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A Look inside

A Look inside – Sonic Tomography

Ever fancy a look inside a tree!

From time to time we are asked to assess the structural integrity of a specimen which maybe raising concerns for a customer. An indicator of potential decay is sometimes (but not limited to) a fungal fruiting body protruding from the wood or root area around a tree, and depending on what species of fungi these fruiting bodies belong to, we can gauge whether a look inside the stem is necessary or not.

A very efficient way of doing this is by using a Tomograph to send sound waves through the wood with the use of strategically placed sonic sensors around the circumference of the trees stem. These sensors record the speed of the sound waves moving through solid or decayed wood masses and produce a colour coded image revealing any decay patterns within the stem itself.

We were recently invited to inspect a mature and prominent Beech tree near Doncaster, which was infected with Meripilus giganteus (a root and stem base decaying fungi) and assess the possible extent of decay within the tree’s lower stem.

Unfortunately in this case a Tomograph inspection revealed that the wood was significantly compromised on one side of the tree which could have increased the risk of the tree collapsing into a nearby school playground. The Tomograph image is reproduced below and shows pockets of decay (coloured pink or blue) extending around the southern circumference of the tree.

With the help of this technology we were able to make a more informed decision on the appropriate remedial action to take. With the owners desire to retain the Beech tree for as long as possible, we recommended a significant weight and height reduction so as to considerably reduce the risk of the tree falling. Further Tomograph inspections can be undertaken in the future, we can then evaluate the rate of spread of decay within the tree and recommend appropriate action as needed.

In other cases we have used Tomography to ease a client’s concern over the stability of a tree by clearly showing a sound and solid wood structure beneath the bark, leading to peace of mind and the retention of a specimen that might otherwise have been needlessly felled.

Inspections start from around £250 + VAT and we would be happy to advise on the suitability of this technology for any particular tree concern that you may have.

A look inside


Contact us for more information.

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Sweet Chestnut Blight found in South East London

Sweet chestnut blight, a disease that affects sweet chestnut trees, has been found in South East London, the UK Government’s

Chief Plant Health Officer has confirmed.

Action is being taken to identify and control the disease in line with the Government’s plant disease contingency plans. The Animal and Plant Health

Agency (APHA) and Forestry Commission are carrying out extensive surveillance of sweet chestnut trees in the area, working closely with local stakeholders.

Further action will be taken on the basis of surveillance information and the best available scientific evidence.

The disease, caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica, causes foliage to wilt and die and cankers to develop on the tree surface, which

may eventually kill the tree. Chestnut blight does not pose any risk to people, pets or livestock, and is only known to seriously affect sweet chestnut

(Castanea) species.Anyone who suspects Sweet chestnut blight should contact the Forestry Commission via its Tree Alert tool

at Hall, Forestry Commission England’s Tree Health Team leader, said:
When disease is identified, we take prompt action and activate our contingency plans to help mitigate the impact of the threat.

The first stage in this plan is to survey the infected areas so we can gain a thorough understanding of the extent of the problem

and how best to respond. “We are working in collaboration with the local council and London tree officers with the vital support of the

forestry industry to identify and tackle the disease.“Anyone who has sweet chestnut trees in their garden or on their land, or who works

with the trees, should check them for symptoms such as wilting leaves, diseased orange bark and cankers across the surface of the tree,

and report any suspected sightings via the Forestry Commission’s Tree Alert tool.The UK is home to about 12,000 hectares of woodland

where sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) is the dominant tree species, mostly in southern England.

Sweet chestnut blight was first identified in the UK in southern England in 2011 but has been present in mainland Europe for

nearly a century. The UK’s EUprotections were strengthened in response, including a requirement that imported plants must

originate from pest-free areas.Speaking of further action people could take to curtail the spread of disease, Forestry Commission

England’s Tree Health Team leader Andy Hall added: Good biosecurity is vital to reducing disease spread – anyone visiting or

working in woodland should take care not to remove twigs, leaves and branches to avoid spreading the pest further.

They should also clean their footwear, tools and machinery before moving locations.

What are the symptoms?

  • On whole tree: The fungus attacks the bark, cambium and wood of chestnut trees, entering through bark fissures,
  • wounds and grafts. Rough, sunkencankers are typically formed as the bark dies, followed by stem girdling and bark splitting.
  • There can be multiple cankers on a single tree and epicormic
  • shoots usually develop below the cankers.
  • On leaves: Girdling caused by the cankers leads to wilting and browning of leaves, which remain hanging on the tree.
  • On stems: On young, smooth-barked branches, cankered bark is bright orange/brown. On older stems the infected bark
  • often has a roughened appearance.Cankers (swollen or sunken) develop on the stems.
  • Masses of pin-head sized yellow-orange to reddish-brown pustules develop on infected bark.

Full information about the disease, including pictorial guides to the symptoms, is available on the Forestry

Commission website at

Disease can also be reported to the Plant Health Seeds Inspectorate on 01904 405138 or by email at

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Trees, transport and technology: The solutions to poor air quality?

