This year's list of UK Arboriculture Businesses ranked by turnover - numbers 1 - 10.
The Top 10 are broad-based firms that offer tree care as part of a package of services.
1 Ground Control
Key personnel Simon Morrish (chief executive), Marcus Watson (managing director), Peter Allen (arboriculture and rail services director)
One of the country’s largest landscaping grounds maintenance firms, Ground Control took a major step into arboriculture in 2012 with its acquisition of Tilhill’s arboriculture and landscape divisions, including rail vegetation management, from its then-owner UPM.
Today the company offers the full range of arboricultural services nationwide, from tree felling and maintenance to tree surveys and tailor-made tree management plans, and its clients range from utility companies to retailers to the Ministry of Defence.
Ground Control has shown steady 20% growth per year and was named in the London Stock Exchange Group’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Europe report last year, highlighting Europe’s most dynamic small and medium-sized companies.
Besides its Essex headquarters the firm has eight regional offices around the country in Moray, Denbighshire, Shropshire, Cheshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, East Sussex and Devon.
Scottish Woodlands: Scotland’s largest provider of tree and vegetation management services for utility companies
2 Scottish Woodlands
Key personnel Ralland Browne (managing director), Craig Nimmo (utilities and landscaping director), Simon Oldham (technical director)
Set up more than 75 years ago as a woodland owners’ co-operative, Scottish Woodlands is now not
only one of Britain’s largest private forestry and timber companies but also Scotland’s largest provider of tree and vegetation management
for utility companies
In addition, it also undertakes mainstream arboricultural and landscaping work including tree planting and maintenance as well as stump removal. In all, services accounted for £26.7m of its turnover for 2017.
With a utilities depot in Perth and bases near Inverness and in North Lanarkshire housing fleets of specialist equipment, the company is able to achieve synergies between forestry and utilities work.
idverde: company provides full range of arboricultural services to local authorities including Birmingham and Bournemouth - image: idverde
Key personnel Doug Graham (chief executive), Richard Burton (regional managing director), Danny Mitchell (regional managing director), Stuart Dillett (regional managing director), Benjamin Symes-Taylor (arboricultural manager)
In 2015, France-based idverde, one of Europe’s largest landscape companies, bought The Landscape Group, which has worked in forestry and tree care since 1919, which brought with it Dorset arboricultural contractor Banyards. This then merged in 2016 with another green space company, Quadron Services, along with its West Midlands tree care subsidiary Blythe Valley, to create idverde UK.
The company has since gone on to buy Scottish-based Land Engineering in May 2017 and says it "continues to consider selective, high-quality acquisitions", with "further growth planned to bring new skills and new geographical coverage". With specialist tree services teams at six of its 60-odd regional offices, it provides a full range of arboricultural services to local authorities including Birmingham and Bournemouth, including a 24-hour emergency call-out service to both.
With other clients including housing associations and schools, idverde also supports numerous community initiatives including tree-planting events.
Glendale: manages private woodlands as well as supplying and relocating trees - image: Glendale
4 Glendale (Part of Parkwood Holdings)
Key personnel Alex Patterson (managing director), Marc Greenaway (operations manager, Glendale Civic Trees), Stuart Darbyshire (commercial director)
Horticulture Week’s Arboriculture Contractor of the Year in 2018, Glendale provides a full range of tree care services for public, private and — unusually for a generalist green space company — utility clients. It
is also accredited to the National Highways Sector Scheme 18 (NHSS18), enabling it to work for Highways England and other infrastructure providers.
The company also manages private woodlands as well as supplying and relocating larger trees via its Essex-based subsidiary Civic Trees, which Glendale’s parent company Parkwood Holdings acquired in 2006.
Since 2014, Glendale has formed the largest of six divisions within Alston Group, while Parkwood’s other businesses make up Parkwood Leisure Holdings.
5 Tivoli (ISS)
Key personnel Chris McLain (chief executive), Rob Jackson (arboricultural manager), Hugh Woods (business development manager)
Previously part of the vast ISS multinational facility services group, the former ISS Landscapes was sold to Tivoli Group, a company backed by London investment firm Sullivan Street Partners, back in February 2018.
For 30 years it has provided a full range of tree care services to both public and private sector organisations, including much of the Ministry of Defence estate, as well as to the domestic market.
6 TSL Group
Little Eaton, Derbyshire
Key personnel Nick Eddison (arboriculture manager), David Barkley (senior operations manager), Mark Wood (group commercial director)
Burleys, which the former TC Landscapes acquired in 2014, provides arboricultural services including survey work, risk analyses and asset management reports as well as grounds maintenance and estate management to local authorities, housing associations, educational establishments and even the Metropolitan Police Service and the royal household.
Within TCL’s own landscaping team are arboriculturists able to undertake all aspects of tree work from initial tree protection order (TPO) verification to tree surveys and maintenance. It also acquired West Midlands-based Forest Hill.
7 Nurture Landscapes
Key personnel Peter Fane (managing director), David North (tree care service manager, Gavin Jones)
Having being founded only in 2008, Nurture Landscapes nearly doubled in turnover when it acquired Gavin Jones in February 2018, although the latter continues to trade under its own name. It had previously absorbed Frosts Landscapes and Botanical Landscapes in 2017 and it also acquired West Yorkshire-based Grace Landscapes in September 2018, further expanding its arboriculture portfolio in the process.
As part of its landscaping team, Nurture Landscapes employs qualified arborists at its 25 depots nationwide for work ranging from visual inspections and detailed surveys to implementing any tree work including stump and root removal. Gavin Jones, which celebrates its centenary in 2019, also continues to provide a full range of tree services, including consultancy, to public and private clients.
8 VPS Grounds Services
Key personnel David Warren (arboriculture contract manager), Philip Welch (managing director)
Private-equity firm PAI Partners acquired what was Vacant Property Services in 2014, followed in short order by Lotus Landscaping & Design and Redfields Landscaping, which now together make up VPS Grounds Services.
With a focus on the commercial sector, its arboricultural division offers clients a tree mapping and management service as well as all aspects of practical tree care.
9 Continental Landscapes
Weston on the Green, Oxfordshire
Key personnel Bill Trotman (managing director), Howard Morris (commercial director), Nick Broad (operations director, north)
Now part of the Belgium-based Krinkels Group, Continental Landscapes celebrates 30 years in business in 2019. As well as regular tree maintenance work for local authorities, Government and corporate bodies, Continental offers non-invasive analysis of trees using Picus tomography and tree population management via "ezytreev" and other software.
10 John O'Conner
Key personnel Matt O’Conner (managing director), Neil Cain (operations director), Ian Pitkin (contracts director)
With depots in Leicester, Norwich, Fareham and Irvine, Ayrshire, John O’Conner’s arboriculture work extends across public highways, local authority green spaces, woodlands and public and private estates, and ranges from tree moving and planting to TPO management to a rapid response service.