus that degrade the live, woody tissue of trees, each with their own decay strategy.

There are also many saprophytic fungus that live off deadwood and hundreds of species can be found within a woodland however some associated with growth on deadwood within trees can be an indicator or trees in severe decline.

Some even imply the presence of a specific parasitic primary fungus within in a tree that may not visible at that time. Primary fungus result in the initial infection of a tree but may pave the way for associated secondary diseases, including fungus. Primary diseases are usually more significant, secondary diseases may indicate the severity of the situation.

The fruiting body of a fungus is just that, the fruit. The remainder of the fungus exists predominantly in what is termed its mycelial form within the tree. This is the vegetative part of the fungus as seen here on a rotting log.

Some fruiting bodies of fungus are annual and therefore only visible on an infected tree for a limited period every year, however some are perennial and increase in incremental growth each year.

There are other species specific symptoms that can indicate tree defects. Severe stem taper can indicate stem base decay or root decay.

Also extensive epicormic growth on a tree, (prolific shoot generation on a main stem or within the crown of a tree) can be an indicator of stress however some species of tree, such as Lime trees, generate dense epicormic growth by design as seen around the base of the Lime tree in the photo opposite.

Recognising defects and understanding their significance therefore requires knowledge and experience of individual tree species, their natural features and their typical form.

So to return to the Horse Chestnut tree near my house, the tree is in fact suffering some stress as a result of root disturbance and ground compaction. It is also mature to over mature in age and has some epicormic growth on the main stem however for the most I would have to agree with their current conclusion, it does (at present) look sturdy enough!

Image Credit for Mycelium: Dr. George Knaphus Iowa State University

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Getting out and Exploring

Early summer is a great time of year to get out and about amongst the plants and trees. If you are quick you should catch the last scents of spring in the air. Personally I can recommend walking near or beneath the canopies of Lime trees as they give off the most beautifully fragrant aroma.

To help you find somewhere to explore near to you I am recommending the following websites:

BBC Breathing Places

This website is only relevant for the UK however by entering your postcode, or a postcode or town name for an area you may be visiting, it will bring up a list of places to visit to enjoy and explore the natural environment.

The website gives a brief description of the recommended site with a map and list of facilities.

You may also try:
The Garden Landscape Guide

This website provides details of registered gardens around the world, listed by country and then region. The website gives maps and directions, images for some gardens, includes reviews of each garden and gives you the option to add a review or image if you have visited one of them.

An excellent tool for planning a world wide garden tour, a trip out for a planned holiday or travelling the globe by garden from the comfort of your living room!

Castle Finder

This website 'does what it says on the tin' and provides lists of castles in the UK by region. Many of the castles exist now as ruins only however of one thing you can be sure, they have amazing backdrops.

The website provides detailed information, directions and photographs.

Forestry Commission GB

The Forestry Commission website has an excellent woodland finder tool providing details of each woodlans, what wildlife you may see there, direction and photographs. You can search by region.

Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust runs an interactive map allowing you to find woodlands to visit near you or throughout the country by browsing the map or searching using a postcode.

For other outdoor experiences why not try typing Arboretum or Garden Finder into your Search Engine and see what comes up. Now everything is back in leaf and bloom its time to get out and smell the roses.

Image Credits:
The Grow Spot


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