Course Detail


Interested in bespoke training courses?

Contact training@trees.org.uk

Share this course

Professional Tree inspection




Simon Cox

18 hours

Places Available

3 days (9.00 - 17.00 approximately) 

Exc. VAT Inc. VAT

Course Objectives:


To enable course members to: 

  • Recognise the role of the tree inspector in risk management.
  • Identify the legal framework in the context of statute and common law that affect tree inspection and the duties and liabilities of the owner, manager and inspector.
  • Summarise how a tree system functions, what constitutes a safe tree and know that energy is required to keep the tree in a healthy/safe state.
  • Adopt a systematic and consistent methodology for carrying out visual tree inspection at an advanced level with the aid of binoculars, mallet and probe.
  • Collect data out in the field in accordance with the inspection instructions (having determined the scope and limitations) using a suitable format. (For this course a written survey template with appropriate headings will be used).
  • Recognise a range of observable mechanical and biological defects as seen in trees and confirm by the use of textbooks where necessary.
  • Identify a range of commonly seen pests, diseases and disorders that affect tree safety, confirm their identity by the use of textbooks, where necessary, and state the arboricultural significance of finding them in the field.
  • State the appropriate control/remedial measures required to eliminate or reduce risks identified in the inspection process to an acceptable level.
  • Determine when an aerial inspection is required, also if pro-active management recommendations can be made which may eliminate future defects from forming.
  • Prioritise the necessary tree/management works with time scales based on a broad category of risk assessment.
  • Identify when it is appropriate to recommend the use of decay detecting or measuring equipment, based on a basic knowledge of the working principles of commonly available equipment.
  • Understand that the balance, between the remedial measure opted for and the range of benefits/values that a tree may have, requires special attention, e.g. amenity, wildlife, historical, veteran, rarity and public access.

This course entitles you to CEU's see this link 

Course Content:

  • Introduction
  • The legal framework
  • The tree:
    • As a dynamic living system
    • An undamaged, self-optimized structure
    • The law of the minimal lever arm and strategy of flexibility
  • Visual Tree Assessment (VTA)
  • Principle fungal decay organisms
  • Mechanical symptoms of defects
  • Tree inspection equipment
  • Making and writing management recommendations
  • Practical exercises
  • Workshop sessions
  • Hazard evaluation
  • VTA tree walk
  • Introduction to decay detection and measuring equipment
  • Assessment
  • Final round up
  • Facilities/Equipment required - Trainees: 

    • Trainees should bring with them outdoor clothing, including a ‘Hi-viz’ jacket or waistcoat, as there will be a number of practical tree inspection exercises over the three days.
    • They should also bring any other equipment that they would normally use during tree inspection / survey, e.g: Clipboard, Pro-forma record sheets, Binoculars, Mallet and probe, Diameter tape, Height measuring device (Hypsometer, clinometer, etc).

    Professional Tree Inspection Book List 

    Trainees are expected  to be familiar with the following books:

    • Lonsdale, D. (1999). Principles of Tree Hazard Assessment and Management, Research for Amenity Trees No, 7, Stationery Office, London
    • Mattheck, C. & Breloer, H. (1994). The Body Language of Trees, Research for Amenity Trees No, 4, Stationery Office, London
    • Strouts, R.G. & Winter, T.G. (1994). Diagnosis of Ill Health in Trees, Research for Amenity Trees No, 2, Stationery Office, London
    • Davis, C., Fay, N & Mynors, C. (2000). Veteran Trees: a guide to risk and responsibility. English Nature, Peterborough
    • Fay, N., Dowson, D.C., & Helliwell, R. (2005). Tree Surveys: A Guide to Good Practice. The Arboricultural Association. (Supplied as a “course deliverable”)
    • Shigo, A.L. (1991). Modern Arboriculture. Shigo & Tree Associates, Durham, NH, USA
    • Weber, K., & Mattheck, C. (2003). Manual of Wood Decay in Trees, The Arboricultural Association
    • Mattheck, C. Field Guide for Visual Tree Assessment. (2007)
    • AA Fungi on Trees: An arborist’s Field Guide (2011)
    • Recommendations for Tree Work. BS 3998. (2010) British Standards Institute, London
    • NTSG Common sense risk management of trees (2011)
    • Tree identification book(s)
    • Fungi identification book(s).


    Other relevant publications:

    • Ellison, M. (2005). Quantified Tree Risk Assessment: used in the management of amenity trees. Journal of Arboriculture Vol. 31, International Society of Arboriculture
    • Clarke, J., & Matheny, N. (1993). A photographic guide to the evaluation of hazard trees in urban areas. 2nd edition, International Society of Arboriculture, USA
    • Schwarze, F.W.M.R., Lonsdale, D., & Fink, S. (1997). An overview of wood degradation patterns and their implications for tree hazard assessment. Arboricultural Journal Vol 21. The Arboricultural Association
    • Lonsdale, D. Hazards from Trees. FC Practice Guide 13, Forestry Commission
    • Blanchard, R. O., & Tatter, T.A. (1997). Field and Laboratory Guide to Tree Pathology (2nd edition). Academic Press
    • Mattheck, C. (2002). Tree Mechanics: Explained with sensitive words by Pauli the Bear. Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe
    • Schwarze, F.W.M.R., Engals, J., & Mattheck, C. (1999). Fungal Strategies of Wood Decay in Trees. Springer-Verlag Berlin
    • Mattheck, C., & Huber, H. (1995). Wood – The internal Optimization of Trees. Springer-Verlag Berlin
    • Hayes, E. (2001). Evaluating Tree Defects: A field guide. Safetrees, Rochester, MN, USA
    • ISA Glossary of Arboricultural Terms (2005). ISA Champaign, IL, USA
    • AAIS Research Information Notes
    • AAIS Tree Damage Alert Notes
    • Rinn, F. (2008)Technical Inspection of Trees
    • Percival, G. & Noviss, K. CHLOROPHYLL FLUORESCENCE – A BEGINNERS GUIDE Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory

    James, K. R., Haritos, N. &  Ades, P. K. (2006) Mechanical stability of trees under dynamic loads. American Journal Botany. vol. 93  no. 10  pp.1522-1530.

    Publications included in package:  

    • Lantra Awards workbook for Professional Tree Inspection
    • Arboricultural Association publication: ‘Tree surveys: a guide to good practice’
    • Assessment forms and examination papers
    • Site specific risk assessment form
    • Certificate claim forms
    • Course evaluation forms

    The course will include some outdoor practical sessions (please bring suitable clothing for indoor and outdoor sessions). Refreshments and lunch are provided.

    Module Pre-requisites:

    A minimum of arboricultural qualification at level three or equivalent, plus five years experience in carrying out tree survey and inspection, is expected.

    Terms of Cancellation or Amendments to details

    • We reserve the right to cancel courses and refund applicants if there is insufficient demand.
    • A FULL charge will be applied to any booking cancelled less than 10 working days before the event.
    • A £30 administration charge may be applied to changes made to bookings that have been received and acknowledged.

    For all course bookings outside the UK and Europe, please email training@trees.org.uk