Arboriculture industry to gather at The 2010 ARB Show

The sector's biggest pure arboriculture show offers contractors, managers and consultants the chance to catch up on the latest technology, says Gavin McEwan

This will be the 12th annual Arboricultural Association trade show, but the first to be called simply "The ARB Show".

Arboricultural Association director Nick Eden explains: "We have listened to our many exhibitors and visitors over the years and as many already referred to the event as The ARB Show, we thought it only appropriate to follow their lead.

"We're looking forward to another great show and with so many exhibitors - both old and new - coming along, plus informative practical demonstrations and interesting workshop sessions, we're confident of giving visitors a valuable day"

General overview

With around 80 exhibitors, the show has established itself firmly on the tree care calendar.

New product launches are a staple of any trade show and this one will be no different. Main event sponsor Stihl will be showing no fewer than three new chainsaws, including its latest professional model the MS 441 C-M, featuring the M-Tronic self-tuning engine. Its PPE range is also enhanced with new chainsaw protective boots and the new X-Fit jacket and trousers.

The company's technical experts will be on hand to give advice and guidance, and Stihl is also offering a set of its latest PPE to the winner of a prize draw, which is open to everyone registering at the show.

The extensive showground has ample room to demonstrate larger new products such as Cumberland Industries UK's Land Rover Discovery-based access platform. This boasts a purpose-designed telescopic boom with a basket capacity of 225kg, combined with the lowest travelling height in its class.

"We have designed it from the ground up, rather than taking a boom from something else," explains technical sales engineer Luke Thurston. "It also features advanced options as standard, such as emergency lowering, which health and safety regulations increasingly require."

The company plans to show an access platform mounted on an Iveco Daily truck. However, Thurston points out: "We are having to work day and night to get it ready."

It will be at The ARB Show for the first time this year, but missed last year only through having to complete an order to supply 100 access platforms to maintain Iraq's electricity infrastructure, he adds.

Another display will include Winchester Garden Machinery's new 13mm high-tenacity polyester climbing rope that comes in 25, 35 and 45m lengths - all with spliced eyes. Known as Wasp on account of its yellow with black fleck design, the rope is also highly visible.

Sorbus International, meanwhile, has added Oregon chainsaw spares and forestry products to its range. According to company owner and director Phil Wade: "As we have grown, we have been moving towards offering our customers a one-stop-shop service, and the Oregon range allows us to offer general chainsaw spares from a company that has pioneered chainsaw development."

A representative from Oregon will be on the company's stand to offer advice and assistance.

The personal touch

Besides kit and services, there are ample opportunities to meet fellow professionals and pick up tips from the experts. The Tree Climbers' Forum is again at the show, giving visitors a chance to try new and established equipment and talk through their experiences with the experienced team on hand.

Arboriculture's relationship with the building trade is explored in the Construction Site, where Abbey Pynford will be demonstrating Housedeck, described by the company as the UK's only tree-friendly foundation system. This allows houses to be built next to established trees without damaging their roots, meeting the requirements of BS5837:2005.

Here also Geosynthetics will display its CellWeb Tree Root Protection System, designed to protect tree roots from the pressure of traffic on paved and unpaved roads, parking and access areas, without the need for digging.

Advice in practice

At the Fletcher Stewart Demo Area, Kingswood Training's Richard Olley will be giving tips on choosing and installing a rigging system and RhizoEcology's Andrew Cowan will be demonstrating the use of the high-pressure Air Spade to clear soil around roots.

Fletcher Stewart is the main UK importer of the USA-manufactured Air Spade. "They are keen to develop the market in the UK - or rather markets," says Cowan, explaining that it has applications in development site work, services installation and foundation laying, as well as in investigating and remedying compaction in the tree's root zone.

"It's quite a new service here and as the Air Spade blasts out air at 125psi, there are considerable safety implications," Cowan adds. "We are working on developing industry standards and training in its use."

Fletcher Stewart is also giving customers the opportunity to name its new rope, a CE-rated 12mm 24-strand climbing line from Yale Cordage. The person who comes up with the winning entry will win two hanks of the rope.

Stihl also sponsors the Contractors' Workshop, which will have a full programme of presentations each day and will host a series of practical demonstrations in the woodland edge. These will be given by Canopy Access, which provides safety-at-height services in some of the world's most demanding tree environments.

Canopy Access director James Aldred says: "Our demonstration will allow practitioners to pick up ideas on rescue protocols, particularly from the ground. What we do is compatible with some systems, but not all use two anchor points as we do. With standard aerial rescue, you have three minutes to get someone down. You can get a colleague up a large beech tree in that time, but with a 75m tree it's not going to happen. We have had to think of alternatives."

Dealing with such trees is routine for the company, which carries out most of its work in the tropics, ranging from assisting TV crews to scientific gathering of seeds and canopy organisms.

"Most of what we do in the UK is training, though we have also been involved in British TV programmes such as Springwatch," says Aldred. "We have developed an approach based on protocols in tree surgery and caving, supplemented with insights from work in the field."

The company provides some pointers on the efficient ascent of big trees. "We hope to learn from the crowd too," he adds. "Not all of it will be applicable to everyone. But we have a buffet of techniques and it's all food for thought."

As the show's organiser, the Arboricultural Association will itself be providing technical advice on a range of arboricultural issues and advising visitors on training, certification and career progression, as well as providing further information on accreditation for arboriculture companies, including the Arboricultural Association's approved contractor scheme.


The Arboricultural Association Arborist Tree Challenge (3ATC), on both days of the show, will see contestants completing a range of arboricultural tasks against the clock while trying not to incur safety penalties. The prize is top-notch arb gear courtesy of event sponsor

Four categories are novice, expert, senior for those over 40, and the most demanding is premier. According to sales manager Nick Pott: "We have made the 3ATC competition more straightforward this year, and already have a good number of competitors signed up."

Entries cost £10 and can be made on the day but would-be contestants are recommended to enter in advance.


Dates: 11-12 June 2010

Time: 9am-5pm

Location: Bathurst Estate, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 6JT

Admission charge: £8 or £10 for a two-day ticket; £5 for students and unemployed; free to Arboricultural Association members. Entry charges will be refunded to members joining at the show, who can do so at a discounted rate.

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