An introduction to the Visual Tree Assessment Method
A valuable tool for a wide range of professionals with an interest in tree safety and retention
With ever-increasing urban sprawl, there is a greater demand for the retention of green-space within built-up areas. This green-space serves numerous purposes including improved visual amenity and shade quality, provision of habitat for native flora, cultural/historical significance and the establishment of visual and sonic barriers. However it also brings many challenges, one of the most significant of which is that of tree safety and issues related to public liability and personal injury.
The proposed session is best suited to a workshop-type environment and will present the Visual Tree Assessment (VTA) method. Based on a theory known as "The Axiom of Uniform Stress", the VTA system is concerned with analysing easily-identifiable visual symptoms to spot potential structural instabilities within trees. It also shows how to differentiate between minor defects and those in need of treatment, be it minor pruning or the removal of the entire tree. As well as covering the basics of the VTA system (large emphasis on presenting visual images), the session will also give an introduction to the topic of tree retention in the urban environment.
The VTA system is simple and practical and does not require an in-depth knowledge of arboriculture or tree mechanics, and as such would be of interest to arborists, landscapers, environmental consultants, horticultural superintendents and grounds maintenance staff alike. I believe that it relates to the question of balancing the needs of urban production with the maintenance of environmental integrity, as well as the role of vegetation in the Australian landscape.