The Tree Council leads an action programme which empowers communities to manage and look after the trees in their neighbourhoods. The programme supports the formation of networks of volunteer Tree Wardens whose aim is to help protect and care for their communities' trees.
The Tree Council launched the Tree Warden Scheme in 1990 to harness the power
of local volunteers for the good of their communities' trees. It has coordinated it nationally
ever since, working with local authorities, voluntary organisations, parish councils
and local partnerships to set up and develop Tree Warden networks in town, city and
countryside across the UK.
In 2005, the Government began backing the scheme through its 'Cleaner, Safer, Greener' initiative
to help extend Tree Wardening further into urban areas.
(from The Tree Council Tree Warden's Handbook)
Here is the September 2016 Member Bulletin.
Large oak, the Coombes
A trilateral agreement between Wokingham Borough Council, WDVTA, and the Tree Council has established the Wokingham Tree Warden Network in the Borough. Neighbouring schemes already exist in Reading and Windsor and Maidenhead and now members of WDVTA can offer to become tree wardens in their parish under WBC's membership of the Tree Council. This will provide opportunities for tree-related projects as well as increased protection and awareness of local trees. The WDVTA Tree Warden Co-ordinator (see the Contact us page) works with the Tree Council and WBC to ensure that those who wish to participate in projects have all the information they need.
An exploratory meeting about a possible Wokingham scheme took place at Dinton Pastures on 29 November 2011. This was an informal gathering where Jon Stokes from the Tree Council described the scheme to WDVTA members. The meeting chose to initiate the Hedge Tree project, which aims to protect existing juvenile hedge trees in the District as well as planting new hedge trees intended to grow to maturity.
The official inauguration of the Wokingham Tree Warden scheme took place on 21 July 2012 where the second project was launched, Jubilee Tree Planting. Jon Stokes described the supporting role of the Tree Council and, together with Jon Matthews and Coralie Ramsey of Wokingham Borough Council, discussed the criteria for selecting suitable sites for the Jubilee oak planting.
Winner of WDVTA photo competition in 2007
Photo by J M Evans
There is no training or specific responsibility other than an interest in, and concern for, trees. Members can call themselves Tree Wardens if they so wish. They are not expected to be experts and they do not have any delegated authority.
The kinds of projects that Tree Wardens have engaged in include some that WDVTA is already doing. For example:
Other projects that a developed association could promote if members so wished might be:
Tree Wardens may wish to make themselves known to their local town or parish council to help and/or advise on any tree planting and subsequent maintenance.
WDVTA proposes to nominate some of Wokingham's trees as Heritage Trees in a similar way that notable buildings are given listed status.
The Heritage Status assessment procedure is described in detail on the TreeAZ website, where you will find guidance notes and a nomination form. TreeAZ is a methodology for assessing the importance of trees in the urban environment.
Well-known examples of Wokingham trees that could be eligible include the Montague House Oriental Plane, Wellingtonia Avenue and the Bound Oak at Arborfield. If you have ideas for nominations, contact Kerry (Hon. Sec.).
This project is to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee by establishing at least 60 hedge trees widely throughout the district. A hedge tree is an individual tree growing above a hedge. This project will add new trees to the countryside, but may also be in urban areas as well. This is foreseen as an easy project, as in most cases the trees will already be growing, and the task is to seek the permission of the landowner to tag the tree to prevent it being cut down when the hedge is cut. New hedge trees could be planted if wished. Species may be either timber or fruit trees.
Tagged hedge tree 28 in a newly
planted hedge in Earley
Hedge trees in Grazeley
For Tree Wardens, this project will mean looking at other features in the landscape, for example checking that there are no power wires above the hedge, and envisioning what the hedge tree's size could be like in the future. All hedge trees will be recorded on a form for a project database. Currently the veteran tree database has records of about 7 - 10% of hedge trees, so this project is seen as recruiting veteran trees for the future.
The WDVTA has drafted a short description of the Hedge Tree Project which can be used to support discussions with landowners.