Regenerative Arboriculture takes many of the principles and practices of Regenerative Agriculture and applies them in a tree specific context. It has grown out of an improved understanding of the causes of declining tree and soil ecosystem health and how we can influence them. We define it as:
The practice of understanding the wider causes of declining tree and soil ecosystem health and applying that knowledge to investigate, diagnose and understand the specific causes of declining tree and soil health at a given site.
Tailored tree and soil vitality treatments are then applied which aim to reverse tree decline and restore soil ecosystem function and health, underpinning the return to a state of increasing tree resilience over time.
Treecosystems’ specialism in Regenerative Arboriculture is the result of a long journey researching, investigating and improving our understanding of tree declines and their relationship to soil health, involving collaboration with other specialists along the way.
Director Geoff Monck is an experienced arboriculturist with a keen interest in the soil and brings over ten years experimental and research experience looking at tree declines and different tree and soil vitality treatments, to the table. Director Rob Grist is an experienced conservation arborist with over seven years’ experience of applying cutting edge tree and soil vitality treatments in the field.
Collaboration with an expert agronomist of 45 years, with an original background in forestry, who over the last 15 years has pioneered the field of organic and chemical free turf management (golf courses & sports pitches) has enabled Treecosystems to apply this extensive combined knowledge and experience to develop our Regenerative Arboriculture system.
Many of the fundamental aims of organic turf management are shared with Regenerative Arboriculture, in particular the focus on building a biologically active and healthy soil to support healthy plant growth. Most of the soil amendments now being recommended by Treecosystems are tried and tested products arising from both agriculture and organic turf management research. Therefore, we know exactly how they work in the soil, the conditions they promote and the quantities that should be used for each purpose and in different pre-existing soil conditions.
A detailed knowledge of agronomy, and of the soil and whole tree microbiome conditions required for healthy tree growth, enable Treecosystems to understand exactly what is going on in the soil and where the stress points are for both trees and the soil microbiology they rely on. We can then tailor a treatment system designed to remediate as many of the identified factors as possible and set the soil on a trajectory of increasing optimisation over time for supporting healthy tree growth.
By optimising every element of the tree’s growing system that we can influence, treatments return trees to a position of net annual energetic surplus, thus allowing them to build resilience again over time.
Elements included in the service include:
- Full soil chemistry, bulk density and biology testing and interpretation.
- Laboratory leaf tissue analysis.
- Investigation and identification of site-specific and general factors leading to tree declines and poor tree physiological health.
- Tree/soil health surveys and management plans.
- Remediation of land damage and negative effects on health of the soil ecosystem, trees and associated plant communities.
- Specialists in understanding and mitigating for the complex factors causing oak and other tree declines at any particular site.
- Remediate deteriorated soil conditions and manipulate the whole tree/soil microbiome to support healthy tree growth and improve resilience.
- Re-wilding consultancy for wood-pasture or other tree ecosystems.
- Aerated compost tea (ACT) application - rootzone and foliar.
- Improves composition and diversity of microbes in the rhizosphere (root/soil environment).
- Improves composition and diversity of microbes on and inside leaves and twigs.
- Stimulates plant immune processes such as Induced Systemic Resistance and improves resistance to pathogens.
- Optimises plant growth processes.
- Improves root health leading to increased fine root mass which boosts tree resilience.
- Over time, used in combination with other soil treatments, helps to establish an improved diverse and persistent tree/soil microbiome.
- Physical [manual] soil aeration using various different methods depending on site conditions.
- Application of a range of different soil amendments for several purposes, including (but not limited to):
- Build soil biological fertility and improve structure.
- Increase organic matter content.
- Harness the power of earthworms!
- Remediate compaction and improve water percolation.
- Improve the survivorship of microbes in what may at the outset be hostile soil conditions. Improving survivorship leads to an increase in microbial diversity, supporting healthy tree function and resilience.
- Kick-start aerobic soil microbiological activity. This facilitates the transition towards the fungal dominated root/soil microbiome necessary to support healthy tree growth and improve tree resilience.
- Amend soil pH problems.
- Buffer available soil water during dry periods, reducing tree stress.
- Adsorb and/or remove excess or toxic levels of nutrients.
- Address specific nutrient imbalances identified from soil and leaf tissue testing.
- Stem injection
- Once applied to the soil, earthworm activity causes amendments to gradually make their way down through the soil to lower soil horizons over a number of years. In the deeper soil horizons, amendments will still benefit tree roots, improving water movement through the soil and encouraging deeper rooting over time on some soils.
- Most amendments used by Treecosystems will break down to smaller particles eventually and, being made of the building blocks of soil already (carbon, clay and other minerals), at that point they are assimilated into the soil on a particle level.
- The transitory presence of amendments [that do eventually break down] greatly boosts soil microbiological activity and microbiome composition. This improves the functioning of the whole soil food web.
- Amendments therefore help boost and accelerate the natural process of soil restoration, leaving a restored soil capable of maintaining its biological fertility and structure indefinitely.