Malmo, Sweden hosted LTOA's first overseas field trip in June. Made up of 15 delegates a mix of both Tree Officers and Associate members.
The first day of the trip was to the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Alnarp, led by Henrik Sjoman, lecturer at SLU and Scientific Curator at Gothenburg Botanic Garden, a man of huge enthusiasm and passion.
The day started with an indoor session where Henrik explained his works followed by a tour of the grounds of the University. The Alnarp landscape laboratory is a site where trees and theories are tested on a 1:1 scale. Trees cannot be considered as just green ‘fluff, we have known for years that trees offer the best eco-system services. We now need further research as to which tree species offer the best eco-system services.
Tree selection is the most important factor above design. If we continue to plant the wrong trees the importance of trees will lose focus. We need carry out research so that we have the confidence to use unfamiliar tree species in our street tree planting rather than sticking with the traditional favourites.
Some of Henrik’s research work has been looking at the tolerance of tree species to drought which he amusingly entitles “shut-up & die”. Along with other research “pimp my woodlands, bling my backyard” looking at the sustainability of woodlands using non-native species. Henrik is firmly of the opinion that in order for woodlands to be sustainable in the future, we need to introduce exotic species, however, before doing so we need to know how they will grow and interact with the woodland.
The afternoon session was a visit to the Chinese Forest and Magnolia Forest planted in the grounds and looking his research plants, grown with support from the Swedish nursery industry looking at species for future planting.
Day two was hosted by Tim Delshammar, Landscape Manager for Malmö City Council, and began with Al Smith, Camden Council Arboricultural Manager delivering a presentation to 30 of Tim’s colleagues from Malmö City Council on policies relating to trees in London and the London Borough of Camden’s Tree Policy. This was followed by Tim outlining the process they are undertaking to introduce a tree policy for Malmö City. It was not surprising to see the similarity between the issues faced in both Sweden and the UK.
The LTOA delegates then took to bikes, thankfully led and flanked by Tim and his colleagues, looking at sites which included the protection of a large beech tree whilst the water table was lowered during the construction of an underground railway station. Planting and re-landscaping of the borders of King’s Park and a major landscaping project at Live Malmö.
Comments from delegates such as “Really informative, interesting and enjoyable” the LTOA are looking to run a similar event next year.