A Day in the Life: Arboretum Manager

Ian Chandler, Arboretum Manager at Markshall, shares with us a day in his life, caring for more than 5,000 trees across the 200-acre arboretum.

Starting the day

We start the day at 7.45am, and my first job is looking at my 3 lists! These consist of monthly, weekly, and then daily tasks which have been planned. Depending on the time of year and the weather these tasks could vary quite dramatically.

After a check in with the rest of the team to ensure they are all set for the day ahead I can concentrate on catching up with any emails which have come in overnight or correspondence I didn’t have time to deal with the day before.

After breakfast!

After a quick cuppa and a bite to eat (at the time of writing) I can escape the office to plan a block of tree planting within the Arboretum. During the preceding year I can get a sense of the areas which we can plant into during the winter. From this I can source trees to buy, record them, and place them in a form of ‘quarantine’ within the plant nursery before planting them in their new home in the Arboretum.

Currently we are planting in North America, connecting two blocks of previous plantings. This way the landscape of trees can slowly start taking shape according to the landscape master plan.

Another area of planting taking place is the first introductions into the newly landscaped ‘Himalayan’ region.
As well as the exciting projects like planting, there are always maintenance issues to deal with. Currently plans are in place to raise the level of 60 metres of hard path in the Arboretum which gets very wet. Part of my role is to plan, order and schedule in these types of jobs.

The Himalayas captured by Bryan Shaw


As well as the Arboretum, the 450 acres of woodland we have at Markshall also falls within the scope of my role. The management of these woodlands sometimes involves re-stocking them with new trees. As part of the Woodland improvement scheme, we are a part of we recently had to re-stock one of our woods with hazel coppice. This area of woodland has been protected from browsing animals by a temporary deer fence. This will ensure the hazel whips planted have the best chance of establishment to form a valuable habitat in the future, as well as a source of income for the trust.

There will always be plenty of admin as part of my role and I would say I am split 70% office and 30% ‘hands on’. This does vary, and I do ‘save’ work for rainy days when I can run into the office!!!

Ian, Arboretum Manager pictured with the Wollemi pines, Bryan Shaw

Thank you Ian for showing us a glimpse of your daily routine as an Arboretum Manager at Markshall.

Who would you like to see a day in the life from next?

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