There are trees where there is life, and there must be life where there are trees. Tree Surgeons protect and improve the health of trees, woody shrubs, vines, and other perennial woody plants in cities, rural areas, and conservation areas. As a result, they help to improve the quality of life and the environment.
Similar Job Titles
- Tree Care Specialist
- Tree Cutter
- Tree Trimmer
- Tree Worker
- Tree Climber
- Tree Planting Specialist
- Tree Trimming Specialist
- Tree Removal Specialist
- Tree Diagnostics Specialist
- Tree Stump Grinding Operator
Typical Job Responsibilities
A Tree Surgeon would typically need to:
- Safeguard the well-being of trees and woody plants while also ensuring that they provide environmental, social, and economic benefits throughout their lifetime
- Meet with clients to understand and discuss their landscaping needs
- Assess soil and space requirements for planting new trees; recommend species suited to the location, soil, climate, and purpose
- Test soil conditions and keep them suitable
- Plant trees and woody plants; ensure they have a healthy start and mature to their full size
- Aerate the soil to encourage roots to grow
- Maintain and operate hand and machine tools, such as hedge cutters, mechanical shredders, chain saws, secateurs, and strimmers
- Reinforce weak branches by cabling and bracing them
- Determine the kind of trimming and pruning necessary and carry them out to improve tree health, appearance, or safety
- Conduct preventive tree maintenance; identify and treat diseased trees; use specialised tree fertilizers and, if necessary, apply pesticides
- Remove tree limbs, stumps, or trees that are dead, dying, or unwanted as they may be risky, obstructive, crowding other trees, or in areas of new construction
- Perform stump grinding using a stump grinder to excavate tree stumps keeping the root in place
- Provide emergency care and clean-up operations by safely removing or pruning trees damaged by storms to prevent the risk of damage to life and property
- Serve as the point of contact for selling trees
Standard Work Environment
A Tree Surgeon primarily works outside in public parks and gardens in urban and rural regions, on streets and highways, in woodlands and forests, on construction sites, and on private property. It would be beneficial to be prepared for exposure to many types of weather, dusty situations, working at heights, and physically demanding job.
Tree Climbers must wear safety equipment such as helmets, ear protection, masks, protective boots, gloves, and trousers due to the dangers of their employment. They use specialized rope access and positioning systems in addition to specialized equipment and tools.
Travel to work sites is required, and some absence from home may be required depending on the worksite’s location.
A Tree Surgeon’s job may be seasonal to some extent, with different tasks carried out at different periods of the year, depending on the tree type, customer needs, or natural events such as storms. They do, however, often work 35 to 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday. While dealing with emergencies, it may be necessary to work throughout the night, on weekends, and holidays.
Self-employed or freelance Tree Surgeons may have greater scheduling flexibility.
Seeking a new job may appear difficult. Tree Surgeons can improve their job search by soliciting referrals from their network, contacting firms directly, using job search platforms, and contacting staffing agencies.
Tree Surgeons are generally employed by:
- Tree Care Services
- Government Agencies & Departments
- Specialist Contractors
- Private Landowners
- Commercial Centres
- Architectural & Construction Firms
- Landscaping Companies
- Conservation Organisations
- Botanical Gardens
- National Parks
- Garden Centres
- Logging Firms
- Residential Communities
- Paper & Packaging Companies
Unions / Professional Organizations
Professional organizations and groups, such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), are essential for Cloud Architects who want to further their professional growth or interact with other professionals in their industry or sector. Participation in one or more of these organizations adds value to your resume while strengthening your credentials and qualifications.
- The need to avoid work-related accidents and injuries using correct techniques, safety protocols, and well-maintained equipment
- Physically demanding and strenuous work
- The need to protect from exposure to sawdust and fumes from tools, pesticides, and fertilizers
- The seasonal nature of the work
- Remaining profitable in a competitive industry if you freelance
- Finding a reliable team of workers and training them if you run your own company
Suggested Work Experience
Working in the field, tree surgeons often gain specialized skills and knowledge. As a result, it is best to start by volunteering with local conservation organizations, tree boards, horticultural groups, or landscaping corporations. Field experience will assist prospective Tree Surgeons in developing their skill set by educating them about tree diseases and how to diagnose and treat them. Because organic and pesticide-free solutions are vital to quality tree management, when applying for a job, develop and demonstrate your experience with these.
Apprenticeship is another option that allows you to gain job experience through a structured training program while being compensated for your efforts.
You can improve your job application by including official work experience paperwork and references from current or previous employers. If you are self-employed, you may add customer recommendations and contracts executed with them.
A high school diploma or equivalent is required for an aspiring Tree Surgeon. A technical diploma or an associate or bachelor’s degree in forestry, horticulture, botany, ecology, soil science, biology, or environmental studies, on the other hand, can provide you with the necessary information and abilities and help you progress your career.
Prospective tree surgeons should study biology, botany, environmental science, or ecology courses in high school.