Trees, transport and technology: The solutions to poor air quality?

Last Updated:  09/06/2017

An event will be held on 15 June in Manchester to mark National Clean Air Day to raise awareness about poor air quality in the region.

The lunchtime event, hosted by City of Trees and Jacobs alongside Transport for Greater Manchester will look at the problem, the impact and the solutions to improving air quality in Greater Manchester – including trees and green infrastructure.

The event form part of the first ever National Clean Air Day (NCAD) which will see local schools, hospitals and communities across UK cities run events and inspire other local residents to act for their own health and the health of local children.

The free event held in central Manchester aims to raise awareness about the issue and inspire people to take action and instigate change.

Aimed at businesses and professionals across sectors, speakers include Global Action Plan, Transport for Greater Manchester, Public Health England, British Lung Foundation, City of Trees and Jacobs.

The event forms part of a series of events held across the region to mark NCAD all led by Transport for Greater Manchester.

Matthew O’Neill, Lead Air Quality Officer, Transport for Greater Manchester comments;

“Air quality is one of the most important challenges facing Greater Manchester.

You may not see air pollution, but it can play a part in poor health, including breathing illnesses, heart disease, stroke and even some cancers. However, there are lots of things we can all do to improve air quality and help look after everyone’s health. That’s why we’ve launched Greater Manchester Clean Air Day on Thursday 15 June, part of the UK’s first ever National Clean Air Day.”

He adds; “Together we can raise awareness of air pollution as an issue and take action to tackle it.”

Air quality is frequently hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons. According to a report out from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) , every year around 40,000 deaths can be attributed to outdoor air pollution.

In Greater Manchester this is estimated to be about 2,000 deaths per year.

Poor air quality is now an urgent cause for concern on public health and has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even to dementia.

According to the RCP, costs from exposure to air pollution add up to more than £20 billion every year for business, insurance, social services and most critically of course, the NHS.

The solutions for improving air quality presented at the event will include transport; technology and trees.

This free event will include the chance to try out a pollution specific virtual reality experience, a networking lunch and showcase area.

Pete Stringer, City of Trees comments; “Planting more trees and protecting those we already have is a key part of the solution to poor air quality.

“Well considered and planned urban trees can, according to one study by US-based The Nature Conservancy reduce particulate matter between 7% and 24%”

Another study, led by Lancaster University, explored in more detail how the leaves of road-side trees could radically cut pollution by absorbing particulates, even inside people’s homes.

Mr Stringer explains; “It’s about the right tree in the right place at the right time. Trees have a huge range of benefits beyond just improving our air quality – they create healthier, happier communities and make our towns and cities nicer places to live and work.”

He goes into say; “It’s why City of Trees wants to plant 3 million trees – one for every man, woman and child – to transform our City region for the benefit of both people and the environment”.

For information about the event and to register visit eventbrite.

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Arborist vs Landscaper – what’s the difference?

Even during the high season and the busy periods, continued professional development and reading of the latest industry news are essential to an arborist’s ability to offer top quality and professional advice and care.

Throughout the Leeds and Yorkshire and indeed in many other areas, potential consumers often find their letterboxes flooded with leaflets offering tree and garden care. Such services include (but are certainly not limited to!): lawn care services, handymen, driveway and paving services, property management companies and landscape gardeners.

Working in and around trees is a highly trained skill set; not something picked up as you go along, nor learn over a few summers. Check out our article to Avoid Rogue Trader Tree Surgeons. It takes years of training as an apprentice beneath an experienced, qualified and certified arborist to become a professional tree surgeon, and a relevant university degree often helps.

While some basic garden tasks can be achieved with little knowledge and no negative consequences, it is not wise to leave the wellbeing of your trees to an unqualified handyman. Often, you get what you pay for – but trees can be worth hundreds or thousands of Pounds. Large, well-maintained and mature trees can add a significant percentage to the value of your property, so you should not entrust the care of such valuable assets to just anyone.

ICS Tree Services are qualified and experienced team of highly skilled arborists offer cost-effective solutions for long-term management of your trees. We provide free onsite quotes for small urban gardens, large estates and anything in between.

ICS Tree Services Ltd. is a company registered in England, number 07886071. All of our tree work is fully compliant with BS 3998 (2010) and Arboricultural standards. We are fully certified and insured, with public liability insurance up to £5,000,000, and we are committed to an environmentally-friendly policy, recycling 99% of all waste created during our work.

Arborist vs Landscaper – what’s the difference?








ICS Tree Services Ltd range of professional services includes:

Tree Felling, Tree Removal, Tree Pruning, Precision Dismantling, Emergency Storm, Damage Call Out, Stump Removal and Grinding, Wood Fuel and Woodchip, Hedge, Maintenance , Consultancy, Commercial Services, Site Clearance, and Tree Planting.

For information and Free Onsite Quotes, call 0113 2320495/07782251881.

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