Arboriculture high climber Jo Hedger of Arbor Venture on her world-beating career

This week the Horticulture Week Podcast is marking International Women's Day by welcoming arborist and World Champion tree climber, Jo Hedger.

Hedger switched from horticulture to arboriculture at college setting up her own arboriculture firm, Arbor Venture Tree Care in 2005.

One of still relatively few women in the sector, she talks about the challenges of running a business, finding her market, keeping good staff, managing workload and avoiding getting trapped in the office. One of her career highlights is becoming 'ARB Approved' [the Arboricultural Association industry standard], she says, which helped her hone her business skills further.

But from early in her career, Hedger found a passion and skill for climbing trees and is now a 6-times European and 5-times World champion.

The competition is about much more than who can scramble fastest through the trees, she says:

"The whole reason for the competition originally was to educate the public on what an arborist is.

"If you know nothing about climbing and you were just spectating, they are fascinating because you have no idea that people can move that freely through the trees."

"It's really benefited myself as an arborist...If I was climbing the way I was taught at college I wouldn't be climbing now as an arborist because the techniques are quite basic when your first learn so it's very physical whereas now there's a lot more modern techniques and equipment."

Presenter: HortWeek senior reporter Rachael Forsyth
Producer: HortWeek digital content manager Christina Taylor

Make sure you never miss a Horticulture Week podcast! Subscribe to or Follow Horticulture Week podcasts via Apple PodcastsSpotify or Google Podcasts or your preferred podcast platform. 

If you are interested in producing a podcast with HortWeek, contact

Read These Next

Fagus sylvatica woodland

Native trees and shrubs – part one

In the first part of a special round-up, Sally Drury details native trees and shrubs that can attract grants and potential income.

What are the best measures to reduce the risk of slips and trips?

What have been some of the highlights from 180 years of Horticulture Week?

For Horticulture Week's 180th anniversary, many former and current contributors have shared memories of their time at the title.