Conkers in the UK Under Threat

The Horse Chestnut Tree has come under pressure from disease and moths recently including the bleeding canker and the leaf miner moth and now it is so severe that the tree is being classed as vulnerable to extinction.

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Tree Planting - Advice to Reduce Carbon

Climate change experts warn that the UK if it is to reach its carbon reduction targets will need to plant a lot more trees and quickly and it would be at best double the amount we are doing now and everyone can help reach this target, but people do have some questions.

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Spittle Bug Nymph Uncovered - Flickr - treegrow 04 Aug 2019

Volunteers are needed to find the insect's 'spittle'

In the UK the spittlebug is starting to become a problem and one of the best ways to locate it is to find the frothy spittle, which reveals that the insect is feeding on the plants and now scientists are looking for volunteers to record the bugs and the spittle across the country. Gathering this information will be used in such a way to help stop the deadly plant disease Xyylella spreading throughout the country. In Europe the disease is causing problems for example olive groves in Italy.

The UK is lucky at the moment because it is disease free, but all that could change if nothing is done. The Xylella bacterium can infect hundreds of different species of plants and the red-and-black spittlebug helps spread the disease.

"One of the really devastating things that could happen is that it could actually affect our native tree species as well, things like oak trees, a number of different ash species, sycamore - key plants in our landscape." said Dr Rebekah Robinson, senior plant pathologist at the Royal Horticultural Society.

For more on this article, please see the BBC website.

Roosting Bats in Trees

For many species of bats in the UK, the tree is where they will choose to roost and trees holes by woodpeckers, rot holes, areas of flaking bark and cracks in the trunk can be ideal locations on a tree for a bat to take a rest. Mature broadleaf trees are generally the best type for the bats and also a whole host of other wildlife may find food and seek protection in these areas, therefore trees can make an essential home for many species and must be protected accordingly.

The problem is that due to mismanagement and a lack of knowledge about the connection between mature trees and wildlife and how important trees for ecology purposes can come under threat especially if they are dying or could pose a danger. The need for the tree to be felled comes under scrutiny, but a proper review of the trees needs to be done beforehand as the law in the UK means that landowners and developers need to carry out a survey before any tree work is carried to make sure no bats use the area to roost in.

Bats and trees: Who does what where! (link to trees.org.uk website)

Game of Thrones: One of the trees from the Dark Hedges falls

High winds at the beginning of the year have meant a tree has fallen down that was famous for being in the very popular TV series the Game of Thrones, which has some new episodes airing now.

The storm hit Northern Ireland on the 26th of January with winds gusting up to 60mph. The beech trees on the Bregagh Road close to Armoy have been a draw for tourists since being shown on this hit series and have had some of trees damaged by Storm Hector in the previous year.

Hopefully no more damage will occur to this popular tourist attraction anytime soon.

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Ash Dieback Is On The Move

Scientists now believe that some forests of Ash can survive this epidemic. Previous studies revealed that all the trees would be wiped out from the infection, but now it could only be as much as 70% in normal woodlands, but this is higher for plantations, where of course the spread of the disease will be more severe.

Ash Dieback has been found now throughout the UK, including: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. There has even been a report on the isolated Isle of Man. Wales in terms of percentages has been affected the most up until now. Ash Diesback can really affect the health of the European Ash, but the narrow-leaved Ash is also not without incidence and in the UK both have been affected.

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Winter Is Coming

The Autumn season is nearly upon us and those lovely summer nights will be coming to a close soon. This is a great time to prepare for the stormy winter months ahead with reagrds to the trees you may have in your garden or grounds.

Planning ahead is essential to make sure that your trees survive the cold winter and do not cause any harm to surrounding buildings, property or even the public. We can help with this and we have provided some advice and tips to help with this tough season.

  • 1. Safety Inspection
  • 2. Deadwooding
  • 3. Protect Young and Newly Planted Trees
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Taking Down A Large Beech Tree

Recently we were commissioned to take down a rather large Beech Tree, which meant careful planning and consideration on how to bring it down safely and securely with the least possible disturbance to the surrounding area.

The beech tree is a dense deciduous tree that in the height of summer can prevent sunlight reaching the ground floor and hence stifling the growth of many other trees and flowers. Also Beech leaves take a long time to decay, so few nutrients are released to nourish ground plants. This can mean that where a Beech Tree resides there is often found little vegetation growing underneath it unless the tree has been thinned out or coppiced usually by a professional tree surgeon.

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A New Member Of The Team

At Special Branch Scotland we are always on the look out for new talented people to join our happy team.

This young fella is Cody and he has joined us recently to help boast morale! Though it maybe a few years until he can gets his licence and will be able to switch on the chainsaw and do some tree work for himself.

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The Chris Evans Show Mention!

Dedicated to all small businesses and to giving them a great and funny name. The TOP 10 novelty names of the year.

We get a mentioned by Chris Evans at about 1:39:00 into his broadcast (17 days to go), fame at last and we knew the name Special Branch had some mileage. We came in at number 8 :).

Link to the BBC Radio Website

Tree Dismantling in Livingston!

A client employed us to dismantle a beech tree because it had died and could cause a potential hazard to the public and the immediate surroundings. Dead limbs or branches can fall off in time especially when there storms or high winds.

Not every dead tree can be climbed making the job that more tricky, so we need to assess the situation each time to formulise the best solution. This time as you can see we where able to climb the tree and dismantle it carefully piece by piece, due to the constraints on the surrounding space a simple tree felling operation could not be done.

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Tree Felling in Currie!

This morning`s work grinds to a halt as we embarked on cutting down a pine tree for a client and as we reached the top we realised there was a nest of young baby wood pigeons living in the crown of the pine tree, just 1 metre from the top. Unfortunately we will have to wait until they hopefully fly away in a few weeks time and come back to finish the job.

Under the Wildlife and Conservation Act 1981 it would be an offence to cut the tree down with nesting birds still living there. All birds and their eggs are protected by law and we always adhere to this!

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The New Special Branch Website!

Our new site has just gone life, we would love to hear your thoughts about it and any suggestions to improve the overall experience and usability. We will be adding to the site from time to time especially on this news page, so please come back to see what's new and happening with Special Branch Scotland!

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