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What is an Arborist? What Does a (Certified) Arborist Do? Should Every Tree Problem Need an Arborist?

What is an arborist? What does a (certified) arborist do? Should every tree problem need an arborist? Click here to learn more

Trees are super important for our environment. They give us shade, oxygen, and they make everything look nice. But keeping trees healthy and safe in cities and suburbs is tricky and needs special knowledge.

That’s where certified arborists come in – they’re pros at this stuff. Knowing when to call them can help keep your trees in great shape and deal with any issues. This article looks at what certified arborists do, the services they offer, and when to call them instead of trying simpler solutions.

What is an Arborist?

An arborist, also known as a tree surgeon or arboriculturist, is a professional who specializes in the cultivation, management, and study of individual trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennial woody plants. Arborists focus on the health and safety of trees and plants rather than managing forests or harvesting wood. Their work often includes:

  • Pruning trees to maintain or improve their health, appearance, and safety
  • Removing diseased, dying, or dangerous trees
  • Planting and transplanting trees
  • Diagnosing and treating tree diseases and pests
  • Providing advice on tree care and maintenance
  • Assessing tree risks and hazards

Arborists typically have specialized knowledge and training in tree biology, identification, and the best practices for tree care and maintenance. They often work for landscaping companies, municipalities, or as independent contractors.

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What is a Certified Arborist?

A certified arborist is a professional who has gained a recognized certification from a professional organization that sets standards for tree care. The most widely recognized certification is from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). To become a certified arborist through the ISA, individuals must:

  1. Meet Eligibility Requirements: This typically involves a combination of education and practical work experience in arboriculture. For example, candidates may need to have several years of experience working in the field or a relevant degree.
  2. Pass an Examination: Candidates must pass a comprehensive exam that covers a broad range of topics related to tree care, including tree biology, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, tree risk management, soil management, tree planting, pruning, and safety.
  3. Continuing Education: To maintain their certification, arborists must participate in ongoing education to stay current with the latest practices and research in the field. This ensures that certified arborists continue to provide high-quality care based on the latest knowledge and techniques.

Certification demonstrates that an arborist has a high level of knowledge and expertise in tree care, providing clients with confidence in their abilities. Certified arborists are often sought after for their expertise in maintaining and preserving trees in urban and suburban environments.

What Does a (Certified) Arborist Do?

A certified arborist performs a wide range of tasks related to the care and management of trees and other woody plants. Their work can be broadly categorized into several areas:

Tree Health and Maintenance

  • Pruning and Trimming: Removing dead, damaged, or diseased branches to improve tree health and safety.
  • Fertilization: Applying nutrients to trees to promote healthy growth.
  • Pest and Disease Management: Diagnosing and treating tree diseases and infestations.
  • Tree Planting and Transplanting: Selecting appropriate tree species for specific locations and ensuring proper planting techniques.
Gardener pruning a cypress on a crane. Seasonal trees maintenance

Tree Risk Assessment

  • Tree Inspection: Evaluating trees for structural integrity and potential hazards.
  • Risk Management: Providing recommendations for reducing tree-related risks, such as cabling and bracing weak branches.

Tree Removal and Preservation

  • Tree Removal: Safely removing dead, dying, or hazardous trees.
  • Stump Grinding: Removing tree stumps after tree removal.
  • Tree Preservation: Implementing measures to protect trees during construction or other activities that could cause damage.

Consultation and Planning

  • Site Assessment: Evaluating sites for suitability for specific tree species.
  • Landscape Planning: Assisting with the design and planning of landscapes that include trees and other plants.
  • Legal and Environmental Advice: Providing guidance on local regulations, tree protection laws, and environmental considerations.

Education and Advocacy

  • Community Education: Educating the public about the benefits of trees and proper tree care.
  • Advocacy: Promoting the importance of trees in urban and suburban environments and advocating for policies that support tree conservation and planting.

Safety and Compliance

  • Safety Practices: Ensuring that all tree care activities are conducted safely to protect both workers and the public.
  • Compliance: Adhering to industry standards and best practices, as well as local regulations and ordinances.

Certified arborists use their expertise to ensure that trees are healthy, safe, and well-maintained, contributing to the overall health and aesthetics of the environment.

Should Every Tree Problem Need an Arborist?

Not every tree problem necessarily requires the expertise of a certified arborist, but there are many situations where consulting one is highly recommended. Here’s a breakdown of when an arborist should be involved and when other solutions might suffice:

When to Consult an Arborist

  1. Disease Diagnosis and Treatment: If a tree shows signs of disease or pest infestation, a certified arborist can accurately diagnose the issue and recommend appropriate treatments.
  2. Structural Issues: For trees with significant structural damage or those posing a safety risk due to broken or weak branches, an arborist can assess and mitigate these risks.
  3. Tree Pruning: For large trees or when precise pruning is required to maintain the tree’s health and shape, an arborist’s expertise ensures proper technique and safety.
  4. Tree Removal: When a tree needs to be removed due to disease, death, or posing a danger, an arborist ensures the removal is done safely and efficiently.
  5. Site and Soil Assessment: For planting new trees, an arborist can assess site conditions and recommend suitable species and planting techniques.
  6. Legal and Environmental Compliance: When dealing with trees that are subject to local regulations or protected status, an arborist can navigate legal requirements and ensure compliance.
Blonde caucasian man planting flowers in pot with garden tools. Man wearing green t-shirt and black apron. Man spending peaceful morning in garden hear house.

When It Might Not Be Necessary

  1. Basic Maintenance: For minor issues like small branch trimming, watering, and mulching, a homeowner with basic knowledge and tools might handle the task or they can hire a tradie for more convenience.
  2. Simple Pest Control: For minor pest issues that can be treated with over-the-counter solutions, professional intervention might not be needed.
  3. Young Trees: For young or small trees, basic care and maintenance can often be managed without specialized knowledge.

General Tips

  • Consulting First: If you’re unsure about the severity of a tree problem, it’s often wise to consult a certified arborist such as Lakeside Trees and Stumps, they’d offer initial consultations and can provide valuable advice tailored for all of your needs.
  • DIY with Caution: For those confident in their abilities, many tree care tasks can be done without an arborist, but always prioritize safety and proper technique.

In summary, while not every tree issue requires an arborist, their expertise is invaluable for more complex, risky, or critical tree care needs.

In summary

Not all tree problems need a certified arborist, but for the tricky, dangerous, or super important stuff, they’re worth their weight in gold. They’ve got the skills to diagnose tree diseases, tackle pests, check out a tree’s structure, and keep things above board with the law. Arborists bring a whole toolkit of services that keep our trees thriving and safe.

Knowing when to call in these tree wizards is key for anyone looking after trees, whether you’re a homeowner or a property manager. Making smart choices with their help not only boosts the health of your trees but also spruces up the environment and the look of our neighbourhoods.

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