The Tree Experts: A History of Professional Arboriculture in Britain [Hardback]

Mark Johnston (Author)

ISBN: 9781911188889 | Published by: Windgather Press | Year of Publication: 2021 | Language: English 560p, H246 x W185 (mm) B/w and colour

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The Tree Experts


Trees are now in the public eye as never before. The threat of tree diseases, the felling of street trees and the challenge of climate change are just some of the issues that have put trees in the media spotlight. At the same time, the trees in our parks, gardens and streets are a vital resource that can deliver environmental, social and economic benefits that make our towns and cities attractive, green and healthy places.

Ever since Roman times when amenity trees were first planted in Britain, caring for those trees has required specialist skills. This is mainly because of the challenges of successfully integrating large trees into the urban environment and the risks involved in working with them, often at height and in close proximity to people, buildings and roads. But who are the people with the specialist expertise to care for our amenity trees? While professionals such as horticulturists, landscape architects, conservationists and foresters have a role to play, it is the arboriculturists who are the ‘tree experts’. For centuries arboriculture was often synonymous with forestry or considered an aspect of horticulture, until it emerged in the nineteenth century as a separate discipline. There are now some 22,000 people employed in Britain’s arboricultural industry, including practical tree surgeons and arborists, local authority tree officers and arboricultural consultants.

This is the first book to trace the history of Britain’s professional tree experts, from the Roman arborator to the modern chartered arboriculturist. It also discusses the influences from continental Europe and North America that have helped to shape British arboriculture over the centuries. The Tree Experts will have particular appeal to those interested in the natural and built environment, heritage landscapes, social history and the history of gardening.

Table of Contents

List of Figures
1.  Introduction   
2. The Romans Bring Arboriculture to Britain   
3. Keeping the Flame Alight in the Dark Ages
4. Green Shoots in Tudor and Early Stuart Times
5. Arboriculture in the Age of the Formal Garden
6. Arboriculture in the English Landscape Garden
7. Heroic Arboriculture in the Nineteenth Century
8. The Rise of the Tree Experts, 1900–1945
9. Professional Arboriculture ‘Comes of Age’, 1946–Present

Reviews & Quotes

" "
Barbara Seagall
The Chartered Institute of Horticulture

"Overall this splendid book provides an illuminating and complete history of the practical management of trees and is to be strongly recommended to all those with an interest in garden, woodland and landscape history."
Charles Watkins
Landscape History

"Overall, this is a clear and confident volume … and the depth of learning, meticulous research and hard work underpinning its creation is evident. Though detailed and authoritative, this is no dry academic text, and in many ways Johnston has written a love letter to his profession, but not one over-sweet with uncritical adulation, and it was a pleasure to read and review it. "
Professor Paul Elliott
Garden History

"I, for one, have enjoyed the [book] immensely and wholehearted recommend it to anyone interested in where we started and what we had to go through in order to end up here, now, as arborists. -Donald F. Blair in Tree Care Industry Magazine "
Donald F. Blair
Tree Care Industry Magazine

"''Outstanding in both depth and detail. ... It’s all there in Mark Johnston’s large but tight and tidy text, big on information and detail, interest and intrigue.'' "
Dr Terry Mabbett
Forestry Journal and Essential Arb

"To describe this book as a gallop through time would not only be a disservice to the sheer volume of research that Dr Johnston has undertaken, it would also be misleading, as its pages cover both broad concepts and detailed minutiae. … A must read for anyone interested in the promotion and evolution of the [arboriculture] sector. Nick Bolton, Quarterly Journal of Forestry"

Quarterly Journal of Forestry

"What a great way to explore the fascinating history of professional arboriculture in Britain. Navigating chronologically, [the author] provides a clearly constructed narrative that is brimming with historical references providing endless details to immerse yourself in time and time again. It was an absolute pleasure to read and review this book and it was a fascinating read from cover to cover."
Amelia Williams
Trees magazine (Institute of Chartered Foresters)

"We can all marvel at the completeness of what is for me the most important book on the subject and which will never be equalled – let alone bettered. "
Peter Bridgeman
Kew Guild Journal

"[A]nyone with an interest in trees and how their use evolved to contribute to the gardens and landscapes of past and present would benefit from reading The Tree Experts."
Dorothy Hayden
The Horticulturalist (13/12/2022)

"This weighty book contains a huge amount of information and will rightly find a place on many bookshelves."

The Arb Magazine (Arboricultural Association) (08/12/2021)

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