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The Tree Course

The Tree Course is the second core educational course for The Plant School. The lecturers are Tony Kirkham, Head of The Arboretum, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and  John Anderson, Head of The Savill and Valley Gardens, Windsor. Glynn Percival lectures on pests and diseases and Rosemary Campbell-Preston lectures on tree naming and classification.

This unique course introduces the student to a deeper understanding of trees. It runs one day a month and is aimed at enthusiasts who are committed to learning more about trees. It is based in Central London with lectures and exclusive visits at The Savill and Valley Gardens and at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The Syllabus

The course covers the following subjects over a total of 10 days.

  • Tree definition, biology, forest communities, taxonomy and classification

  • Native and non-native trees, species distribution and veteran trees

  • Tree introductions, arboreta, champion trees and national collections

  • Garden and landscape use of trees

  • Propagation methods, growing on, training and formative pruning

  • Tree planting, establishment and aftercare, labelling and databases

  • Care and maintenance of mature trees, tree inspection and risk assessment

  • Pests and diseases, trees in the future 

There is a set project which runs during the course. This is on a specific topic related to trees and should take up one further day per month. It is assessed and marked. In addition there are a series of eight homeworks designed to extend the range and understanding of topics covered during the course. These are assessed and marked and contribute towards the final course marks. They are expected to take between ½ to 1 day each.

Course Dates

Remaining dates in academic Year 2023-2024

  • Wednesday 13th March

  • Wednesday 17th April

  • Wednesday 15th May

  • Wednesday 12th June


Academic Year 2024-2025 - *APPLICATION INTAKE NOW OPEN*

  • Wednesday 18th September 2024

  • Wednesday 16th October 

  • Wednesday 13th November 

  • Wednesday 11th December 

  • Wednesday 15th January 2025

  • Wednesday 12th February 

  • Wednesday 12th March 

  • Wednesday 16th April 

  • Wednesday 14th May 

  • Wednesday 11th June 


This is one of two certificate courses run by the The Plant School. Students who complete the coursework to a satisfactory standard will be considered for the certificate at the end of the course.

Course Fees

The fees for the course are £1595 and are payable in full before the beginning of the autumn term. A place is confirmed on the course by sending a non-refundable deposit for £100 together with the completed application form.


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