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What is an Arborist?
Last updated: 8 January 2021
An arborist is a professional who specializes in the care and maintenance of trees. Their job usually involves tree pruning, arborist reports, pest inspections as well as tree removal.
They typically have years of experience working on trees, and relevant academic qualifications and certifications. Using a certified arborist is key to getting reliable advice and tree care service.
Here is what you should know about arborists.
What does an arborist do?
An arborist is a tree expert whose job usually involves:
- Pruning trees to improve safety. They also do so in order to improve the appearance of trees. For arborists who work in the public service sector, may prune trees and cut other vegetation in order to keep them from interfering with utilities, obstructing power lines, or becoming a safety hazard.
- Tree removal in cases where tree root systems pose a danger to a home’s foundation or plumbing. Removing trees is sometimes necessary in order to increase safety or to keep the tree from trespassing into neighboring property. It is also necessary where a homeowner needs to create space or where a tree is poisonous. Whichever the case, an arborist will cut the tree, grind it’s stump, and even remove its roots. He or she may even provide clearance services.
- Treating diseased trees and getting rid of pests by spraying them with pesticides or eliminating the conditions that make the trees vulnerable to attacks. In some cases, this task is limited to taking preventative steps that are aimed at either stemming the spread of the disease or preventing future attacks.
- Offering consultation services to homeowners, private companies and government agencies in matters relating to tree care, tree planting strategies, tree-related education programs, and tree risk assessments.
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What qualifications does an arborist have?
An arborist is a professional who has studies arboriculture. There are two main levels, a Level 3 arborist or a level 5 arborist.
To practice as an arborist in most cities you will need a state or city license. To get a license they will also need public liability insurance which covers the customer in case of an accident.
What is the difference between an arborist and a tree surgeon?
While an arborist is the correct term to use for a person who specializes in taking care of trees, people usually use it interchangeably with the term tree surgeon. Therefore, there is generally no difference between an arborist and a tree surgeon.
However, since the International Society of Arboriculture exists, and since this organization offers certifications for arborists, an arborist is sometimes considered to be a more precise definition of the profession when compared to tree surgeon.
As a result, people sometimes distinguish the two terms in the sense that while both are experts that handle every aspect of tree planting maintenance and removal, an arborist is someone that has formal training and qualifications, while a tree surgeon is someone who doesn’t necessarily have the formal education and training.
Therefore, according to this distinction, all arborists are tree surgeons, but not all tree surgeons are arborists. This is so especially given the fact that the ISA imposes the duty of maintaining educational credits on arborists whom it certifies.
How much does it cost to hire an arborist?
It usually costs between $70 and $200 per hour to hire an arborist for a job. However, what one ends up paying varies widely depending on the nature of the job, the tools that are needed to get the job done, your location, and even the expertise and experience of the arborists that you hire.
How long does it take to become an arborist?
It takes about 3 years to become a certified arborist simply because the International Society of Arborists requires one to have at least 3 years of relevant experience in order to qualify to sit for their certification exams.
However, if you have a bachelor’s degree, the requirement is for only a year’s worth of experience, while for those with associate’s degrees, only 2 years are required.
Therefore, technically, one can become a certified arborist within a year if they have a degree in forestry, botany, horticulture, or any other relevant degree.
Since the exam takes only 3.5 hours, and one needs to get at least 76% on the certification exam, it is possible to get the full certification in a little over a year. It may, however, take longer if you don’t have a degree, or if you fail to pass the certification exam on your first try.
How dangerous is it to be an arborist?
Being an arborist can be dangerous because of the risk of getting hurt by a falling tree. Arborists also run the risk of getting electrocuted, especially if they work with power companies.
Some tasks also call for one to climb trees or poles. In such cases, one runs the risk of falling, especially in cases where a tree’s branches are weak or where there is an equipment malfunction. Cases of arborists getting injured by the equipment or cutting tools that they use also exist.
Any of these things make being an arborist a high-risk job that can lead to serious injury or even death. The good news is that minimizing these risks is easy and most arborists usually take the precautions that are necessary in order to make their jobs safer.
This involves carrying out exhaustive site inspections before starting a job, wearing helmets, gloves, safety glasses and appropriate working boots.
To protect against falling, they are always armed with fall harnesses. Using the right cutting and pruning tools, together with always having more than one worker handling any given assignment, also reduces the risks of injury.
Are arborists in demand?
Yes, arborists are in demand, and according to statistics from the US government, their demand for their services is increasing at a rate that is over 10%. This is so mainly when you consider the increased awareness that people are having on the usefulness of trees, both in terms of improving aesthetic appeal and reducing the rate of global warming.
Even in large cities, the demand for arborists is at a steady increase as more companies are embracing modern designs that incorporate the use of trees and other vegetation. This is so especially given the effect that green offices have on the productivity and the overall mental health of employees.
Why should I use an arborist?
You should use an arborist to increase the value of your trees. This is so especially if you have valuable trees that you are planning on selling or if you simply want to improve the value of your property by having healthy-looking trees. Arborists specialize in ensuring that trees receive all the nourishment they need to blossom and so you have a better chance of getting better value from your trees by having them taken care of by an expert.
You should also use an arborist if you want to reduce the risks of injury on your property. Large trees tend to have overhanging branches that can injure your loved ones. An arborist can cut these branches and thus make your home safer. In cases where you need to remove a tree, letting an arborist handle all aspects of tree removal will reduce the risks of trees falling on you or your property. Since they have better training, they will make the whole process safer.
You should also use an arborist when you want to improve the aesthetic appeal of your property. Some arborists specialized in carrying out beautification projects, and they are thus ideal for helping you get the right trees for your home. They can recommend the right trees to plant, plant them, and thereafter look after them, every step of the way. Using them will boost your odds of ending up with a home that is aesthetically pleasing.
If you have weak trees, an arborist can provide them with the necessary support to help them thrive. They can also come in handy in helping to not only get rid of but also prevent any type of diseases that are affecting your trees.
Generally, if you have trees on your property, or if you are planning on planting some, it is prudent to have an expert on your side.
They can make it cheaper to remove any unwanted trees, they can help you to achieve your landscaping goals faster, and they can make any tree-related work safer.
Author: Ben McInerney – Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.
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