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Each tree is a thing of beauty and as we know a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Tree surgery has at last come into his own. Nazareth is the destination for a meeting with Paul C. Luttik, the spokesman for specialist tree cane, a group of professional tree specialists who have, as it were, joined hands. The end of the journey is through a invoded area and first impression is that it could do with some tree cane! A bumby country lane then, after a couple of 1OO metres, I arrive at Paul's home an old but charmining house with an individul style. Wood everywhere! Only someone with trees in their blood could live here and that someone is Paul.
Paul's love of trees goes back to his early years with the background of parents and grandparents as keen gardners and garden planners al with naturel canport Paul, pre- destined to gravitate towards his cane of trees.
My impression of tree surgery was of huge machines, extensive works , in fact real tree operations. Paul very quickly dispeused with my ideas, explaining that those ideas steunned from the 60s and the 70s but they have now been superceded. In their day they were new techniques. e.g. suporting trees with concrete and iron an suchlike. In other words thinking mechanically quite ignoring that wonderful living thing the tree!

All ideas of curing a tree wound by layers of ointement must be forgotten. Using petrochemical substances on a damaged tree is totally unrealistic and such substance would remain on the tree for a long time cousing great damage. There is a parallel with around treatment for people if you leave plasters on past the doctors recommended time, problems will arise. An evolution call it a revolition has taken place inasmuch as if a tree is conspectly positioned it can virtually heal itself. In terms of a stressed street tree, it needs very little to go wrong to create problems.
If tree surgery is no longer a spectacular operation, what is it?

For the rest out interest is in the ground, the tree position and suitability for its sunroundings and, often, the psychological approch us to our client e.g. if a client requires us to dractically prune a tree wich he/she finds to be too big- we refuse that job in deference to out finn conviction that as a tree is a thing of beauty there is no way it can be sacrificed. It is then a question of atterteurpting to persuade the client to agree to another approch to what he/she sees as a problem, at the Same time reminding them as a problem, of the value of such a tree, etc.
By trimming we mean removing dead wood and too low-hanging branches also treatment of greenfly. In fact all tree infections are secondary inasmuch as we first investigate what has actually gone wrong with the tree. The first thing we do when we are presented with a tree problem is pay it a visit! Then we chat to neighbours, etc who have lived in the area for a while, therefose, have intimate knowledge of ground en soil conditions.

Wich is a twine of information for us most people are more than ready ready to help for instance we often learn of underground streams, etc. whitch result in certain trees being "banned" from ground whiels is too wet. In addition to out helpful local people we have out high-tech approach wich can mean software to enable inspecting roots or to map the roots or echography wich enables us to actually view the soil examined in a laboratory.
This high-tech approch will always result in a written report for the client. We know that a ratinal person requires such a report and are happy to be of service should he/she wish to continue contact with us. However, if the client engages us this does not necersarily mean that climbing starts immediately! It can happen that the tree itself does wat need to be treated and treating the soil its in is sufficient to stimmulate the tree to heal itself.

Building and Aesthetics
As tree specialists we are bougert in on a variety of situations but, at the moment, we find our help is needed primanily in the protection of trees on building sites.
Ideally, if we are consulted in the very laply planning stage and can convince the project staff to sing the same tune then a pleasant and productive plan can become a reality. One case was where we were instrumental in swimming pools (worth a few million) being re-sited a few metres to ensure that a tree could survive.
Another feature of our work is listing the trees in old estates thus revealing the actual condition of each tree involving urgent and less urgent intervention.

