When you see tree arborists hard at work, you may wonder what it is they do. Aside from swinging chainsaws and climbing trees, of course.
Arborists are environmentalists and conservationists (and huge tree nerds, obviously). They study things like health, growth and disease in trees, shrubs and vines and advise on how to best care for them. Think of tree arborists like your very own tree service technician or family tree doctor, although we prefer the term “Supertreero” since you’re asking.
What Tree Arborists Actually Do
If you’re in school and interested in becoming a professional arborist then focus on subjects such as forestry, ecology, biology or arboriculture.
Having adjacent experience is also helpful for getting into the industry. Look to develop skills in planting, landscaping or even urban planning.
It is also possible to join this field without relevant experience, and work your way up. You’d start as a grounds person and work under a supervisor who will show you the ropes. Over time you may also have the opportunity to take courses such as tree climbing to increase your skill set.
Working as an arborist requires you to be physically fit as this can be a demanding job, what with all the working outdoors, using large equipment and dealing with everything from stubborn stumps to spindly limbs.
Depending on where in the world you end up working, and the area of arboriculture you specialize in, you could spend your time doing a number of different things as a professional arborist.
For example, if you live in a sprawling urban setting then you’ll likely work with your local city council or individual homeowners advising on best practices such as fertilizing, pest control, planting, pruning and tree removal.
If you live and work in a more forested or rural area, you may upgrade your skills to become a utility arborist where you focus on removing dangerous trees from power lines and accessing trees after storms to determine risk.
Tree arborists work in all weather and all seasons. They help prevent issues and also get called out to deal with emergency situations, such as when trees come down across roads or onto structures.
Here are just a few of the types of positions you could work in as a tree arborist.
This is where most people start their careers. In this position you work with a crew to assist with pruning and tree removal and operate a range of machinery including wood chippers, trimmers and chainsaws.
When you work as a climber you’re required to do everything from deadwood removal and branch weight reduction to crown raising/thinning/reduction and tree removal using rigging systems.
This is a less physical job but no less important. Tree consultants focus on individual trees and make recommendations based on health and risk assessments. This may be for insurance purposes, or because a homeowner or business owner isn’t sure if a particular tree should be removed or not.
Plant Healthcare Technician
In this role, you’re the person everyone sends photos to asking, “what’s this plant?” You’re the resident expert of all things flora in your zone and consult on plant health. You’ll work with companies, organizations and individuals with the goal of keeping urban environments healthy by identifying and dealing with issues and problems.
If you love trees and want to learn more about tree arborists, let us know by sending us a note. We’re always happy to offer advice and direction for Supertreeroes in training.