What is an Arborist? What does an Arborist do?

Trees are considered to be the well-known healers of the world. They save and cleanse the planet from various kinds of harmful effects, mostly caused by humans, transport, and industry. However, being at the same time a significant part of the contemporary environment, green spaces sometimes need close attention and immediate help. They may be damaged for all sorts of reasons, including, for example, harsh weather conditions, or be susceptible to different diseases. Modern Arborists in 2020 are specialists who are able to do everything possible in order to save the plants.

The History of the Professional Branch 

As a rule, the historical background of any profession draws a lot of attention. People want to know when and why the occupation appeared.

Following the historians' points of view, the American John Davy is considered to be a founder and a father of the contemporary arboriculture.

In the book, known under the title "Wood Physician," the talented and devoted author wrote about the essential connections between the green world's biological characteristics. Initially, this scientific paper was published at the very beginning of the 20th century. To be more exact, it happened in 1901.

John DaveyUp to the present moment, the accurate work of John Davey has been considered to be the basement and the foundation in arboriculture. It is a handbook of amateurs as well as specialists in this sphere. Most often, doing their job, the arborists of the 21st century take into account the positions mentioned in “Wood Physician.”

John Davey’s business is still alive, and it has been working successfully even now. Nowadays, Davey Tree Expert Company is in the list of the largest and the most influential enterprises in the sphere of tree care.

However, of course, John Davy was not a single person who devoted his life to this direction. There are also some other people, for example, Francis A. Bartlett (from the USA), Michael Maurer (from Germany), and Alex L. Shigo (also from the USA), in particular, which made an enormous contribution to the industry development.

Peculiar Features of Modern Arboriculture

Following a definition given by contemporary specialists, arboriculture is a system of knowledge and practical measures, usually aimed at careful and professional treatment of trees prone to various diseases. As a rule, these specialists also remove branches and trunks that have been affected by strong winds or many other reasons.

As a popular landscape direction, arboriculture includes lifting a worker to the required position of the tree. It is always done with the help of appropriate climbing equipment. The work is often performed at heights. The representatives of this profession may be asked for help even when necessary to complete any treatment but preventive procedures. Arborists have a whole set of various devices. They are expected to come to a call with their instruments.

What is an Arborist: Similarities and Differences with Related Directions

Following a general definition, an arborist is a typical representative of the professional direction who monitors shrubs and trees of a particular area. These people, mostly men, are engaged in the care procedures of the local green spaces. Unfortunately, this profession is sometimes confused by mistake with an occupation of a forester, a landscaper, or a landscape designer. However, these directions are quite different in essence. 
The landscaper is an expert engaged in planting trees, shrubs, and other green spaces. The forester is a specialist, involved in the process of forestry supervision and conservation. The landscape designer deals with various landscapes, for example, city parks, different gardens, and personal plots.

In their turn, arborists are the so-called doctors of forest plantations. Following the established duties, they have to make a diagnosis, and in the case of necessity, conduct the treatment of every tree individually. Moreover, the representatives of this sphere are always engaged in the cases when the plant is damaged and/or should be removed. 

They also deal with infected spots and the parts of trees, which may be dangerous for the surroundings. Unfortunately, sometimes it is impossible to cure the plant, or it is quite old. Under this condition, the tree specialist has to remove the tree entirely. As a rule, the plant is uprooted, and the stumps are crushed.

What does an Arborist do? Typical Working Day

arboristArborists are in the list of people who don't have fixed working hours. Sometimes they work a lot and nonstop. However, from time to time, they may have almost free hours for a week. The daily routine depends on many factors, including weather, natural disasters, and general ecological situation in the region. 

Indeed, the list of the necessary skills of an arborist is pretty long, and it involves many various things, but climbing trees is considered to be among the most requested ones. To do it safely, these people need to use professional climbing equipment. The significant experience is highly demanded. In addition to particular pieces of knowledge, the tree specialist has to develop the skills of an industrial climber and to improve them regularly. The training to perform work at heights is necessary as well.

The most typical tasks of the arborist’s working day:
  • monitoring and, in the case of necessity, the successive treatment of the plants;
  • careful and regular tree crowning;
  • sanitary pruning. However, this activity is not a regular one. As a rule, it is considered to be seasonal;
  • a complex of different works concerning plant strengthening. Usually, it is done with the help of cables, stretch marks, and bolts;
  • removal of dry, sick and dangerous branches;

There is no fixed cost for these kinds of work.The rate of payments depends on the particular case complication. Sometimes the problems are minute, and they require neither much time nor strength to solve them. However, from time to time, the specialists have to work for many hours nonstop to succeed.  

How to Become an Arborist on Professional Background?

There is a thing, which combines amateur and professional tree specialist. It is called a love for green spaces. In practice, loyal specialists never remove a healthy plant. They do it only under the urgent conditions when it is impossible to prevent the disaster, for example, if the plant threatens human life. A right specialist is able to define the cause of the tree disease and death quite easily and in a short period.

Up to the present moment, an arborist is considered to be a favored direction. It is usually demanded in the different corners of the modern world, both in cities and in the countryside. However, it is not as easy to get the necessary skills of an arborist as it may seem at first sight.

The most typical qualifications for the work:
  • higher or at least general education. Under some conditions, it is possible to take advanced training courses instead. A right specialist can determine the cause of the disease and the death of trees, find out why, for example, the roots rot. To do this, you need to have a deep level of professional knowledge.
  • particular mountaineering training;
  • perfect ability to use special equipment;
  • proper physical health and state for performing challenging climbs to the plants. Climbing training is needed to work at height. Climbing trees, even with equipment, requires agility and skill. Cutting thick branches and splitting trees requires the ability to work with a heavy and dangerous chainsaw.

Nowadays, the largest and the most reputable companies, specializing in caring for green spaces, recruit new employees to train them carefully in this direction. It is considered to be an excellent experience to start a future career.

As a professional, the person gets an opportunity to find a well-paid job in various kinds of landscaping organizations (municipal or public), landscape associations, specialized private companies, civil services, and companies providing different mountaineering services.

Amazing Facts

There are many pieces of information, which make this profession even attractive to contemporary people.  

Initially, it should be mentioned that the name of the profession was chosen not occasionally. It has a Latin origin and comes from the word “arbor,” which means “tree.”

Tree Planting FestivalThe representatives of this occupation are lucky to have their calendar holiday. However, here it should be mentioned that this special occasion doesn't have a fixed date. Usually, it is kept on the last Friday of April. It means that every year the date is a bit different. For the first time, the holiday was celebrated more than a hundred years ago.

It happened on April 16, 1898, when the famous American company Sterling Morton D. organized the unusual Tree Planting Festival in his native town in Nebraska, the USA.

Over time, the holiday became popular all around the planet. Nowadays, it is kept in the specialized circles. Up to the present moment, the essential purpose of the professional event is to promote the planting of different kinds of green spaces everywhere on Earth. Initially, in such a simple way, the establishers wanted to demonstrate the people from all over the world the necessity and the advantages of decorating the territories of their native lands. Both men and women, who are in this sphere, are sure that if they cure or plant a tree or a bush this day, it simultaneously means that they have celebrated the event correctly. Their aim is to involve as many people into the celebration as it is possible.



  1. Calling the arborist to your home - ask for a special license.
  2. The best advice or recommendation for choosing a tree specialist is the recommendation of neighbors or friends who live close to you.


  1. If you are afraid of heights - the work and career of a tree specialist is a taboo for you. Being an arborist and afraid of heights are incompatible things.
  2. Arborist work is a rather dangerous profession. Ask your loved ones whether they are ready to worry about you at work every day.

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  1. Juana Kerr
    Juana Kerr 20 November 2020 01:13
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