These are working forestry sites, and the timber has to be felled, prepared and stacked to exacting standards, as it is a saleable product for the landowners. The candidates have to be able to fell and process two trees, use several different felling cuts, and be able to safely take down a tree that has become hung- up.
It is a lot to cover in three days!!
Jake, Kat and Chris took their assessments of Saturday and were all successful. Joe will be taking his a little later on.
Once again congratulations to this gang, who are taking on these challenges with good humour, and at a brisk pace!
Thursday morning we took a break from felling, and met up with Dr Jen Hiscox and PhD student Emma Gilmartin from the Fungal Ecology team at Cardiff University, at Buckfast Abbey. We spent the morning finding suitable tree species, for their experiment. Emma and Jen are sampling the wood from inside trees to see what ‘latent’ fungi are present. This involves taking a small core sample of wood, and then subjecting it to sensitive DNA analysis.
In this case we were doing the initial work of GPS locating trees, and then tagging them with individual numbers. The trees will then be mapped, and in a couple of weeks time, Jen and Emma will return to extract the wood samples.
The students were using their excellent tree ident knowledge to successfully find the 30 specimens required, and also helping in measuring and tagging them.
Initially we were greeted by the sight of a lot of Honey Fungus growing around the base, but Sam Whiffin spotted the growth in the middle, and Emma Gilmartin the fungal bodies to the left.
The one on the left is Phaeolus schweinitzii, or Dyers Mazegill, and the one on the right is Sparassis crispa called the Cauliflower fungus for obvious reasons. By coincidence, I found another specimen much younger, and in better condition the following day, on another Pinus radiata and I have included the picture on the right- it really does look like a cauliflower!
Neither of them is a particularly welcome site, as both are parasites of trees, and both cause degradation of the wood that can lead to brittle fracture of the stem base.
They are certainly going to give Aaron some pause for thought!
Friday saw Wayne Nesbitt, one of our more advanced apprentices, coming in to complete the Pole Pruner unit for his portfolio, and his tree ident test. He has been on the scheme for some 18 months now and is very nearly finished.
He now only has a MEWP unit to complete next week, with his employer Matt Shute from East Devon Tree Care and his apprenticeship will be complete- so well done Wayne, it was all worth it!!
Pole pruners are becoming increasingly popular in arb work. It saves time and it also saves us from having to don a harness to remove fairly simple low branches in trees.
It also keeps us in line with the Work at Height Regulations (2005) which state that wherever possible, we should be finding alternatives to climbing to complete tasks. I couldn’t agree more, but I have to say that it isn’t nearly as much fun as climbing!
Saturday saw me attending the annual Tree Wardens Forum at Saltram House near Plymouth. We had a day of lectures and walk and talk led by the head of the Tree Council Jon Stokes. We also had a fantastic session on rare and ancient trees and tree photography by Archie Miles. His passion for trees is amazing, and his photography stunning. I just had to get a couple of his books!
Check his website out at:
I have been a Parish Tree Warden for about 10 years, we have a role to play in our communities, keeping an eye on trees, and also making the community aware of what it has, or in the case of Ash Dieback, what it is going to lose. We will have to prepare ourselves for this devastating loss, and perhaps think of other species that we can plant around the parish to replace the Ash once they have gone. I heard last week, that there has been a recorded case in East Devon, not far from Exeter, so it is now very close, and we can no longer pretend it isn’t going to get to us- it just has.
In the afternoon Jon persuaded me to give a couple of short talks on ivy in trees and management of old and hollow trees from a tree surgeons perspective- so much for a day sat at the back just listening for once!
The tree Council website is full of interesting stuff and information and is at: