Arboriculture, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the “cultivation of trees, shrubs, and woody plants for shading and decorating. “ Arborists, who are sometimes referred to as arboriculturists, are the people who practice arboriculture. Arboriculture includes handling all of the phases of a tree’s life, from planting to maintaining to removal, if need be.
What Goes into This Job?
But what does it actually mean to practice arboriculture? Arborists don’t just cut down trees. They actually have a broad range of capabilities that help to ensure the health of trees. Some of the services that an arborist can perform include pruning, tree removal, tree care, planting and aeration.
Pruning/Trmming- Pruning is when you cut branches off of a tree. You need to prune or trim a tree for a variety of reasons. For one, you need to remove any dead branches as they could pose as a threat if they were to fall off of the tree. Additionally, pruning is just good for a tree. By pruning or trimming you can create a better tree structure, improve the shape of the tree and even improve the health of the tree. Another reason you would need to prune is if the branches of your tree start to interfere with important objects such as wires, gutters, roofs or even windows. Hiring an arborist helps to ensure that the proper steps and precautions are taken when pruning or trimming a tree.
Tree Removal- Tree removal should definitely be a last resort. Sometimes a tree just cannot be saved. Trees may need to be removed for several reasons. If the tree is dead, hazardous or causing harm to other trees, then it should be taken out. An arborist can ensure that the tree is safely and efficiently removed. Do not attempt to remove it yourself, as it can be very dangerous.
Tree care- Trees that are unhealthy can be saved if you hire an arborist to do the jobs. Arborists will know the best way to treat a tree in attempts to save its life. Your tree may also need care if it was damaged by a storm.
Planting- Not only can arborists plant trees, they also can help to recommend which plants will work best in your outdoor space.
Aeration- Aeration is the process of puncturing holes into the ground so that water and other nutrients can reach the roots of a plant. This will help to improve root growth in trees, which ultimately allows the tree to be much stronger.
Diverse Career Options
A career in arboriculture allows for many different career paths. The state and federal government both have a forestry department, large companies need assistance in maintaining their trees and most large cities have an urban forester that will help the citizens with arbor related issues. Additionally, the private market has many openings for arborists.
Arborists can also gain certification from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), which gives them the knowledge and expertise to handle all tree problems. Certification is gained by passing an extensive test.
Stewart Scott is a certified arborist and is the owner of Cevet, a tree trimming company in Columbia, Mo. Cevet has provided tree trimming and other tree care services to mid-Missouri for almost 20 years.