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Tree Management in the Infrastructure Sector

Tree Management in the Infrastructure Sector

As a business manager working in the infrastructure sector, it’s likely that you are well aware of the importance of tree management in the built environment. From providing shade and shelter to enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a space, trees play a vital role in the health and wellbeing of our communities. However, managing trees can also be a complex task, especially when it comes to balancing the needs of the trees with the demands of development and construction projects.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the different methods of tree management that can be used to ensure that trees are effectively maintained and preserved in the built environment.

Methods of Tree Management

Pruning: One of the key methods of tree management is proper pruning techniques. Pruning is selectively removing branches or shoots from a tree to improve its shape, structure, and health. This can be done for various reasons, including removing damaged or diseased branches, encouraging the growth of new shoots or fruit, or reducing the risk of branches falling and causing damage. Several pruning techniques can be used, including thinning, heading, and raising, each of which serves a specific purpose.

Thinning: Thinning is a pruning technique that involves the removal of smaller branches or shoots in order to improve the tree’s overall structure and health. This can be especially important for trees that have become overgrown or unbalanced, as it helps to reduce the risk of branches breaking or falling off. Thinning is also often used to allow more light and air to reach the tree’s canopy, which can help to improve its overall health.

Heading: Heading is a pruning technique that involves the removal of the tips of branches in order to encourage the growth of new shoots. This is often used to maintain a tree’s shape or encourage the production of fruit or flowers. However, it’s important to be careful when using this technique, as over-heading can lead to the tree becoming weak and susceptible to damage.

Raising: Raising is a pruning technique that involves the removal of lower branches in order to allow more light and air to reach the tree’s canopy. This is often used when a tree becomes too large or unbalanced, blocks a view, or creates other problems. However, it’s important to be careful when using this technique, as removing too many lower branches can weaken the tree and make it more vulnerable to damage.

Tree Protection Measures

Another important aspect of tree management is the use of tree protection measures. These measures are implemented to ensure trees are protected from damage during construction or development projects. This can include fencing or barriers to prevent physical damage or the implementation of special watering and fertilizing regimes to help trees recover from any stress caused by the construction work. It’s important to work closely with arborists and other tree care professionals to ensure that the most appropriate tree protection measures are implemented for your project.

Tree Protection Zones

One of the most effective tree protection measures is using tree protection zones (TPZs). These are designated areas around trees that are off-limits to construction activity and are designed to help prevent tree damage. TPZs are usually determined based on the size and species of the tree, as well as the type of construction work being undertaken. It’s important to follow the guidelines for TPZs carefully, as failure to do so can result in significant fines and other penalties.

Tree Relocation

Another important method of tree management is the use of tree relocation. This involves carefully removing a tree from one location and planting it in another, often as part of a construction or development project. Tree relocation can be a complex and costly process and requires the expertise of arborists and other tree care professionals. It’s important to carefully assess the suitability of the new location for the tree and the feasibility of the relocation itself. This may involve considering factors such as the soil conditions, the amount of sunlight the tree will receive, and the potential for damage or other issues during the relocation process.

Tree Removal

In some cases, it may be necessary to remove a tree entirely. This is often done when a tree is damaged, diseased, or otherwise poses a risk to public safety. Tree removal should always be a last resort and only be undertaken by trained professionals using specialized equipment. When removing a tree, it’s important to consider the potential impact on the surrounding environment, as well as any potential replacements or other measures that can be put in place to compensate for the loss of the tree.

Tree Inventory

A tree inventory is one of the most effective ways to manage trees in the built environment. This is a comprehensive list of all the trees within a given area, including information on their location, size, species, and health status. A tree inventory can be a valuable tool for identifying trees that may need special attention or protection and tracking the overall health and condition of the tree population. Working with arborists and other tree care professionals is important to create and maintain an accurate and up-to-date tree inventory for your area.

Tree Monitoring

In addition to these more traditional methods of tree management, a number of newer technologies and techniques are being developed and used to help manage trees in the built environment. These include using sensors and other monitoring tools to track the health and growth of trees and precision pruning techniques to improve the overall health and appearance of trees. It’s important to stay up-to-date on these emerging technologies and techniques and consider how they may help you manage trees more effectively in your area.


In conclusion, managing trees in the built environment is a complex and multifaceted task that requires the expertise of arborists and other tree care professionals. Many methods and techniques can effectively manage trees in the built environment, from pruning and tree protection to relocation and removal. By carefully considering the needs of the trees and the demands of development and construction projects, it is possible to balance these two important considerations and create a healthy and sustainable built environment. Speak to our Vegetation Management team to discuss your next tree-related project.

About Us

RSS Infrastructure (RSSI), based in Birmingham, Cwmbran, Doncaster and Tonbridge, provides infrastructure services for the rail, civil, and utilities sectors. We serve clients like Network Rail, WMCA, HS2 and Tier 1 & 2 contractors. Our services include Arboriculture, Civils and Construction, Geofencing, Industrial Rope Access (IRATA), Magnetic Track Safety, Rail Operations including Possession Management and P/Way, Rail Welding, Signalling, and Track Warning Services.

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