German Tree Care Conference

Review 2016

Augsburg, 29th April 2016

Variety for experts: The German Tree Care Conference 2016

About 50 lectures and practical presentations, a fully booked trade show and 1.450 participants from 17 different countries at the conference – the outcome of this year’s German Tree Care Conference is quite impressive. For the 24th time Europe’s most important tree care event took place in Augsburg from April 26th to April 28th and attracted even experts from Japan, New Zealand, Russia and the USA to come to the city of Fuggers. Main focus of this year’s agenda: alleys and road safety, dieseases and new tree pests. At the same time professionals traditionally met at the trade show for arboriculture and at the Climber’s Forum, where practical arboricultural work was in focus.

Are alleys facing a final end?

The discussion on alleys and road safety has been an explosive issue on the German Tree Care Conference 2016. The first day of the conference attended to this important matter. Five speakers held lectures of 30 minutes with their controversial view: The top priority point for Dr. Detlev Lipphard of the German Council for Roadsafety (Deutscher Verkehrssicherheitsrat) and Mr. Uwe Ellmers of the German Federal Institution for Roads (Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen) was the strict compliance with the guideline for passive protection on roads by guard rails (RPS). The aim has to establish safe roads, even if the driver makes a mistake, by reducing sources of danger. “Regretfully roadside trees are dangerous. In 2014 more than 25 % of all fatalities in traffic in Germany are tree related accidents”, Lippard said. The consequence should be to abdicate planting new trees near roads. New trees should only be planted under observance of brad safety precautions. If accidents mass and safety precautions do not work even old roadside trees will have to be felled.

Katharina Brückmann, consultant for tree and alley protection of the BUND from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Trimpop (Institut for Psychology in Jena) criticized this, in their view, one-sided way of thinking which neither takes into consideration that humans are causing the accidents nor the significance of alleys under aspects of natural and cultural heritage. “Chainsaws and not planting trees cannot be the solution. We have to start on the driver’s side. The risk for accidents could be minimized by stricter speed limits, more traffic supervision, middle-barriers on rural roads and less distraction while driving” Brückmann claims. Prof. Dr. Trimpop too the same line: “Trees rarely jump into the road and cause accidents. It is understandable but unrealistic wishful thinking to eliminate all potential dangers instead of training to handle them with competence”. Dr. Peter Sanftleben, undersecretary of state of the Ministry for Agriculture, Environment and Consumer Protection in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, finally explained that alley protection and road safety are not mutually exclusive. Supported by an alley foundation, alleys in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are cared for and planted. 550 km of new alleys have been created in this way from 1990 to 2014.

In dubio pro arbore: Panel discussion promises change through rapprochement

Following the lectures all speakers and further experts joined for a panel discussion under the direction of Prof. Dr. Dirk Dujesiefken, the organizer of the German Tree Care Conference. The discussion led to an outcome-driven exchange of opinions in which all participants showed their willingness for cooperation. There was mutual consent that felling of trees can only be the ultima ratio, but that road safety and protection measures are of big importance as well. Katharina Brückmann and FLL-CEO Jürgen Rohrbach empathically asked for a revision of the RPS as soon as possible with inclusion of green NGOs and ethologists. „Maybe the RPS does not adequately consider trees“, Uwe Ellmers admitted.

Focus on tree diseases

The reason for tree diseases, prevention and treatment were the main topic of the lectures of the second day of the German Tree Care Conference in Augsburg. Experts held lectures on Ash Dieback, Horse chestnut disease and fighting the Asian Long-horned Beetle and other topics. Prof. Dr. Rolf Kehr of the HAWK Göttingen took a special look at practical tree care. On the basis of different types of diseases and examples he discussed the possibilities and limits of disinfection and specified in which cases disinfection of cutting and working tools is recommended.

Two decades of Tree Care: The Yearbook celebrates its anniversary

For 20 years now the Yearbook of Arboriculture (Jahrbuch der Baumpflege) unites all lectures of the German Tree Care Conference. This created a reference book for experts with more than 600 articles in 20 volumes. “20 years of Yearbooks mean two decades of documentation with all main topics that move arboriculture”, said Prof. Dr. Dirk Dujesiefken, editor of the yearbook. This year’s anniversary issue is dedicated to the well-known tree pathologist Prof. Dr. Heinz Butin, who has been researching, teaching and publishing in the field of tree diseases for more than 60 years now. Prof. Butin especially came to Augsburg to personally receive his copy of the yearbook. “Every year this book unites the latest expertise of tree pathology and other special fields. Its encyclopedic character makes it very valuable for arboriculture. I often use the yearbooks as a source for my own publications”, Butin said.

Wide spread competence: The professional partners LWF and KWF

With the Bavarian Regional Office for Forest and Forestry (Bayerische Landesanstalt für Wald und Forstwirtschaft / LWF) and the Curatorship for Forestry Work and Techniques (Kuratorium für Waldarbeit und Forsttechnik / KWF) the German Tree Care Conference again had two strong professional partners this year. At the LWF booth visitors had the opportunity to see tree vermin through a microscope, examine exhibits of the Asian Long-horned Beetle and study the characteristics of its infestation on wood samples. At the booth the exposed wood destroying fungi attracted great attention. The KWF informed about their four different seals of approval and presented products for arboriculture which are tested by the curatorship regarding safety, fitness for the purpose envisaged, environmental protection and health tolerance.

International and multisided: The Climbers Forum

In 2016 the Climbers Forum again has been the spot on the Augsburg Messe area for a custom-made program for treeworkers. The organizers made a point at a well-balanced proportion between lectures and practical presentations. For the first time there were as many lectures as practical presentations which in combination showed all facets of professional treework.

The next German Tree Care Conference will take place from 25th to 27th April 2017 in Augsburg. For information on the Conference please visit


Pic. 1:
The tree pathologist Prof. Dr. Heinz Butin had come to the German Tree Care Conference in Augsburg to receive the anniversary issue of the Yearbook of Arboriculture dedicated to him. From left to right: Prof. Dr. Dirk Dujesiefken, Prof. Dr. Rolf Kehr, Prof. Dr. Heinz Butin, Dr. Bärbel Schöber-Butin, Dr. Jörg Schumacher und Prof. Dr. Ottmar Holdenrieder.
Photo: Kottich

Pic. 2:
Representatives of different special fields and positions drew nearer during a panel discussion on alleys and road safety.
Photo: Kottich

Pic. 3:
At the booth of the LWF the mycologist Alexandra Nanning showed wood destroying funghi.
Photo: Kottich

Pic. 4:
Practical presentations from practitioner to practitioner were presented for the treeworkers in the Climbers Forum.
Photo: Kottich