I remember back in the early day of predictive text on mobile phones if you tried to type in “Arborist” you were suggested “Arsonist”.
Recently when I returned to a shop where I buy water filters, they had my occupation in their system as “Abortionist” (true story!).
At times during my career, it has felt like I have come close to both of those professions but neither accurately describe what I actually do.
This blog post is for those who wonder what is behind the mysterious title and to shed more light on the role of an Arborist.
Type “Arborist definition” into Google and you get…
“Tree Surgeon” (In German “Baumdoctor”). This is what I was often referred to as when I used to live in Germany.
At the time I enjoyed having the word surgeon associated with my chosen career, especially as I did not have to study for 7 years to get it.
At times the role of an Arborist can imitate that of a surgeon for trees. However, the parallel quickly diverges. Not only in the car park with the Porsche being replaced by a Toyota Corolla but also in the role itself.
To continue with the medical simile, an Arborist would be more like a General Practitioner for trees. Rather than being a specialist, an Arborist needs to be knowledgeable and have skills in several areas to do their job properly.
When I talk about what I do for a job, people show a blank face.
When faced with the blank stare on the face of the person talking to you after describing yourself as an Arborist, I would usually follow up with “I climb trees and cut them”.
This describes a good portion of what an Arborist does but it is still far from complete.
It does not address the questions of: “Why you are cutting them?” “How you are cutting them?” “How much are you cutting off them?” and, “How do you know it won’t kill the tree?”
A more generic definition of an Arborist would be a person who manages trees in the urban environment.
To manage trees successfully, a number of skills are required. While training for my qualification I learned about the biology of plants and I learned about soil and microbiology.
I learned about fungi, I studied the law related to trees, I learned about pests and diseases. I learned how to identify and remedy faults and dysfunction in trees.
I learned about woodland and landscape management, and I learned the basics of business management.
All this theory was very useful, and I rely on it every day; however, there was a whole other side of being an Arborist to learn.
Prior to this qualification, I had been focusing on the practical side of tree work.
There are various ways qualification and experience can be gained in Arboriculture, with different countries going about it in different ways.
For me, in Germany, several years ago, this meant dragging branches until I proved myself worthy of more complex tasks.
Once I had shown that I was useful, I was taken under the wing of experienced Arborists who taught me about tree climbing systems, rigging, chainsaw, chippers, and health and safety.
During this time, I had to gain certification in the use of various forms of equipment and techniques and become qualified in areas such as first aid and traffic management.
So, what did all this prepare me for?
As a qualified and experienced Arborist, I can assess trees and form suitable management plans.
This may be in someone’s back yard or on larger estates. I can identify different species, faults, hazards, benefits, problems and provide solutions.
I can advise on planting and landscape management, such as, what to do if you have pest species present, or what trees would be suitable for a particular site.
In addition, I can work on trees from the ground, or via climbing to carry out remedial work.
This may be in the form of pruning the tree or removing it completely. I can fell trees from the ground, or I can remove them in sections.
Sometimes in very tight spots, and sometimes using cranes, cherry pickers or helicopters. The role of an Arborist is varied. Some days I use secateurs to prune fruit trees.
Some days I use a chainsaw with a 48 inch bar and an engine that could power a moped.
What is the purpose of all of this?
To ensure that tree owners and members of the public can enjoy trees with suitable levels of safety. To maximise the benefits that trees offer.
To minimise any nuisance factors or problems caused by trees. To enhance the visual appeal and beauty of local environments.
To support and increase biodiversity in urban areas. To maintain our natural heritage.
If you need advice or help with managing your trees Tree Care Auckland offers the following services:
- Tree pruning for aesthetics, tree health and general property maintenance.
- Tree removal of hazardous and pest trees.
- Tree removal to allow for building works and garden makeovers.
- Scheduled tree maintenance service for your property(s).
- Tree Felling and vegetation removal for building work.
- Tree advice and consultancy service for your building project and garden makeovers.
- Tree advice and consultancy service for protected and scheduled trees on or around your property.
- Tree survey service for schools, kindergartens, adventure camps, councils and estates.
- Tree asset management service for your property.
- Health and risk assessment of trees on your property.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Read our latest Blog posts all about Tree Care!
Make sure to check out all our “How To Provide Tree Maintenance Series” instructional guides. These arborist guides are aimed for tree owners who are keen to get their hands dirty.
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Rossy and the Team.
Rossy | 021 508 806 | treecareauckland.co.nz