A specialist tree safety firm in Warwickshire has invested £1 million in state-of-the-art machinery to counter the rising threat of ash dieback across the UK. 

PB Forestry and Landscaping, based in Flecknoe, near Rugby, has acquired the Sennebogen 718e and is believed to be the only company in the region to operate it. 

The bespoke German-made kit allows the firm to cut and remove trees more efficiently, safely and quickly, and has been acquired in response to growing concerns over ash dieback.

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Also known as Chalara, the tree disease was first identified in England in 2012 and is now affecting swathes of woodlands, where it is predicted to kill up to 80 per cent of the UK’s ash trees.

The company has further expanded its equipment line with Bandit 20XP and Kesla C645T2 chippers, enabling arisings to be efficiently processed and extracted.

Forestry Journal: The Sennebogen 718e in use by PB Forestry and Landscaping to remove diseased ash trees at Rough Hill Woods near StudleyThe Sennebogen 718e in use by PB Forestry and Landscaping to remove diseased ash trees at Rough Hill Woods near Studley (Image: Supplied)

Managing director Philip Bett said: “Diseased trees possess a high risk of collapse, not only posing a risk to public safety, but also to tree surgeons using the traditional rope methods, MEWPs and chainsaws.

“The Forest Industry Safety Accord has said it is essential that every effort is made to fell diseased ash trees mechanically and to keep any chainsaw operations to an absolute minimum.

“The Sennebogen 718e has been identified as the safest solution to do this, both for our clients, workforce, and the public. 

“Although we’re getting a lot of enquiries around this, the threat has perhaps not fully dawned on local authorities and landowners yet, and particularly around identifying, assessing and managing ash dieback.

“We have an impressive range of state-of-the-art machinery that can tackle any job – whatever the size or terrain – and this latest investment bolsters our ability to carry out tree safety work including ash dieback in the safest and most efficient way possible.”

The Sennebogen 718e offers specialist tree handling with options of a grapple saw, tree shear, and mulching head, giving a complete range of tree clearance, tree safety, and vegetation clearance capabilities. 

While it is capable of cutting at a reach height of 13 metres thanks to its telescopic boom, its four-wheeled operation allows it to be legally driven on roads, and it is easily transported greater distances on a low-loader. 

The machine’s capabilities were recently tested when PB Forestry and Landscaping had to safely clear the woodland frontage of diseased ash trees at Rough Hill Woods near Studley on behalf of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

Bett added: “This was potentially a challenging roadside job using traditional methods, but the Sennebogen enabled us to carry out the works safely over a five-day period, deploying traffic management systems to operate with a single lane closure to minimise disruption.”

Formed in 2011 and ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001 certified, PB Forestry and Landscaping operates an online compliance management system allowing their technicians to access bespoke job risk assessments and information on site. The system captures plant checks, document signatures, photos and task data allowing live management of compliance and safety.

In addition to tree safety work including ash dieback, PB Forestry and Landscaping provides specialist large-scale commercial tree and vegetation clearance, fencing, grounds maintenance and plantation services.