Tree Management at the ANBG

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Cover of the ANBG Tree Management Strategy 2016-2026
ANBG Tree Management Strategy 2016-2026


David Taylor, the Curator of Living Collections at the Gardens, has asked if the Friends can publicise the ANBG’s approach to tree management, being undertaken by the tree team, Dan, Anthony, Mark and Pete (returning soon) guided by Phil. As Dave notes, it can be difficult to see large trees go, but his hope is that knowing more about how the ANBG makes such decisions will allow better appreciation of the considered way this happens.

The message from David Taylor

As we embark on another series of tree surgery work, including some substantial removals, the question often arises about the nature and reasoning for tree work, particularly from many Friends, guides and regulars that visit, and/or are involved with the ANBG.

I know you may have heard me (and others) regularly talking about this at guides meetings and other forums, but ahead of some upcoming changes to the ‘tree landscape’, we thought it worth mentioning some of the key issues that underpin the decisions and actions we take on tree management.

They include:

  • Risk and safety assessment of trees across the ANBG site – this initiates much of the tree surgery work we do and reflects our priority to address the risks and safety of our site. This is done annually and is also ongoing. It is done by our trained tree team as well as external specialists where / when needed. (Please note: some trees appear to look fine from a casual observation but can have major defects and risks);
  • Succession planning where trees are thinned and phased out as they age and senesce;
  • Succession for trees that are no longer performing a beneficial function, this covers context / thematic for the area, shading, views, impact on other collections, and aesthetics;
  • The value, rarity and significance of the trees (or stand of trees);
  • The map we have developed for the areas where we aim to retain naturally-occurring trees, linking the natural areas surrounding the ANBG site;
  • Retention where applicable of habitat trees;
  • The specialist tree training our team does and uses in assessments.

With so many trees on our site, you can appreciate that we need to tackle our tree management strategically and regularly; change to the tree scape is an ongoing process. The replacement, succession and renewal has parallels in nature and reflects the complexity and ever-changing nature of the collection and landscape we manage.

In addition we have recently completed a Tree Management strategy that underpins and guides much of the tree management we do and will continue with, and we constantly look for new and better ways to manage our treescape in partnership with other specialists regionally and nationally.

We are also looking to retain habitat trees in select areas and we want to do this using interpretive signs to explain the value and reasoning for keeping such trees. (This includes dead frames in areas where context and use of area is applicable).

Our key challenge is how we use limited resources wisely, and the tree management strategy and the ongoing prioritising of ANBG tree management aims to use these effectively and to address the priorities responsibly and practically.

David Taylor