Tree Warden – blog post #1
Hi I’m Neil Moulton and I’ve been the Tree Warden for Trottiscliffe since 2015. Tree Wardens are volunteer “Tree Champions” appointed under the the Tree Council scheme with a broad remit which is best described on the Tree Council website.
What’s happening in Trottiscliffe?
I’ll go into more detail in later blogs but here’s a snapshot of tree-warden activity in the village:
Now you will have noticed that Trottiscliffe is hardly an urban environment so tree planting isn’t top of the agenda here. Hedges are a different matter though, with many field boundaries suffering a decline just in just the 16 years since Maria and I moved here. Hedges are incredibly important for biodiversity and are great indicators of custodianship – so when people kill hedges with weed killer as has happened in Pinesfield Lane a couple of years ago IT MATTERS!
I’ve been working with the Old Chalk New Downs project for a few years trying to get support for gapping up denuded hedges and hopefully we’ll see a breakthrough with funding soon. In the interim, if anyone wants to help with funding/ planting please let me know.
Banging on about trees
I love talking about trees – they are endlessly fascinating and we’d all be dead without them so what’s not to like? I’ll be sharing some amazing facts in later blogs but do you know what makes trees tree-shaped for example (it’s their hormones), how trees protect us from flooding, and that they can communicate with each other to build defence mechanisms against marauding pathogens?
David Carey, the Kent Tree Warden Coordinator and I have had the pleasure of doing occasional tree walks around the village – it’s been great to have so many people turn up and spend an hour or two chatting about the local species and the natural history of our beautiful village.
Pests disease and safety
As we all know, trees are sometimes ‘thrown’ in high winds or snap out huge sections of trunk and branch. This can obviously present a danger, particularly adjacent to the highway. I’m trained to assess trees for safety and spot early signs of fungal pathogens other disease and structural weakness. So if you see someone walking around the area looking up rather than ahead, it’s probably me! It’s always a shame to have to fell trees but KCC Highways always response very promptly to reports and I’d rather have a tree taken down than see someone hurt or killed.
I’m happy to give an opinion about your trees too, so feel free to contact me on the details above (please note that Tree Wardens aren’t insured to give advice).
Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)
TPOs exist to protect trees or woodlands which have an “amenity value” to the local area. This can be applied to any size or species of tree. Once in place, it’s an offence to fell, or have work done on a TPO affected tree without local planning authority approval. Fines for breach are significant so it’s important to seek advice if you are in any doubt. Visit the GOV.UK website for more detailed information.
As a Tree Warden I can help with applying for new TPOs (you may be concerned that developers are likely to destroy a tree or woodland for example) as well as looking into existing TPOs.