Report Writing Online Series

Writing Arborist Reports (WAR)

To register your expression of interest in this online series, email Peter Gray

If you are a consulting arborist or work with tree management for a statutory body, you are writing reports. The purpose of a report is to communicate with the intended readers in a manner that is easily understood. Equally important is that the content needs to be technically accurate and up-to-date.

A good report is more than sentences and paragraphs. It is a crafted document that entices the intended audience to read. It challenges and informs readers and imbues confidence by citing relevant research that is supported by references. It improves readability by telling a story in a logical sequence, following a technical process.

Writing of this nature is not natural. It is a learned skill that is honed over time. Like any skill, you can become its master by reviewing what you have done, learning from your errors and improving what you do. However, a faster and less painful way is to learn from the failures and successes of others.

If we are not meeting with fellow professionals to look at and review our skills, then we are losing valuable opportunities and doing ourselves and our profession a disservice. We need to be continually sharpening and honing our skills because we are in a battle. We are in a struggle to communicate when our readers are increasingly bombarded with information. We are in a fight with ourselves to become better at writing reports. We are at war and we are the enemy.

While clear communication is critical, the content also needs to be technically accurate and up-to-date. It’s easy to do things the way we have always done them. It is comfortable to stay with what we have learned in the past rather than regularly stretching our technical knowledge. We all appreciate it is uncomfortable to have our technical information reviewed and challenged, but only from this process will we win the war against ignorance, arrogance, and complacency and reap the victory of excellent and meaningful report writing.

If you write reports and think that they could be improved, then join the WAR. If you write great reports and have technically advanced information, join the WAR and brush up your skills. Regardless of your skill and knowledge level, WAR needs you.


WAR is an online series for arborists of all levels. During each video link-up, we will look at reports, discuss problems and look for ideas and solutions. By looking at extracts from reports, we will see where the WAR team and others have made mistakes1. We will make suggestions and encourage innovation and discussion.

There are few rules with WAR, but those that we have are critical to your ongoing participation.

  1. We are all on the same team fighting the same problems, so treat others with respect.
  2. Accept that we all make mistakes, and we are all here to learn.
  3. The moderator will have the final say, and any request made by the moderator shall be followed.
  4. Intellectual property rights must be followed. Take inspiration but don’t break the law
  5. Have an open mind and be prepared to be challenged.


1 Unless the writer gives consent to being identified, we will make all efforts to conceal the writer's identity


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