A tree team at the cutting edge


 From little acorns great oaks grow…and from humble beginnings the intrepid tree team at Bodnant Garden is scaling new heights.

  In recent years our arborists have been crucial in the fight against the disease Sudden Oak Death at our National Trust property near Conwy. Now we are winning that battle we have begun offering our armoury of specialist skills and equipment to other gardens. Our boys have gone from woodsmen responsible for in-house maintenance to capable of carrying out felling work on a monumental scale.

Oak Dell 2005-6

Acting Head Gardener Adam Salvin

 Bodnant Garden’s acting head gardener Adam Salvin says: “We’ve got a highly trained, fully equipped team that can tackle a range of work quickly, safely and efficiently and the message to others is, we’re here to help!”

  Adam heads up the team, along with Paul Roberts and Richard Clifton, all highly trained arborists and machinery operators. Paul has been working in the garden for around 25 years, man and boy, while Richard joined us nearly two years ago…or rather rejoined us as a professional tree surgeon after visiting Bodnant as a school boy on work experience some years ago!

 Adam has himself been at Bodnant since 1997 and is now at the helm following head gardener Troy Smith’s departure. He says: “There have long been trained woodsmen working on the estate and in the garden with more specialist tree surgeons starting in the 1970s. Paul was trained by these original tree surgeons. Richard joined us two years ago. They have played a vital role in the garden at a difficult time and can now offer all that skill and experience beyond Bodnant Garden.”


Arborist Paul

 That teamwork has never been more critical than in the fight against Phytopthora ramorum, which has involved removing hundreds of large and mature Rhododendron ponticum throughout the 80 acre site as well as old and declining larch trees, which are hosts of the fungal disease.

 It’s been a trial by fire for our arborists but they have emerged from it with improved skills and an impressive catalogue of equipment – full rope access kit, winching, lowering and lifting equipment, a 15metre MEWP and a shredder which makes light work of plant debris.

  It means they are capable of tackling a wide range of jobs from crown thinning and deadwooding to dismantling of large trees using a crane such as was recently called for at Plas Newydd on Anglesey.


Arborist Richard

 On that job, Paul, Richard and Adam were called in to take down a number of mature and ailing beech trees along the main drive of our neighbouring National Trust property which were posing a threat to public safety. It was a massive operation which had to be done and cleaned up fast and they got the work completed within days.

  Adam says: “With the skills and equipment we have we are now looking to put these to wider use outside Bodnant Garden, so to all other gardens out there – if it’s tree work you need, give us a call!”

  For further details contact Adam Salvin on 01492 650460. See our website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bodnant-garden or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BodnantGardenNT for more about Bodnant Garden.