Tree Advice Trust Legacy


The Arboricultural Association is pleased to announce that, following discussions with the trustees of the former Tree Advice Trust, the intellectual property relating to the Arboriculture Research Notes, Information Notes, and Practice Advice Notes will be made freely available on the Association’s website. The Board of the Association wishes to thank the Trust (and in particular Derek Patch) for the opportunity to share this material, which ensures the ongoing provision of impartial and authoritative information on tree matters. The information thus made available was believed to be accurate at the time it was produced by the Trust, but neither the Association nor the Trust nor any existing or former board member or officer of either organisation takes any responsibility for its continuing accuracy or for its applicability in any particular situation. The Association will from time to time be reviewing how the material can most appropriately be updated and further disseminated.

The work of the Tree Advice Trust 1983 to 2013The Tree Advice Trust Logo

The Arboricultural Advisory and Information Service was originally established in 1976 with government funding from the Department of the Environment (and its successors) and was based at the Forestry Commission’s Research Station at Alice Holt Lodge, Farnham. In 1983, the service was placed under the management of the Tree Advice Trust, independent charity, and charged with being largely self financing. The Trust adopted the following objectives:

  • Collection and dissemination of arboricultural information
  • Establishment of systems and opportunities to provide such information
  • Identification and attraction of finances for projects and research
  • Influence the quality of available arboricultural information
  • Establishment, promotion of information to raise arboricultural standards
  • Promotion of good arboricultural practice

Under the direction of Derek Patch, working to a Board of Trustees appointed for their experience in arboriculture, the Trust provided a set of specialised services tailored to meet the needs of professional arboriculturists, employed in local authorities and as independent consultants, tree surgery companies and a wider public audience. Practitioners benefited from a regular digest providing access to technical articles from professional journals and from a series of good practice and guidance notes based upon research and practical experience. The Trust’s staff conducted research directly and worked closely with their neighbours in the Forestry Research Station to develop awareness throughout the arboricultural sector. The Trust’s Arboricultural Practice Notes and Arboriculture Research Notes gained a highly valued reputation as key reference documents.

The Trust also provided a unique and popular telephone service giving expert advice to callers, both public and professional, on any tree queries. The work of the Trust and the enquiries received occasionally led to further detailed investigations and reports and to the publication of Tree Damage Alerts. These short papers, available online or as hard copy, encompassed a multitude of tree-related issues and were written in an informal and plain English style that made them highly accessible to a wide range of readers.

In its latter years, the increased availability of electronic information sources reduced demands for many of the Trust’s services with a consequent decline in its income. The Trust ceased to trade in 2013, coinciding with Derek’s retirement. The contents of its published research and practice notes were passed on to the Arboricultural Association to maintain their availability to their intended audience and to ensure that the legacy of the Trust’s work will live on.

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