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Arboricultural consulting Veteran trees

Definition of a veteran tree

A veteran tree can be defined as ‘a tree that is of interest biologically, culturally or aesthetically because of its age, size or condition’ (Ancient Tree Forum). They are extremely vulnerable to changes in the environment around them; sensitive management is therefore essential. We can provide assessments of veteran trees following the ‘Specialist Survey Method’ and provide detailed reporting on the appropriate management required to ensure they continue their important contribution to the environment for as long as possible.

Importance of veteran trees

Britain has the largest number of veteran trees in Europe. They provide habitat for many rare species of invertebrates (particularly beetles), bryophytes (mosses, liverworts etc), lichens and fungi.


Many veterans are former pollards which are a reminder of our cultural past. Pollards were ‘working trees’, harvested like coppice stools but above the reach of browsing mammals. The harvested material was used for firewood, building materials and animal fodder.

Management techniques for veteran trees

There are a number of techniques that can be employed to properly care for populations of veteran trees. These include:

Veteran trees

Other types of veteran trees

As well as pollards there are several other forms of veteran represented in the UK. These include: