What is an Arborist? Why Should You Hire a Competent One?

Based on various research, there are anywhere between 400 billion and more than 3 trillion trees in the world. These perennial plants are some of the most important parts of the ecosystem, providing both humans and animals with a source of food and shelter.

Trees also help prevent soil erosion, improve air quality, and keep global temperatures sufficiently cool. They’re also quite aesthetically pleasing, which is why parks and other green spaces are ideal spots for relaxation.

In short, because trees play such a critical role in our lives, we need to take good care of them. Trees grow well enough on their own in the wild, but they still need sufficient care so that they can grow healthy for a long time. Meanwhile, trees often need more careful supervision to thrive in urban settings. In both of these situations, an arborist’s expertise can come in handy.

What Is an Arborist?

An arborist is a professional who practises arboriculture, a branch of science that deals with the study, cultivation, and management of trees, shrubs, and other perennial woody plants. The main focus of an arborist is the health and development of individual plants and trees; this makes them different from foresters, loggers, silviculturists.

Sometimes, an arborist is also called a tree surgeon. This is because they also often conduct pruning and transplanting, studying the effects of these processes to the growth of trees. They also diagnose and treat tree diseases, get rid of pests, as well as remove vegetation that can interfere with proper tree growth.

How Do You Become an Arborist?

To become an arborist, you need either of the following:

  • New Zealand Certificate in Horticulture (Arboriculture) (Level 4)
  • New Zealand Certificate in Primary Industry Skills (Horticulture) (Arboriculture) (Level 4)

Aside from proper arboriculture training, a Class 2 truck licence and a First Aid Certificate can prove to be useful.

Meanwhile, the secondary education requirements are usually at least three years of study of subjects such as agriculture, biology, and horticulture. Students in Year 11 and 12 can enter a trades academy to earn a National Certificate in Agriculture or Horticulture (Level 1 or 2). Students in Year 12 and 13, on the other hand, can earn NCEA unit standards through the Primary ITO Gateway programme.

Why Do You Need to Work With a Professional Arborist?

Going to a professional arborist when you need help in pruning or felling trees is just like going to a veterinarian when your pet is sick: the experts know what they’re doing. In the case of tree felling, for example, the process can be tricky when working around power lines or homes.

With a skilled arborist, you can be sure that the felled tree will not cause any damage to property. They can also take care of removing the stump and help you figure out what to do with it (e.g., chopped into firewood or chipped to be used as mulch).

Arborists are also the experts to call when it comes to transplanting trees. If you need a tree removed, professional arborists can ensure that the tree remains in good condition and that it will be replanted somewhere suitable. They will also ensure that underground cables, pavements, and the like aren’t damaged during removal.

Related Services by Arborists

Some other services you may not know that arborists can provide include:

  • Assessing the value of a tree
  • Installing structural support for trees
  • Installing lightning protection
  • Advising regarding tree-felling policies in different areas
  • Providing consultations regarding pruning neighbouring trees
  • Providing diagnosis of tree disease, decay, root issues, and other health concerns
  • Acquiring resource consent, when necessary
  • Providing emergency tree care, such as after storms or flash floods
  • Testifying in court, when necessary, such as in property disputes

Arborists also help ensure the preservation of ecological communities. If you want to plant trees in a certain area, for example, they can advise you which species are suitable and which can be considered invasive. This way, your well-intentioned activity won’t end up disrupting the natural environment.

Another aspect of tree planting and care that arborists can help with is soil modification. They can perform soil inspections and recommend the proper treatments, restoring the soil’s health or conditioning it to support the kinds of plants and trees you want to grow.

If you’re planning on cultivating plants for commercial purposes or even for your personal enjoyment, consulting an arborist will definitely help. Arborists have extensive scientific knowledge about individual species of trees, so they can give you cultivation tips to ensure your trees will look great and stay healthy.

Finally, urban planners should definitely work with arborists in greening cities. Trees are an important part of landscaping and parks, not to mention a crucial component in the air health and quality of a community. With the help of an arborist, city managers can choose the best trees and ensure their good health for years to come.

As you can see, arborists are more than just professional tree pruners. Their methods are based on science and anchored on proper arboreal care. The ultimate result is healthy trees that in turn help support the health of the entire planet.

CC Training offers courses that can help arborists become certified.