The end of a big black pine...

Posted: January 27, 2016 at 14:44 pm Author: Mark Ballard

You may notice some temporary traffic lights outside the arboretum today and tomorrow (27 and 28 January 2016).

We have arranged for this traffic management to be put in place as we need to work above part of the A433 road that runs along our boundary.

The work at height in question is the removal of a black pine (Pinus nigra), specimen number 02-0226 to be specific.

We have been monitoring this particular tree for several reasons and over many years, as part of our tree safety management programme.

The tree is within zone one, which is an area with a high ‘target value’, such as places with high public use, paths and rides, adjacent to buildings, visitor centres, car parks, or as in this case near a public road.

The decision to remove any tree is one that is never taken lightly, and an assessment of risk is always based on the following:

  • The identification of hazards that pose a significant risk - defects or factors that could result in failure and have the potential to cause harm
  • Quantifying the risk associated with the hazards identified should be estimated by considering the following factors:
    • The probability of tree failure depending on the severity of the hazards identified;
    • The likely consequence of tree failure, which will depend largely on the dimensions of the overall tree or the particular limbs identified as hazards;
    • The occupancy of the site or level of use – proximity and business of paths etc.

This is an old black pine that has graced the Old Arboretum opposite the school gates since it was planted by the Holford family.

However, it is now in poor condition with some physical defects:

  • It has a major lean and over-hangs a main road;
  • There are early signs of root plate instability;
  • It is multi-stemmed and has been supported with cable bracing in the past which requires frequent inspection.

Due to this combination of factors, we have judged that it has now reached the end of the line and needs to be removed.

We are fortunate enough to have a highly skilled team of arborists at Westonbirt who are undertaking this tree work in a safe and efficient manner.


On a positive note and as always, this very same team will look to plant a young specimen when the ground settles here in due course.