Co-authored by Ruth’s mentor and senior lecturer, Duncan Slater, the work considers how natural bracing (a structure formed above a junction in the crown of a tree which restricts the junction’s movement), affects bark inclusions (ingrown bark) in two species of trees.
The abstract explains in detail: “Included bark is considered a significant structural flaw in the crown of an amenity tree. However, recent research identifies natural bracing within the crowns of trees is associated with the formation of bark-included junctions lower down. To advance this research, differences in natural bracing between species and cultivars should be assessed. A survey of thirty early mature specimens of both Acer platanoides L. and Tilia cordata Mill. ‘Rancho’ was completed in 2017. These two tree types have similar rates of formation of bark-included junctions but reputably have differing failure rates. In these sixty trees, all major branch junctions from ground level to three metres were inspected and any associated natural braces categorised. Bark inclusions in the Norway maples were associated with fewer natural braces (44.4% association) and the trees contained a higher proportion of cup unions. In comparison, bark inclusions in the thirty lime cultivars were associated with more natural braces (78.3% association) and the trees contained a higher proportion of wide-mouthed bark inclusions. The differing forms and levels of self-shading in these two tree types are considered the key factors that explain the differences found in the survey. This finding informs better tree assessment and formative pruning programmes.”
The effects of natural bracing
“Ruth recently joined the team and is already proving her worth both in her day-to-day work and through her academic accolades with the publication of her dissertation. Ruth’s knowledge in this area will be of particular use to the arboricultural team,” said ADAS principal arboricultural consultant and Ruth’s line manager, Ian Braddock.
Ruth has now worked in arboriculture for nine years, completing her degree at Myerscough College online while already working in consultancy. She also teaches arboriculture at Reaseheath College, Cheshire, UK.
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