Our Environment

WE LOVE TREES. In Britain alone, there are more than 60 native species, subspecies or hybrids, each with their own characteristics. From mighty veteran oaks, to blossom covered fruit varieties, trees play a key role in the eco-system, providing safety, shelter, and food, to fauna of all sizes. They are the great bastions of our land and must be treated with the respect they deserve.

We recognise that through providing arboriculture services, at times, our operations will negatively impact the environment. This is an unavoidable aspect of our profession, and whilst much of our work is thankfully focused towards saving trees, any day spent removing them from the landscape, is a sad one.

As keen conservationists, we felt dutybound to provide our services in the least environmentally impactful way. We believed that our operators, with training, could help our customers fall back in love with their trees. We knew that with innovation, we could greatly reduce our environmental impact and that in turn, this would benefit the local arboriculture community. Now 5 years into that plan, we’re proud of what we have been able to achieve.

The worst part of our job is removing veteran trees due to damage or disease. By their very nature, they are irreplaceable. Veteran oak trees, for example, can live for over 1,000 years, and are a haven for more than 2,300 wildlife species. 326 wildlife species depend on oak trees for their very survival, with 229 species rarely found on any other tree.

Approximately 5 years ago, we made the decision to no longer remove veteran trees for aesthetical reasons, regardless of their TPO-status. Whilst this did of course impact our finances, through making this decision, we have saved 100s of veteran trees, helping many customers fall back in love with them. Our love and appreciation of trees has been infections throughout our community. Often, customers don’t realise what they are asking to be cut down, or for how long the tree has been on that spot. It is surprising just how many customers opt for maintenance over removal once they have all the information to hand. It is for this reason that we prepare info sheets for specific tree species and give them to our customers. Just because we won’t remove the tree, doesn’t mean a competing tree surgeon will act the same way. The info sheets are a valuable tool in preventing this from happening, and almost always lead to us being called back to provide maintenance solutions, leaving the tree to live on for many decades.

In some cases, especially in conservation areas, we are asked to remove trees that are either damaged or diseased. If the tree in question is damaged to the extent that it is a risk to human life, or, if it has succumbed to disease and can’t be salvaged, we will remove it. Removing any tree from the eco-system has a vast negative impact. This is exacerbated when removing a veteran tree. Research shows that leaving part of the trunk in place (where possible/safe to do so) has a far smaller impact on the eco-system. We provide our customers with this information and in many cases, this leads to the great tree monoliths that are dotted around our community. We have always found that when customers are given the information, they so often choose to be eco-responsible.

Removing any large tree from the environment creates a lot of waste. Knowing this, we decided to completely overhaul our operations. The two main waste products are smaller branches and larger sections.

The most efficient way to remove small branches from site, is to first turn them into woodchip. We knew that if we found someone that needed large quantities of woodchip without it being processed further, our waste would immediately become reusable/recycled. Thankfully, we found a use for it very quickly. In our local area there are several large allotments that form an oasis for a wide range of wildlife, including honeybees. The allotments had a network of pathways that soon became treacherous in rainy conditions, often preventing older custodians from visiting their patch.

To avoid the environmental impact of laying permanent concrete paths, eco-alternative options were discussed. We tested our woodchip and found that it creates a perfect natural pathway that drains-away rainwater, leaving a flat/safe surface to walk on. It may need topping up from time to time, but we have an almost endless supply. As a result of this arrangement, the company now recycles 100% of all small branch waste.

For larger sections of the tree, we spoke to furniture manufacturers, asking whether we could process the timber to produce a desirable product for their use. As a result, we discovered that wood was far more usable when cut into planks and dried to a specific moisture level. We quickly reinvested our profits, purchasing a planking machine and digital moisture readers, and dedicating part of our yard to drying timber, using innovative methods to reduce warping and other potential pitfalls. This involved a lot of upfront investment and trial and error; however, we now recycle 100% of all the large sections of trees we remove. For sites with difficult access, we can even relocate our planking machine to site. Any waste that is produced due to the planking process is turned into woodchip and used for allotment paths.

Arboriculture services have a direct impact on the environment/eco-system. At TJ Tree (The Joshua Tree), we are proud conservationists. Through our efforts:

  • 100s of veteran trees have been saved
  • 100s of customers have fallen back in love with their trees due to the free information we provide
  • Over 60% of all trees we remove in conservation areas (due to disease/damage) are cut down to leave tree monoliths, boosting the otherwise destroyed eco-system
  • 100% of all small branches are recycled, through woodchip used to create natural pathways
  • 100% of all large tree sections are recycled, either through planking/drying, or through converting to woodchip.

Don't just listen to us!

In recognition of our efforts as an eco-responsible operator, we received the International Green Apple Award at the House of Commons in 2022. This is an exceptionally rare award for an arborist to win, and through this achievement, we hope to inspire our sector.