Tree Management Plans (TMPs) are relevant to anyone who is responsible for a tree or group of trees, ranging from the individual tree owner all the way up to owners or managers of large populations of trees on, for example, public land, golf courses and schools.
Recent changes in the health and safety laws place a duty of care on individuals and organisations to take all reasonable steps to manage risk. Trees, by their very nature, often present a risk of some kind. Often the level of risk is deemed to be acceptable however sometimes it is definitely not acceptable. Due care must be taken with regard to managing trees and the level of risk they pose to people and property. The best way to demonstrate this is by having a competent arboricultural professional inspect the tree/s and provide recommendations where necessary to adequately manage any observed or foreseeable risk. This is the fundamental purpose of a TMP. Risk management is obviously a priority however another critical component of a TMP is to prescribe management recommendations that will offset any future problems the tree may encounter. This could include removing limbs with defective stem unions, pruning limbs back from buildings or service cables or reducing the size of a tree before it outgrows the limited space it may occupy.
TMPs can apply to individual trees or to populations of trees. Such plans will usually involve an initial discussion with the tree owner or manager to ascertain the management aims, followed by an inspection and generation of a report. This report will detail the findings of the inspection, the agreed management aims and appropriate recommendations.
The key factor in this process is to establish the management aims and any limitations upon these aims. Management aims usually revolve around safety issues but can also include matters such as improving natural regeneration within an existing tree population, provision of screening or land / soil stabilisation functions, habitat enhancement, boundary demarcation or retention of a tree or trees deemed as significant due to cultural, historical, botanical or other reasons.
Limitations upon these management aims may be of a financial nature, related to tree ownership or statutory requirements or any number of other variables, and need to be considered by the arboricultural professional when specifying any management recommendations.
MAS believes the priority in the formation of any TMP is to establish the precise aims and limitations of the project with the client prior to getting started so as to ensure the client gets the best outcome for their investment. Each TMP will then be tailored accordingly to reflect the specific and agreed aims and expectations of the client.