• DGT events are cancelled until further notice. We wish all members well during the current COVID-19 circumstances.
Devon Gardens Trust is devoted to the preservation and enhancement of gardens in the UK county of Devon

Tree Register

For many years the Devon Gardens Trust has run a successful programme of garden recording, in which overall garden features such as design, planting and history are assessed. The Trust became aware of the need to record and look more closely at trees in gardens and other localities, an awareness which coincided with a burgeoning interest in veteran trees by other organisations.

Tree at Killerton House

The early development of a DGT Tree Register was given a fillip when the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, put out widely a request for information about the occurrence of mature trees of Cedar of Lebanon, Cedrus libani, with the objective of identifying trees introduced into this country early in the 18th Century, trees of known provenance, without hybridisation. In consequence, the Trust ran a programme "Cedar Search" throughout Devon, asking for information, to which many garden owners responded.

The DGT Tree Register embraces 'significant' trees, which may be large (height and/or girth), unusual garden species, have an historical association, or form a distinctive component of the landscape. With these parameters our interests differ from other organisations which are often largely concerned with veteran trees. We aim to fill a gap between publicly funded bodies, such as local authorities and other organisations, such as Wild Life Trusts.

Information is acquired by volunteers, Tree Recorders, who visit gardens at the invitation of garden owners. They record the salient features of interesting trees, girth, height, canopy size, reproductive characters, and general well being. Trees are photographed. Young trees are also recorded, the information contributing to growth rates in relation to environmental conditions. 

Measuring circumference Measuring circumference with tape Completing measurement

Measuring the circumference of a tree;
the position of the tape.
Figure on the left is negotiating tree roots.

 Measuring the circumference of an old
tree where a small wedge can be attached
without damage to the bark.
 Completing measurement of the
Measuring distance with wheel Checking for fungus Examining a branch.
Recorder with measuring wheel to
measure distance between subject
tree and Recorder determining height.
 Examining the base of a tree for fungi 
and recording observations.
 Examining tree branch, recording state of

The information obtained is added to a DGT database from which facts may be selected and extracted on request. The DGT Tree Register give a picture of garden trees in Devon from the start of the 21st century; it will have value in future research, especially in view of projected climate change. Our records are confidential, divulged only with permission from the garden owner.

Garden owners are generally proud of their trees; Recorders are made welcome and frequently visit beautiful gardens not open to the public. The work of the Tree Recorders is voluntary. Expenses are paid by the Trust. Recorders are trained in techniques of measurement and recording.

Relascope Measuring tree height Recorders comparing notes
Measuring tree height using a relascope. Measuring tree height using a Suunto clinometer. Recorders comparing field notes.


The Trust wishes to involve the public more widely in its activities, either as Recorders, or as Spotters telling us about the location of interesting trees. Where a tree is in a private garden, and not clearly visible from a road, permission must be sought from the owner, to forward information.

We welcome help and support from the public. Membership of the Trust is not a prerequisite to act as a Recorder or a Spotter.

A moment of relaxation for the Recorders
A moment of relaxation for the Recorders.


Tree identification

It is beyond the scope of this website to maintain a full and accurate key for the identification of all tree species and varieties found in the UK, or even in the County of Devon.  There are some excellent resources - books and websites - for amateur naturalists and professional arborists alike.  Some of these are included below.  

Books and specialist book sellers

Treesource - a specialist online bookshop supporting professional arborists.


W. J. Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles - The International Dendrology Society has released an online edition of this classic multi-volume work which was first published in 1914

Woodland Trust - Tree Guide

SAPS (a Cambridge University site) - Key for identifying British Trees and Shrubs

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens - Trees at Kew identification guide

Natural History Museum - Tree Identification Key

Forestry Commission - Ash Tree Identification

Woodlands.co.uk - Tree identification Guide 


We are also indebted to Mrs Kim Goodwin and her young team of tree spotters from the W.B. Goodwin Community Center in Springfield, Pennsylvania (USA) for bringing the following Tree Identification Resource to our attention: US Trees.  Trees are wonderful living objects that we should all know more about - whether we are 9 years old or 90 - and where ever we live in the World.  Thank you for sharing this information.