In September 2018, we were contacted by the chairman of Little Aston Park Residents Association (LAPRA). The group represent the interests of a private estate in Sutton Coldfield, which is made up of around 100 homes, a golf club and a church.
One of the key features of the estate is its woodland setting. It centres around the historic Roman Road, which is lined with beautiful rhododendrons.
The chairman explained that the trees within the estate had never had a formal inspection. They therefore wanted our advice on structured tree inspections and tree management.
Tree inspection and management plan
We proposed carrying out a full survey to inspect the health and safety of the trees. We would then assess any defects using the Quantified Tree Risk Assessment (QTRA) framework.
Finally, we would produce a report based on our findings. This would enable us to make the best recommendations for managing the trees on a medium-term basis.
Over a number of visits to the site, we surveyed a total of 111 individual trees and five groups of trees. They comprised many different species of tree, varying in age and size. This included oak, sweet chestnut, Norway Maple, beech and lime.
By our final visit to the estate, we had collected the following information on each of the trees:
- Stem diameter
- Branch spread
- Life stage
- Physiological condition
- Structural condition
- Risk factor
The next step was to look at the overall condition of the trees on site, making a note of any defects we could find. We then used the QTRA methodology to calculate the risk of harm that any defective trees or branches could pose.
Report and recommendations
Our resulting report made a number of recommendations for LAPRA. These were designed to improve the safety, access and amenity value of the site. They included:
- Felling any severely diseased or damaged trees.
- Clearing the paths by cutting back trees that had already fallen.
- Removing any overhanging branches.
- Reducing the canopy of four poplar trees.
We produced a detailed plan to identify which trees required immediate attention.
We also recommended that the Trust commission a long-term management plan. As a result, they would be able to keep abreast of any ongoing and future issues, as well as any further problems that may arise. This included devising a two-year management strategy involving future inspections of the trees within the estate.
For more information about Little Aston Residents Association, please visit the LAPRA website.