Arborists are career professionals that cultivate, manage, care for and rehabilitate trees. They are different from foresters who specialize in managing entire forests of trees.
An ISA-certified arborist is qualified in various disciplines of arboriculture like tree planting, insect and disease diagnosis, pruning, cabling, and lightning protection. They also have expertise in routine maintenance. See our home page.
Arborists use the best practices to keep trees healthy and strong. They know that a plant’s health is its first and strongest line of defense against problems, such as pest infestation or soil compaction.
They prune or remove trees as needed. This can include removing diseased or dead branches, reducing the risk of storm damage, and preventing limbs from falling on homes or cars. They can also install or remove shrubs and other landscape plants.
They follow safe work practices and can recommend safety equipment to homeowners. For example, they may recommend a tree guard to prevent climbing injuries or stump grinding to reclaim yard space from trip-and-fall accidents caused by invasive root systems. In addition, they are aware of how to work safely near buried or overhead utilities and will contact the utility company to de-energize or shield the lines before beginning any job that could put workers in danger. They also understand how different species of trees respond to pruning and the proper techniques to use for each one.
Arborists are trained to abide by a code of practice that protects trees, other plants, and people. They are also trained to identify tree species and their needs and to provide advice about planting and maintaining them.
If a tree is dead, dying, or damaged, an arborist can advise about whether it should be removed. They can also assess whether it should be pruned or treated. Many municipalities require a report from an arborist before starting work on or near an existing tree.
For larger jobs, arborists may use specialized machinery to remove or cut down a tree. This can add to the overall cost of the job, especially if the tree is in a hard-to-reach location or requires a crane. To help their clients save money, some arborists recommend that they get multiple quotes and compare the quality of service. Talk to your family and friends, or ask on social media to find an arborist who has done great work for others.
Arborists prune trees to improve their structure, promote health, and maintain safety. Proper pruning practices involve removing diseased, dead, or weak branches and limbs. It also involves thinning a tree to reduce overall density and stimulate new growth. It may also include creating specialized shapes like hedges, espaliers, topiaries, and pollards.
The frequency of pruning varies depending on objectives, expectations, and the location and type of plant or tree. However, most plants benefit from being pruned at least annually.
When trimming a branch, start on the underside of the branch and travel about 18 inches up to the first swollen area of the branch (the branch collar). Avoid making flush cuts, as this can cause serious trunk injury and leave stubs that are susceptible to wood-decay fungi. Also, be sure to make your pruning cuts at the proper angle so that wounds close properly and do not allow water to accumulate in the wound. This will prevent the introduction of harmful pathogens and allow the callus that is formed to compartmentalize.
A tree inspection is the careful examination of trees and surrounding soil. Arborists will look for signs of damage, disease, or poor growth. They may also note soil conditions and weather patterns.
Observing tree defects, such as cracks in the trunk, fungus growth, mushrooming roots, and cavities, as well as the presence of root rot, are all important factors that an arborist will consider during a visual inspection. They will assess these and then judge how likely it is that a defect will lead to the failure of the tree.
Arborists can also carry out a formal risk assessment of all the trees on site, based on ANSI A300 standards. This involves a more detailed assessment of each tree, including identifying the risk and making recommendations. This is often carried out by developers, landowners, and councils, but can also be useful for homeowners who want to ensure their trees are safe. This service can be provided either on-site or remotely. Next article.