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Arboricultural Association Conference Early Bird Discount ENDS 7th August!

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The UK’s biggest Arboriculture Conference

A new format and a spectacular new venue

The UK’s biggest arboriculture conference presents an innovative new format and world-class lineup of incredible UK and international speakers covering a wide range of topics relevant to everyone working in arboriculture and related environmental sectors.

Early Bird Deadline: 7th August 2023


SPEAKER PREVIEW: Kristin Moldestad (Norway)

A field guide to identification of tree roots

Kristin is a consulting arborist at COWI A/S and a part-time teacher at a technical college in Norway. She has been in the arboriculture industry for about 20 years and is often out on building and infrastructure construction sites ensuring that the correct procedures are followed to protect existing trees. She also collaborates with architects and landscape architects to find good solutions for preserving trees. Over the last two years, she has dedicated herself to studying tree roots.




Construction works and existing trees are a common and complex combination. The responsibility for overseeing the protection and wellbeing of trees on a site often falls to arborists. When it comes to trunks and crowns, methods of species identification and assessment are plentiful and well known, but this has not been the case for tree roots. The aim of our project has been to create a field guide for arborists to aid the identification of roots. My colleagues and I are often on site to ensure that the correct procedures are followed to protect existing trees. When digging works reveal tree roots, it is not always obvious which tree the roots belong to. Roots can expand far beyond a tree’s crown, and they are covered in soil and dirt. This recurring challenge – and our professional responsibility to save trees – inspired me and my colleague Olve Lundetræ to study more closely the roots we came across during our work. We began to assess roots more systematically as they appeared in trenches and on building sites. As a result, we learned that roots of different species are almost as different as their branches and leaves. We found roots with beautiful colours, amazing patterns, strange bark and different structures, and some with a distinct smell. So far, we have identified roots from around 40 different tree species. Our field guide includes descriptions and photographs of the roots. We hope that this information will help other arborists on site, and perhaps give them the evidence they need to change the direction of a trench or get a planned building moved by a few metres.



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