2016 is a milestone year for the Company as it is 10 years since I graduated from College and set up the business on my own with an old Land Rover Discovery and a trailer, a couple of chainsaws and a lot of very ‘green’ energy and enthusiasm! A part-time employee soon followed and the Company was born. I remember those early days well, climbing on a 3 knot system, burning everything we could wherever we could and dreaming of a chipper and a shiny new van..

We have gone from strength to strength in recent years and I would like to personally thank all of our customers, particularly the many regular clients that come back to us year after year for all of your support over the last 10 years. Without you we wouldn’t be where we are now.

Winter 2015-16 has been characterised by a warm start and a cold end! We have seen huge variations in temperature and rainfall, confusing trees and plants with an unusually mild December and January. Daffodils were blooming in cities in early February and I saw several Hawthorn breaking bud towards the end of the month.

Nevertheless, we have had a very busy few months with a fair smattering of ‘extreme weather events’ (windy days!) to add to the regular workload, clearing up windblown material and the odd fallen tree.

We had the difficult job of negotiating the fate of the Iffley Horse Chestnut in February. This magnificent old Veteran, estimated at around 250 years old, stands outside St. Mary’s church in Iffley. It has sadly been in accelerated decline over the past 5 years and a Tree Inspection carried out by Oxford City Council gave 2 options, to fell and replant or carry out a heavy reduction to reduce the risk to the public.

The decision was made (not lightly) to remove the tree and permission was granted by Oxford City, however the residents of Iffley were not so keen to lose the tree so suddenly so it was decided that we would carry out a 3M reduction in height and spread and remove all dead material back to live junctions. The tree looks better than I had imagined and I am hoping it will respond to the reduction with growth stimulus and may offer shade and shelter to passers by for a few more years yet.

I recently completed a week’s training in Professional Tree Inspection and Assessment which was a very enjoyable (if challenging!) week spent re-familiarising myself with tree biology and mechanics, fungi identification etc.The other delegates were a great bunch and there were some very stimulating debates as one would expect when you bring together tree officers, consultants and practising Arborists! The outcome of the final exam is not yet known.. I’ll let you know in my next post!

We continue to ensure that all of our employees’ training is kept up to date and all employees have Wood Chipper and Stump Grinder refresher training and assessments scheduled for April.

I have also taken the decision to go for the Arboricultural Association ‘Approved Contractor’ status this year and I am attending a preparation workshop in April. With the business now established for 10 years, I am confident that we are now ready for this and it is the next logical step in securing larger contracts to keep the order books full, not that we need any more work at the moment!

The old Land Rover 130 tipper that has served us so well for the past 8 years now has just been treated to a full respray in the Company colour of Keswick Green. She looks much smarter now and blends in well with the rest of the fleet.

Lets hope that some warmer weather and sunshine is not far off and we can all look forward to a busy Spring after a well-deserved Easter break.