Certifications, Licenses, and Registration
While certification is not required, it does establish a Tree Surgeon’s proficiency in a skill set, which is normally achieved by job experience, training, and passing an examination. Certification from a reputable and objective organization, such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), can help you stand out in a competitive employment market, carry a large wage premium of up to 18%, boost your prospects of progression, and allow you to work independently. By including a Code of Ethics, successful certification programs defend the public welfare.
You must have at least three years of full-time tree care experience, or a combination of experience and education, to be eligible for the ISA certification. Arboricultural tasks such as pruning and trimming, fertilization, installation and establishment, diagnosis and treatment of tree concerns, cabling, and bracing, climbing, or other tree care services will help you gain valuable expertise. A two-year post-secondary certification in arboriculture combined with two years of experience is also acceptable, as is a four-year degree in a relevant discipline combined with one year of experience. To recertify, you must also pass the certification exam and complete the required continuing education, as well as pay the applicable fees at each stage of the procedure.
You can apply for specialised ISA certifications in addition to being an ISA Certified Arborist, especially if you work for utility companies or local governments. Certified Arborist Utility Specialist, Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist, Certified Tree Worker Climber Specialist, Certified Tree Worker Aerial Lift Specialist, and Board Certified Master Arborist are some of the certifications available.
Tree Surgeons may also require training, certification, or licensure to handle heavy machinery and use pesticides and other chemicals.
Training on the job may help apprentices acquire knowledge adequate to apply for a license.
Certain activities, such as falling trees and clearing tree stumps or other woodland operations that impede public access or have a potential impact on protected species, may require licensing or exemption from licensure depending on the region. Ensure that any work on a protected tree has been approved by the appropriate authorities. A firm may require an environmental permit, a waste management license, or an official exemption from licensure to chop, cut, shred, pulverize, burn, compost, or store waste plant matter.
Projected Career Map
Tree care is a diversified and dynamic industry that allows you to take on a variety of tasks, some of which are more specialised or hard than others, and some of which are more field-based than office-based or vice versa. Typically, two to three years of experience is required to lead a crew.
With or without a necessary academic background, an aspiring Tree Surgeon may begin as a Grounds Person or Tree Maintenance Associate. You will most certainly work as a Climbing Arborist at some point in your career, performing various forms of pruning and, depending on your expertise, leading the team. Working as a Plant Healthcare Technician entails maintaining healthy trees and shrubs in an urban setting that is less conducive to their well-being than their native home.
With practice, you can advance to the position of Arborist Representative. Instead of physically demanding field work, you will consult with residential clients, architects, builders, and developers to provide tree care advice. You will not be needed to manage all of the trees on a site if you become a Tree Consultant. Instead, you will examine the health of the specific ones requested by clients.
You might specialize as a Pesticide Sprayer in protecting plants from insects and other threats.
Substantial experience, advanced education, ISA certification, and advanced training may enable you to take on supervisory and administrative duties as an arborist. Once you’ve established a solid network and a reputation for competence, you can start your own business or work as a consultant.
If you want to further your experience, you could pursue tree climbing as an outdoor recreation activity, transporting people to the treetops as an adventurous pastime.
If you prefer not to work outside but are interested in arboriculture, you may work as an Agricultural Technician at a laboratory, where you would analyze samples for tree diseases and store them for future reference, as well as measure the performance of agricultural products.
The best career possibilities go to candidates with a bachelor’s degree in arboriculture or a related profession, advanced training, experience, athletic ability, and an established track record.
Beneficial Professional Development
Continuing professional development (CPD) will assist an active Tree Surgeon in developing personal skills and expertise through work-based learning, professional activity, and formal education.
If traditional schooling or self-directed learning is used. It enables you to continuously upskill, regardless of your age, employment, or level of experience, to help define the future of tree care.
Regardless of previous experience, you will learn about safety, equipment, and ground and canopy procedures while working under a supervisor and other experienced colleagues during on-the-job training, which can span two or three years. Nonetheless, maintaining current with the latest tools, technology, and safety practices is essential for advancement.
If you lack post-secondary credentials, you can pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in arboriculture, horticulture, botany, forestry, environmental science, or a similar discipline. Tree surgery courses are typically included in arboriculture and horticulture schools. Alternatively, you could enroll in specialized tree surgery courses offered by vocational colleges.
To obtain a competitive edge in the employment market, you can also add ISA certification and other credentials to your CV. You could become certified in tree climbing, tree care, aerial lift, grounds operations, and a variety of safety and machinery operator credentials. Online or in-person communication and leadership courses will also assist you in properly communicating with clients and supervising your workforce.
If trees could communicate, they could recount the narrative of life. Tree Surgeons are the closest to understanding what a tree is saying about itself and its requirements. They are experts who understand how to keep trees strong and healthy. Their specialized talents are critical in protecting and increasing the natural beauty and safety of tree-filled homes and places.
Advice from the Wise
A stitch in time saves nine and protects you. Maintain your tools between tasks to reduce downtime, avoid inconvenience when you are several metres above the ground, and avoid the additional cost of replacing equipment. Create and stick to a maintenance schedule. Do preventative maintenance and sharpen your handsaws before going to work. Just use your equipment for its intended purpose. Clean and dry your equipment after each job to avoid mildew and dry rot. Maintain your work vehicles as well.