Barcham conference to hear tree junction study

Scientists are wrenching branches from trees in a bid to find out what makes some stronger than others.

Duncan Slater, an arboriculture tutor at Myerscough College, said his research into mechanical properties of tree junctions could help growers to produce better trees.

The PhD student will talk on the anatomy and structural strength of trees at a conference held by Barcham Trees. Around a quarter of failed trees were stricken by weakness because bark grew into the joint between branch and trunk.

Slater used CT scans to explore the grain of wood and winches to pull off branches. Trees grown too close together may be prone to weakness through competition for space, he reckoned.

Barcham Trees' Big Barn Conference in Ely, Cambridgeshire, will take place on 20 June. For details, email

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