Needless to say there is no magic pecipe for saving trees these are living things thus there is often only a 50% chance of succes. We never make quick statements to a client about being able to save a tree but, generally, with our experience we can say what the chance of succes, or not, is. Another aspect in our work is the aesthetic. We, as tree specialists, are often called in to deal with crown-thinning and aeraeting plus the removal of dead wood. Fruit-tree pruning is quite special it is a question of is the client looking for a pretty or prudictive tree requines its own puning method and period when this is be done. After one day of fruit tree pruning we are usually tired inasmuch as constantly five years ahead is not quite a daily occurience! e.g if I take that branche away how is the tree going to react and what will the end result be?
We prume trees only in the grouth period thus giving a tree the oppertunity to heal its wounds.The tradition of winter-pruning came about becouse the famous had less work then thus, time to prune. Tree specialists also offer their expentise to schools, groups and compaires guiding them through the tree world. Quite often a whole tree experience is worked out involving theatre and actons. The roefeldag and the Woods week are 2 other projects in wich we are happy to be involved. I wonder if perhaps the time of the heavy material used in tree pruning is slowly coming to an end. Our most used instrument is a razor-sharp japaneze hand-saw. With this it is possible to remove a branch, the thickniss of ann in 3 strokes. In tree work it is a question of millimetre work wich is impossible when using a chainsaw. The largest material we work with is an aenating machine, used for introducing air and other missing elements into the earth. Chainsaus are only used when cutting down a tree wich is usually as a resuet of neighbours trouble(obstructive tree, a tree wich has become too bigetc.etc.) or by other of the local authoroty. We are able to without any problem remove a huge tree from a small garden or over a conservatory or greenhouse. Every branch falls exactly where we plan for it to be and, when the job is finished, we want the client to feel that we have not been there!

Tree specialists, now and again, also do spectacular things then it's a question of hiring a big crane and heavy material from a co-operative firm. An example of a 'spectacular' is than in Kortrijk there was this 80 year old chestuut tree of 80 cm diameter which had to be hoisted over a house to be re-planted in the garden. Then,of, course, we needed giant cranes plus special transport plus a police export! The same evening our people were able to climb in the re-planted tree. Quite a feat overall! There is a relatuvely simple involved in the re-planting of a tree i.e. the older the tree, the wore preparation necessary. From a certain diameter it can take six months to year of preparatory planning. Tus if we recive a request 'can you re-plant a tree for me next week?' there is only one answer regretfully no because our main concern is the tree and we make no compromises in technique and finishing. Rather working, remengly, slower but thoroughly. Pico bello is the anser of the day! Our way of looking at a tree problem is first study the tree, then its inmediate surroundings and after that the wider aspect. Arborists work on circles. Concentric circles.

Most people see trees as strong things where as in fact they are very sensitve. Incorect pruning, the wrong soil mixture, too much or too little ground water and the tree will react accordingly but , often, the result of our intervention will not be apparent for a long while. This is why, together with the client, we draw up a contract with a guarantee period and in this way we can follow the tree's progress.
There are many garden contractors who dig a hole, in goes the tree and they are away
-they have perhaps given a one years guarantee which is a bit pointless as a tree can hold its own, in any case, for that lenght of time! To be serious, standards must be introduced for tree specialist involved with a tree, they should be committed to a 10 years guarantee of responsability for that tree. Exactly the same rule applying as in the building sector. The website of specialst Tree people is already in various magasines on their list of 100 best websites from the benelux. Absolutely worth a visit!

A tree with a problem must be drastically cut back. Prunning encourages growth. This is valid for most grasses, plants and bushes but trees are and always will be something special in their own right. A healthy tree is "wise" and strong, for instance 8mm under the bark of a beech tree is where its vital organs are!

A tree is dying if it produces much fruit. That would be a disaster but it is a much used statement by tree choppers with large care loans! A tree is due for chopping when it's time! Another statement by tree choppers with heavy financial burdens for machinery , vans and jeeps adversting landscaping tree treatment and usually green in colour. Their claim is also the shaping of old trees i.e. what you ask to be done we do. Through this attitude there has been a great number of tree monuments destroyed forever just because that sort of destruction is a big moneymaker.
In the first place a tree does not need pruning to give it a shape Nature has already taken care of that,therefore, who are we to intefere! The trees biomechanisme does not lend itself to interference as this can only lead to irreparable damage to valuable trees such as beech, oak etc. Should the ground already be in a precarious state and the seasons too long or too dry then there is only one word: fatal. Either trim the tree as of five to seven years old or be sure to plant the correct type of tree in the correct place. The photos illustrate the above showing how year after year the degeneration beginning with crown infection wich means automatic root rot culminating in spreading rot. If a so-called tree surgeon agrees to lopping a tree and/or cutting the crown of a tree this is no specialist. It can only be some untrained clip-happy, make money person best avoided if you love trees!


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