The Tree Course

The unique 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.

Davidia involucrata

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, labeling 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

Please note that the academic year 2020-2021 has been moved back to September 2021 and will begin then. Please see the statement on the academic year for all courses and tours due to start in September 2020 for further details.

Postponed dates

Postponed dates missed from the academic year 2019-2020 will now be caught up on the following days:

  • Wednesday 17th March 2021
  • Wednesday 14th April
  • Wednesday 12th May and
  • Wednesday 16th June

Academic Year 2021-2022

Please note this course will now be run on a Thursday.

  • Thursday 9th September 2021
  • Thursday 7th October
  • Thursday 11th November
  • Thursday 9th December
  • Thursday 13th January 2022
  • Thursday 10th February
  • Thursday 10th March
  • Thursday 7th April
  • Thursday 12th May and
  • Thursday 9th 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 £1595.00 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 £100.00 together with the completed Plant School course application form.

Application Form

The application form for joining this course can be downloaded by clicking on the following link. Please complete the form and return it either by email or post.

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