Annual Review 2022

Strategic plan

The Association launched its 2022-2024 strategic plan, with the overarching vision of inspiring, supporting and promoting the tree care community for a society that better appreciates and cares for trees.

Strategic Plan

Bats and Trees

Our first major in-person training event since the pandemic began took place across two days in January, with day one consisting of a series of seminars and day two a mixture of indoor and outdoor workshops. We welcomed 120 delegates to the spectacular Tortworth Court, with an almost equal number of arborists and ecologists in attendance, making it a truly cross-discipline affair.


The popular free webinars continue with the winter series featuring such varied topics as urban forest resilience, the history of arboriculture and even a more light hearted Bats v Trees fact-off in collaboration with the Bat Conservation Trust.

Young Tree Establishment

Young Tree Establishment

The Association’s first public-focused guidance note is an important tool for sharing knowledge with the general public about arboriculture and tree care, communicating some of the key messages of the Association and hopefully helping people learn.

Arborists’ storm efforts acknowledged

As Eunice and other storms wreaked havoc, CEO John Parker paid tribute to professionals in the industry hard at work on storm-relief duties: ‘This weekend many skilled, hardworking arborists will be out in sometimes dangerous conditions to help clear up the damage left by Storm Eunice.’ In addition, brief guidance was issued to let fallen trees and branches remain where they lie, where it is possible and safe to do so, encouraging biodiversity.

First Tree Care Forum at Westonbirt

To showcase the importance of arboriculture and the tree care community to the general public, the Association teamed up with Forestry England to deliver its inaugural Tree Care Forum event on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd May. This was a key milestone in promoting the work of our members and the arboricultural profession to the general public.

First Tree Care Forum at Westonbirt
Andrew Stewart

Andrew Stewart joins as events get back on track

With in-person events back on the agenda, Andrew Stewart joined the team as our Events Administrator to support our first ARB Show and Conference for over two years, among many other plans.

Watering campaign

Watering campaign

During extraordinarily dry periods through the spring and summer, our tree watering campaign continued to reach new audiences and gathered mass support from the public and supporting organisations for the second year running. As well as providing essential guidance similar to the Guide to young tree establishment, this initiative is inspiring communities to appreciate and value their trees and the arboricultural profession.


VETcert funding awarded

The Ancient Tree Forum and the Arboricultural Association were awarded a grant for the project to improve skills and knowledge for up to 450 professionals across England, so that ancient trees receive the specialist management that is critical to prolong their lives.

Training courses and instructor network expanded

After a necessary focus on online training in recent years, we welcomed the return of in-person training courses and a calendar with more options than ever before, thanks to the mixture of online and face-to-face courses now on offer. New instructors and the renovation of the Malthouse training room to facilitate larger groups are enabling us to expand our catalogue, while group course options have seen a huge increase in demand.

Arboricultural Association on BBC News

In August John Parker appeared live on BBC News to discuss the effects of the recent dry weather on trees and the tree care industry. This exposure was a result of successful efforts to promote the importance of aftercare through the young tree watering campaigns which are run during dry spells.

RHS Hampton Court

RHS Hampton Court

The Association was grateful for the chance to make arboriculture a part of the world’s largest flower show and undoubtedly one of the biggest opportunities to engage with the public in the Association’s history, with more than 100,000 visitors flocking through the historic gates. The event resulted in great exposure with overwhelmingly positive feedback and hundreds, if not thousands, of meaningful interactions with members of the public.

ARB Show at APF

ARB Show at APF

For the first time ever, ARB Show joined forces with APF to welcome over 20,000 visitors. The show generated hugely positive feedback, with visitors enjoying the renewed focus on arboriculture delivered through Association activities, including the hugely popular Arb Worker Zone, knot tying and throwline competitions.

The ARB Show will return to Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, 12th–13th May 2023.

What is arboriculture?

What is arboriculture?

As part of our increased efforts to promote the tree care community to the public the Association produced What is Arboriculture? This brief guide was developed with input from a wide range of our colleagues around the world.

The Arboricultural Association defines arboriculture as the science and practice of the cultivation, establishment and management of amenity trees for the benefit of society.

Other organisations may describe it slightly differently, but ultimately the meaning is the same: arboriculture is tree care.

Jo Hedger champion for fifth time

2022 Award Winners

Andy Summerley won the 2022 Arboricultural Association Award. In recognition of his significant and positive contribution to the arboricultural profession, Andy was presented with the award at the What is a tree? conference, by Association Chair Michelle Ryan. Greg Packman and Samuel Dudley won Young Arboricultural Professional of the year, while Charlotte Bancroft was awarded Best Student of the Year.

Website stats

The increase in relevant resources aimed at new audiences began to produce results, with website page views on course to push 2 million, after breaking 1 million for the first time just one year ago.

Website stats

More new resources and publications

The Association’s range of publications continued to expand, with Technical Guide 3: Rigging and Dismantling completing the hugely popular series of Technical Guides. Duncan Slater’s Guidance Note on branch junctions and the Association’s Young Tree Establishment were also launched as we continue to produce high-quality technical resources to support arboriculture and beyond.

Guidance Note 14: Branch Junctions
AGM and new Trustees

AGM and new Trustees

Michelle Ryan, Alan Simson and Keith Sacre were re-elected. We also welcomed three new elected Trustees: Neil Davies (Consultancy Manager at TR33 LIMITED), Stella Bolam (Community Forestry Project Officer at Sheffield City Council) and Rob Murison (Principal Consultant at Mercer Tree Services), all of whom will bring new skillsets and fresh perspectives to the board. They join our existing elected Trustees, Alastair Durkin, Paul Barton and Steve Westmore, and our three co-opted Trustees, Andrew Longland (Treasurer), Liz Nicholls and Sarah Armstrong. Andrew, Liz and Sarah were formally co-opted during the Board meeting which took place after the AGM, which also saw Michelle Ryan re-elected as Chair of the Association and Paul Barton elected as Vice Chair.

Thank you to all members who took the time to stand for nomination and also those that took part in the Trustee election process. We would also like to thank our outgoing Trustees, Mike Sankus and Navin Sehmi, who have contributed so much of their time and effort to helping deliver the Association’s aims and vision.

What is a tree? conference

Over 200 delegates enjoyed our first in-person conference since 2019. The event looked to redefine what a tree can represent, as both an ecosystem in its own right, and also as part of the wider ecosystem. To celebrate the return of in-person conference, several new features were introduced giving delegates the chance to network with others in the field and take part in panel sessions, workshops and discussions. Above all, it was a great feeling to be able to welcome back the arb community.

Mark Hemming

Technical team evolves

Mark Hemming, himself a longstanding member and supporter, joined the Arboricultural Association as its new Technical Officer.