Barrell On ... Trees: more trouble than they're worth?

Trees damage services, take up too much space and cost too much money; three historic myths that are real barriers to modern urban greening. Of course, the evidence does not support these misconceptions, but they still remain commonly quoted reasons not to plant new trees.

Tree roots do not damage services installed using modern products tolerant of the small distortions caused by root growth. Indeed, there is now reliable guidance clearly stating that services can be placed near trees provided "adequate protective measures" are taken.

Another feeble excuse is that there is not enough space. Yet, even in the highest density developments, various technologies now allow the creation of rooting volumes that can support tree growth in the most hostile of environments. Above ground, a wide variety of species and forms allow tree selection to fit the space, rather than having to design the space to fit the tree.

Regarding costs, the initial supply and planting can be expensive, but tree benefits increase exponentially with growth and soon repay those costs, with a significant net gain over the lifecycle.

The problem in the past has been realistically valuing those benefits, but help is here with a new system called i-Tree that calculates a pound value for the eco-services that trees provide.

London is in the process of completing the world's largest i-Tree survey to establish the value of its tree canopy cover. Through a collaboration of the Arboricultural Association, Forest Research, the Greater London Authority, Treeconomics and a host of volunteers, data from over 700 sample plots has been collected and the value of London's trees is due to be published early next year.

Placing a reliable value on tree benefits is the first step to dispelling the grand myth that trees are more trouble than they are worth.

Jeremy Barrell is managing director of Barrell Tree Consultancy


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Battery tools on the up

Battery tools on the up

The revolution in battery powered equipment continues apace with more manufacturers offering ever-improving machines, Sally Drury reports.

Chainsaws and pruning tools

Chainsaws and pruning tools

Selecting the most appropriate equipment for the job is key to getting the best result and there are plenty of new options, Sally Drury finds

Careers profile - Local authority tree officer

Careers profile - Local authority tree officer

A tree officer works for a council and is responsible for the care and management of trees owned by the local authority, including trees in public woodlands, parks, country parks and roadsides.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Arboriculture Contracts & Tenders

Jeremy Barrell On...

Jeremy Barrell

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell reflects on the big issues in arboriculture.

Products & Kit Resources