BOOK REVIEW of Urban trees


BOOK REVIEW of Urban trees – A practical management guide

In Arboricultural Journal: The International Journal of Urban Forestry – 2012, 1–2, iFirst article

Urban trees – A practical management guide, by Steve Cox, Wiltshire, The Crowood Press, 2011, 176 pp., £19.99 (hardback), ISBN: 978-1-847-97298-9

I suppose that I am in a very privileged position where I can go to the college library and have easy access to virtually any book, research note, journal or indeed e-book written on arboriculture and if we don’t have it on the shelves I could order it, if it would be of benefit to students.

So would I recommend adding this book to our comprehensive collection?

Steve Cox, obviously an experienced arborist, has written a pretty much “all inclusive” book on urban tree management, incorporating his experiences with current research documentation from Europe and the USA; a mean feat on its own given the plethora of information available to the industry in all manner of forms.

The book is logically written starting with the science of trees and their benefits moving on to an extremely interesting chapter on the development of towns and suburban expansion, even including a few paragraphs on the development of roads and tarmac. The ensuing chapters follow a well-trodden path of – tree requirements – planning for trees – successful planting and establishment – pruning and maintenance then onto monitoring and inspection parts of which is a timely update of Trees in the urban landscape by Bradshaw, Hunt, and Walmsley, to which reference is given. The book moves on to discuss the management of trees in specific places both in the public and private realms including, probably for the first time in print, advice on the management of trees in cemeteries, churchyards and zoos. The book has a short dedicated chapter on the legal principles and instruments affecting trees within urban situations where the author summarises both the common and statute laws that homeowners and practitioners may come across on a regular basis.

In the final chapter the author summarises his views on the future of towns and cities with regard to the importance that trees play in the urban landscape; touching on the possible effects of climate change, ecology and government policies – albeit without getting too personal – which is sometimes difficult when one has a biased opinion. So would this book adorn the shelves of Merrist Wood College library?

This is a book, and as a book needs to be read in order to glean information, consequently it will only appeal to those who have time to read. In a world of instant information seekers, books are sadly second choice over the internet for technical information; hence it may have limited appeal, although I thoroughly enjoyed the read over the holiday period. It is certainly well written with good illustrations and photographs throughout; it is also well referenced should further reading be necessary. I would certainly recommend it to students on academic levels 3–6 as it covers a huge proportion of the arboricultural syllabus.

So the book fits nicely on the shelf.

However, I do wonder on the target audience beyond colleges: will it appeal to local government tree officers? . . . maybe, consultants? . . . maybe, contractors? again maybe, so therefore, possibly restricting the audience to those only who have aspirations in becoming a local authority tree officer.

Andy Pinder
Merrist Wood College, Guildford
q 2012, Andy Pinder


Article written by Steve Cox on September 24, 2012