Thursday, 7 October 2010

An autumnal update

I’ve now got two substantial pieces of long-term work, with Oxford and with Glendale in Nuneaton, as well as a big one-off project with Tamworth, and so I have decided to ask my line manager and his colleagues for their approval to spend some money to upgrade our ICT.

We currently use a variety of software applications (both niche and generic) on a number of different data loggers – there are compatibility problems within and between each application and so I’ve made the decision to migrate everything that we do onto the ArcGIS platform from ESRI and to generally use PDAs for data capture. There will be occasions when “near enough is not good enough” and so we will roll out the TruPulse to help get a better fix (wasn’t he one of Asterix’s mates?) on specific assets.

All being well next time I venture into the blogosphere I’ll let you know how we are getting on!

I now have a new colleague, Jenny Esdon, an experienced landscape manager and member of the Landscape Institute, and I’m sure that Jenny and I will be able to work together on future projects.

The changing season
Autumn has arrived and with it a certain unpredictability creeps in –
1. will the weather hold throughout the day?
2. what fungus IS that?
3. which species or variety of broadleaf is that, now all the leaves are turning off?

I hope to be able to help out on the weather front (but only by providing a decent coat, my powers don’t extend very far you know!) and with fungal idents (by adding a variety of images and prompts and so on to the PDA), but the tree ident has to remain the responsibility of the field staff!

Practically speaking
We have now completed the fieldwork for a complete tree inventory and hazard assessment survey for Oxford Homes, we’ve been to every property that they manage and have assessed trees in front gardens, communal areas AND in rear gardens. Unusually, but I believe quite wisely, Oxford Homes have taken the decision to be aware of and responsible for all trees that might be within influencing distance of their properties and residents.

The job for Tamworth has begun well and we have established a good working relationship with our client and have begun to share a common understanding of the assessment and prioritisation of tree hazards and associated risks.

We have completed an “in-leaf” inventory survey for Glendale in Nuneaton, the winter survey will begin in October, to give us a chance to spot any fungal fruiting bodies that may be evident and to assess the hazard that they pose.

Regular readers (I flatter myself!) will be keen to know about the project for the as yet un-named housing organisation! – well, I’ve now submitted all the work that I can and I hope to have closed out the project. It has not been a happy experience for me but I have learnt much during the execution (and I use the word wisely) of the job.

I have now received clarification and clarity over the time allowed in the Consent to work on trees covered by TPO in a private road near Solihull. I have invited a local contractor to give me his best price for the first instalment, the removal of horse chestnut badly affected by leaf miner and by bleeding canker.

Small instructions pop up every so often; some provide the opportunity to work with other disciplines on site, such as the ecologists, others are more solitary affairs!

Expressly interesting
Since I last blogged (is that really a word?) I get the impression that the market has stagnated, opportunities across the board have dried up – I must do more to raise my profile and so come to the attention of those who want or need arboricultural advice!