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Tree Life Training in Hong Kong

In 2010 Tree Life were approached by Luciana Wong of LNS (Learning Never Stops) with regards to bringing our courses to candidates in Hong Kong. In September 2010 we therefore went across to join LNS to deliver four days of training in relation to Tree Inspection and British Standard 5837. This training went exceptionally well and we are now looking at other courses that candidates are asking us to provide. Most of these courses are likely to take place in 2011 with just a few more days of Tree Life training in December 2010 to look forward to.


The tutor delivering the courses so far has been Dave Dowson who is the founder and senior consultant of Tree Life Arboricultural Consultancy LTD.


A message from Dave...


Hello to all of you that I met during my recent visit to Hong Kong, it was a pleasure to meet you all, and Tree Life feels honoured and privileged to have been invited to deliver training provision by way of BS 5837 Trees in Relation to Construction and an Introduction to Professional Tree Inspection.


I arrived home safely after a delay sitting in the aircraft while lightening and thunder prevailed over the airfield in HK. I met some lovely trees and one or two scary ones that had holes in them that probably would not have survived a UK chainsaw! The problems you face with trees are not dissimilar to the ones faced here in the UK. I did notice that the species are a little different and of course that wall trees are a source of fascination for me and my camera.


I was lucky enough to go and see the oldest tree in HK with its many props, wires and ropes installed and also to see one of the trees that remain after the ground under it was removed leaving the tree high in the sky – always, it is interesting to see what other nations do for their trees.


You might enjoy the following picture of one of Britain’s most famous trees the Major oak situated in Sherwood Forest the home of the legend Robin Hood. Note the props and braces!


 I anticipate being back in HK during December to deliver a full 3 days training for Professional Tree Inspectors covering risk assessment that leads to a certificate of competence that is backed by the British Government. This competence award has been out for consultation with all British arboriculturists having had the opportunity to comment on its contents. Therefore, it is understood to be best practice. It is administered by LANTRA Awards which has responsibility for setting the arboricultural standards for the country. Tree Life has taught this course since its conception 3 years ago and to-date has run 26 courses both here and in Europe.


The course is an integrated assessment programme containing 3 tests of an individual’s competence. A knowledge based exam covers the underpinning knowledge of trees, pathogens, law and inspectors responsibilities, an identification of fungi covers the candidates ability to determine the type of decay caused by a fungal pathogen and finally a tree inspection of 2 trees test the candidates ability out in the filed to determine tree condition and then to specify the appropriate management recommendations.


The aim of the programme and the testing procedure is to provide the candidate with specific tree inspection training and a certificate of competence, industry and government endorsed that states that they are competent to inspect trees. This may also provide proof to a judge that they have had adequate training in the subject of tree inspection should things go wrong following an inspection.


Also during the week I expect to deliver a session on the principles of decay detection which will include Visual Inspection of the tree to determine the point of greatest weakness and the principles of operation of commonly available decay detection and/or measuring equipment and the interpretation of results. This type of equipment has become a valuable addition to the tree manager’s armoury in assisting with decision making using more scientific approaches. Not one item of equipment can give the answer, but when used with arboricultural knowledge and experience can greatly aid the decision making process. The use of this equipment has become almost essential when electing to keep trees with defects as a more detailed and quantifiable risk assessment is required as proof of a manager being reasonable.


Equipment that can be covered includes non-invasive techniques, acoustic equipment, drills and the fractometer. A follow up field day will be organised in the future so that the equipment can be seen at work in a real situation.  




Please be aware that the new BS3998: 2010 - Tree Work - Reccomendations is now available for purchase.

We would recommend Treesource and they can be found at or email Jo at (Tel: 01904720126).


As of December 2011 the National Tree Safety Group have published their latest guidance and this can be found on the following link 



Materials of interest to download...


The Next Courses...

LANTRA Professional Tree Inspection 3 Day Course

The format of this course is as follows: The three-day course aims to provide specific tree inspection programme at an advanced level for competent arboriculturists to enable them to reach a level of competence that can be recognised as having received adequate training.


Candidates are required to inspect trees and specify the necessary remedial works and record the inspection process. This would then form part of a defensible system. The course is not aimed at covering report writing however, presentation of findings will be examined and advice given. 


It is also an opportunity for candidates to update their level of knowledge and its application to inspecting trees particularly if that previous knowledge was gained sometime ago.

 Portfolio sheet for the course provided by LANTRA                                            

 Tree Inspection Factsheet

Basic Tree Inspection Course 

One-day duration aimed at horticultural staff, highway engineers, park rangers, contractors etc. Also as a preliminary course for contractors, dedicated tree inspectors, assistant and principal Arboricultural officers wishing to complete an advanced programme.


Identify obvious defects by visual inspection of the trees from ground level with the aid of binoculars, mallet and a probe.

To record defects found and place the tree in a broad category of risk rating.

Identify the required action upon finding a tree with an obvious defect – instigate works as a budget holder or request further assistance in the form or a more competent person

 Tree Decay Fungi Knowledge & Recognition

Course Description

The course would cover the work of Dr F Schwarze, Prof. Dr Claus Mattheck, Dr Alan Raynor, Dr Lyn Boddy, Prof. Dr Olaf Schmidt. All the content would be specific to Hong Kong fungi.


To understand how decay fungi found in Hong Kong cause wood degradation in living trees

To understand the different strategies employed by the decay fungi to colonise woody tissues and the implications for tree care

To have knowledge of the different types of rot caused by the decay fungi and be able to recognise white, brown and soft rots and the implications for the tree

To recognise the principal decay fungi found in living trees in Hong Kong

To know for each fungi - a typical host tree species, colonisation strategy, type of rot they cause, part of tree attacked and the significance for the tree.

To have knowledge of the wood-decay processes and host fungi interactions as this is essential to providing objectivity in risk assessment involving fungi and trees  

Previous courses...

  • Introduction to Professional Tree Inspection Course
  • Trees in Relation to Construction British Standards BS 5837 Workshop
  • LANTRA Professional Tree Inspection 3 Day Course 

Becoming a member of an Industry Body...

  •   Here in the UK we are a part of many indistry bodies icnluding the Arboricultural Association (AA). if you would also like to become a member of the AA please contact Keely so that she can help you through the process.


If you would like more information on the courses we are delivering in Hong Kong then please email us on the following address: