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Arborists plant, maintain, and remove trees and other woody plants using their knowledge of tree anatomy and biology along with climbing and pruning skills. Arborists work for a wide variety of residential, commercial, and municipal clients. This is a hands-on role, requiring a high degree of physical strength and dexterity to climb and prune trees or remove diseased or potentially dangerous trees. While arborists may begin their careers with no formal education, most attend post-secondary school or take part in an apprenticeship program to study botany and arboriculture to make informed decisions about tree maintenance, planting, and removal.
Arborist Duties and Responsibilities
Most arborists share several core duties:
Prune Trees and Shrubs
One of the foremost responsibilities of an arborist is pruning trees, shrubs, and other woody plants. Arborists frequently need to climb to a tree’s upper branches using ropes and harnesses. They use hand and power tools while maintaining trees to remove branches. This aspect of the job requires thorough knowledge of how to prune trees to encourage healthy growth, along with the physical strength and dexterity to climb and reach various parts of tree.
Arborists also prevent infestations and pest-related issues by applying fungicides and other pesticides to trees and shrubs. For this part of the job, arborists need to understand the potential risks and benefits of different types of products. Arborists ensure that the applications being made are done properly according to the relevant regulations. Often arborists need special certifications and licensing to make these applications.
Remove and Plant Trees
In many cases, arborists also need to remove problematic trees. For example, a tree may need to be removed if it is threatening structures or right of ways if pruning is not a viable option. Arborists also perform plantings of trees and shrubs. Proper tree selection and planting is essential for a new tree to grow and thrive in the landscape.
Improve Soil Nutrient Conditions
An essential part of caring for trees is to ensure proper soil conditions exist for trees. Monitoring current soil conditions through soil testing and providing soil treatments as appropriate are a part of the arborist’s duties. Managing soil conditions can be done through liquid soil injections along with other methods to improve the health of trees.
Identify and Treat Tree Problems
Arborists also use their knowledge of tree anatomy and biology to identify and treat tree insect and disease issues. The arborist identifies symptoms such as insect activity, blights, or fungal infections to determine a proper course of action. If the issue warrants treatment, then timing and treatment options factor into the plan for the tree.
Consult with Clients
Many arborists also provide advice for homeowners, landscaping companies, and local governments regarding tree care and maintenance. These arborists prepare reports and provide advice and guidance on species selection and tree placement, maintenance, removal, and disposal. They may also participate directly in the client’s tree maintenance, planting, and removal activities.
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