ALL ABOUT ARBORISTS - THE TOP TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
If you have a passion for trees or you grow trees, I guess that you’ve come across the term arborist. Arborists are tree specialists who have a deep knowledge of trees, their species, and their needs. They have a wide range of responsibilities, from pruning to planting new trees.
Arborists can work in just about every industry — from urban forestry to forestry and landscaping. If you consider hiring an arborist to take care of your tree, you should know a little bit about what they do and how they do it.
In this post, we’ll discuss the top things you need to know about arborists, including the types of arborists, their qualifications, and what they do.
Let’s get started with the top ten things you need to know about arborists.
1. Arborists Are Trained Professionals
Arborists are trained professionals who have studied the science of trees and how they grow, live, and die. They have learned how to identify different species of trees, recognize diseases and pests that affect them, and prune them correctly.
In addition, they know how to plant trees correctly, protect them from environmental hazards like pollution, and keep them safe from harm caused by humans through activities such as construction work or lawn mowing.
To become an arborist, you must first have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university. Many arborists complete a bachelor’s degree in forestry or horticulture, which usually takes four years.
In this video, Emmett Shutts, an arborist trainer from Davey Tree Experts discusses what an arborist is, how you can become an arborist and much more.
Students should also take courses in biology and chemistry if they wish to pursue other careers besides arboriculture after graduation. After completing their undergraduate degrees, aspiring arborists must earn at least one year of postgraduate education to be eligible to sit for the Board Certified Master Arborist (BCMA) exam administered by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). This exam tests knowledge in four areas:
- Tree biology
- Tree management
- Safety practices
- Business management
There are many different types of arborists. They include:
Urban foresters are responsible for managing urban tree populations, including managing the planting and removal of trees in public spaces. They may also help establish community forestry programs like involving residents in caring for urban forests.
Tree surgeons focus on pruning and maintaining trees by removing dead branches or limbs that pose a safety hazard or interfere with power lines or other utilities. Tree surgeons often use climbing gear and chain saws to do their jobs safely and efficiently.
Landscape architects plan and design outdoor spaces, including parks and gardens, golf courses, and playgrounds. They also supervise workers who plant trees or remove dead ones from these areas, so they look good year-round.
Trimmings trees can include removing dead or diseased branches, pruning branches to allow light to reach the center of the tree, and removing branches that interfere with power lines. This job is also known as “lollipop trimming” because it leaves a round shape at the top of the tree.
Shapers use saws and other tools to shape trees into various styles and sizes. Some popular shapes include weeping willow, umbrella, and ball-shaped trees.
Climbers use ropes, spikes, or nets to climb high into trees to perform maintenance work such as pruning or spraying pesticides on the foliage. They may also use ropes to rappel down from their perch in case of an emergency situation such as a storm or fire.
Below you can check out a great video from Stihl illustrating a day in the life of an arborist.
2. Arborists Are Licensed
Tree care professionals who want to work on your property need to pass a test and receive certification from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). This is the highest level of certification awarded.
To become a certified arborist, you must pass four exams: Tree Climbing, Tree Anatomy, Tree Identification, and Tree Protection. There are also three optional specialty exams that can be taken in addition to the primary four.
These include Plant Health Management, Pruning Principles and Practices, and Small Business Management. This ensures they have the knowledge and skills to safely and effectively prune, trim and diagnose problems with your trees.
To become an arborist in New England, you must receive training from a qualified instructor. Like in most states, New England requires you to take an approved course and pass an exam before they issue you a license. Here are some of the most common certifications:
Certified Arborist (CA)
This certification requires passing two exams: general knowledge about trees and technical knowledge of tree care practices, including safety procedures and equipment use. You may also be required to do biology, botany, and horticulture courses before taking the exams.
Certified Tree Care Specialist (CTS)
With this certification, you’ll learn how to identify different species of trees and shrubs; use basic tools safely; prune correctly; fertilize properly; perform tree risk assessments; diagnose diseases; use pesticides safely; climb safely using ropes; anchor yourself securely on ropes when working at heights above ground level; communicate with clients effectively; conduct inspections by climbing into the canopy of trees with ropes or sitting platforms to inspect crowns, roots or structural integrity of trunks or branches; and maintain proper records for each client’s property.
Certified Master Arborist (CMA)
The CMA designation is one of ISA’s highest levels of certification. It requires five years of experience or two years of working experience and completing two additional courses — one focusing on urban forestry and one on management practices. In addition, you’ll be required to pass all previous exams plus an oral exam with questions from each section of the study materials
Certified Tree Worker (CTW)
This certification is less rigorous than becoming a CA, but it still requires 20 hours of continuing education each year and passing an exam on basic tree care principles.
3. Arborists Are Experts in Pruning Trees
Arborists are trained to prune trees to allow them to grow and flourish while still being able to reach their full potential. They know how much sun different species need and where they should be planted so they can thrive.
This is something that most people do not understand, so it is imperative for anyone who owns or cares for trees or other plants to hire professional arborists whenever possible.
4. Arborists have an insurance policy that covers them while they’re on the job
The policy covers medical expenses if an accident occurs while treating a client’s tree or shrub. It also protects against personal liability claims arising from an accident on the job site. This coverage is available through a professional association such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) or an insurance company.
5. Arborists use specialized equipment and tools
Arborists have more advanced equipment and tools than other tree service companies. They use chainsaws that run on gasoline, battery-operated saws, ropes and pulleys, rigging equipment, and other specialized gear.
They also have safety equipment such as hard hats, gloves, and chaps. Arborists should be trained to safely use all of this equipment, so they don’t hurt themselves or others while working on your property.
6. Arborists are tree experts
They have the knowledge, training, and tools to care for your trees. They specialize in diagnosing problems and treating them using a variety of treatments and techniques. They can also help you plan the best way to maintain trees and keep them healthy.
Arborists are specially trained to diagnose plant health problems by looking at leaves, bark, branches, and other tree parts. A certified arborist has experience in diagnosing problems like insects, disease, or poor watering habits.
If you’d like to meet an arborist, check out this profile of a professional arborist by the National Association of Landscape Professionals.
7. Arborists can work for private property owners or public agencies such as parks departments or municipalities
Homeowners, businesses, and developers typically employ arborists working for private property owners. Those working in public agencies generally work for city or county government.
8. Arborists can help you maintain your lawn too!
While many people think of arborists as only working with trees, these professionals also attend to shrubs, vines, bushes and other plants that grow in the ground (lawns). They can help you maintain healthy lawns by mowing and feeding them properly and suggesting ideas for improving their appearance, such as adding mulch or even laying artificial turf if necessary.
9. Arborists perform both preventative and corrective maintenance on trees
It’s important to know the difference between these two types of tree care so you can make an informed decision about the arborist you want to hire. Preventative maintenance is designed to keep trees healthy and growing strong.
On the other hand, corrective maintenance is performed when a tree is already sick or damaged, usually due to disease or weather-related factors like storm winds and hail storms.
10. Arborists are not just tree doctors!
Arborists do not just work with trees; they also work with shrubs, vines, bushes, and other plants that grow in the ground (lawns). This means that you can hire an arborist to do much more than just prune your trees!
In addition to pruning, some arborists specialize in treating diseases or insect infestations on their clients’ trees. Other arborists offer services such as fertilization or pest control for both trees and shrubs.
Final thoughts about arborists
Arborists go through rigorous training and licensing to practice their field of expertise. They are highly skilled professionals who work hard every day to educate the public on tree care. If a tree needs pruning, they are the experts that can determine what needs to be done, when it needs to happen, and how it will be done. Make sure you have someone who is properly trained to climb your trees when the time comes for this service.