April talk – joint meeting with Royal Forestry Society

On 14th April we were fortunate once again to have the use of the Council Chamber at the Cotswold District Council offices in Cirencester for our spring talk.

Despite the inclement weather passing across Gloucestershire in the early evening there was a good turnout. Attendees, boosted by Jean Nunn’s ever popular cakes and a “cuppa”, settled down for an interesting evening.  Our speakers were Geoff March, arboricultural consultant formerly of Tree Maintenance Ltd, our own Chairman, Mike Hartnell and Barrie Wellington of Elmcroft Nurseries, Newent, who like Mike is also on the RFS Gloucestershire Committee.

Geoff gave an informative and entertaining insight into the work of the consultant, as well as trees he has simply encountered on his travels.  With the assistance of many pictures he was able to demonstrate the issues faced by professionals, clients and the general public in trying to maintain a good treescape and accommodate trees within the demands of the modern world.


March 1 lighter

One of Geoff’s more demanding tree jobs at a landlocked site in Bath

In Mike’s many years of forestry management he has built up a strong relationship with Barrie as a reliable supplier.  Barrie first gave us a short background into the start of his nursery career.  The introduction of the “plug plant” style of growing gave Barrie the opportunity to develop a business where a great number of small trees can be produced in a relatively small area.  By concentrating on obtaining quality seed from assured sources he found he was able to produce stock which suffered minimal losses when planted on by clients.  Trees grown in this way are very reasonably priced and can therefore be purchased and planted in bulk. Barrie also understands what are appropriate conditions for the trees he grows and can therefore advise clients, such as Mike, on tree choice.

As Mike himself has a good understanding of tree species and suitability it can genuinely be said that they work together for a good end product.  Mike continued the story of trees “From Nursery  to Planting and Management” by highlighting some of the issues faced by the forestry manager and landowners in maintaining and developing a treescape whilst also achieving an income.  It has to be a far-sighted individual who may plant oak trees knowing that the main income stream could be two centuries away!

Mike's typical Cotswold landscape

This varied treescape is typical of the sort which Mike manages. BUT – it is “Ash-heavy”. It is a source of great concern as to what the future holds for our visual amenity