Our Day - A day in the life of the tree team


#OurDay is a yearly tweetathon for local government to show what it does in a typical day.

Inspecting assets, improving wellbeing and photophosphorylation – this can only be the Tree Team. But what sort of things do they do on an average day? And what difference does it make to you?

You’d have to be very focussed on the roads you travel on, or the streets you walk through, to miss the fact that Oxfordshire is predominantly a rural county, full of greenery, sloping landscapes and, of course, trees.

Trees = assets

Trees, as with most of our arrangements with neighbouring councils, are separated by boundaries and areas. In some cases, you could literally be stood in between two trees, with your left arm touching one owned by a district council, and your right arm touching one owned by the county!

You might not know it, but trees are actually council assets; assets that need to be registered, managed and regularly maintained by our team of trained specialists in the Tree Team. We have over eight hundred thousand trees that need to be inspected, by law, a minimum of once every five years. Incredibly, this arduous task is done by just two surveyors.

The surveyors play a crucial role in keeping Oxfordshire’s roads and public safe – by reacting to dangerous overhangs at the side of the highway or any fallen debris – and making sure that the data we have in our system is current and accurate.

They conduct driven and walking surveys to visually assess trees; sometimes using fancy equipment to see what’s lurking inside of them – fungal decay, large wounds, and nesting birds and bats are just a few examples of what you might find.

Maintaining a natural balance

Biodiversity (using native species of trees and leaving deadwood for animals where possible) and protecting and increasing tree cover for future generations, is embedded in the Tree Team’s roots. Together they, work closely with our street lighting, bridges and highways colleagues. They also liaise with counterparts at a district level, and play an advisory role on projects across the county, often being called in at the planning stages of private projects such as multi-million pound housing developments.

Given the nature of such projects, there are often differing opinions and interests involved. The team have to balance the wants and needs of individuals, with what’s best for residents and the environment. 

In case you were wondering …

As well as an entry level introduction to arboriculture, we learnt some interesting things after a day with the Tree Team. For example, did you know that photophosphorylation is the process in which a tree converts potential energy from the sun into kinetic energy, to facilitate its living processes in the dark?

And did you know that you’re more likely to win the euro millions jackpot than you are to be killed by a falling tree? (Your chances are 1 in 20 million, in case you were wondering.)

Got a problem that needs fixing?

Head to www.FixMyStreet.com to report, view, or discuss local problems relating to trees, graffiti, fly tipping, broken paving slabs, or street lighting.