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Peter Butler

Senior Horticulturist, Arboriculture

As Senior Arborist, Peter manages Centennial Parklands’ diverse and extensive tree collection over three parks: Centennial Park, Queen’s Park and Moore Park. This involves carrying out periodic tree inspections to assess the entire tree population, consisting of over 15,000 trees so he can keep up to date with the everchanging, living asset.

As a tree specialist, Peter works to implement tree sensitive solutions for many projects, necessary improvements and endeavour to educate people about trees and the best ways to manage them in a complex urban environment.

If a specialist tree enquiry is made, no matter what the context, Peter is always eager to accommodate and share his knowledge and experience. This part of his job is one which delivers him great satisfaction as it enables him to actively share his passion about trees and assist people in providing information and solutions as a modern arborist.

Tree maintenance can range from tree planting, to the various types of tree pruning and even complex tree removals. Much of his daily work involves loud machinery such as chainsaws and wood chippers that are used to recycle our pruning material into mulch.

However, it is much of the inconspicuous and unostentatious work he performs, by use of a watering can, secateurs, a mulch fork or just his honed skills of observation that have the most lingering and substantial effect on the trees.

Accessing a tree’s canopy is a particularly technical task, but he is professionally trained and skilled in tree climbing, which is undoubtably one of the most enjoyable and grounding, albeit challenging, part of an arborist’s skillset.

Tree removals, although a very sad part of his job is necessary in safely managing a highly utilised environment such as Centennial Parklands.

Trees at Centennial Parklands are never removed lightly but are done so year-round before they enter their mortality spiral, where they may begin to shed branches, become problematic or stop providing many of the benefits we enjoy. Due to the nature of risk-based prioritising and the sheer volume of trees we manage, coordinating these removals or even carrying them out is a regular part of his job.

The process of repopulating and planting trees in succession of our ageing tree population is definitely one of the most rewarding parts of the job. He is involved with all parts of the tree planting process, from the decision making and using the  Tree Master Plan to select new tree locations and select appropriate species.

Growing trees is a relatively long process, in which a great deal of planning and patience is involved, including their propagation, selection and initial sourcing of the plant material, to the planting and establishment of the young trees in their new home. These trees can spend years growing in a specialist tree nursery to a suitable size before they’re ready to cope as a free-standing Parkland tree.

In the media

Blue Print for Living: The life cycle of trees
ABC: The best spots to admire Sydney's purple sea of jacaranda trees
Daily Mail: Residents stumped after finding trees blanketed in 'putrid smelling' substance