Tree surgeons are otherwise known as arborists and their role involves the care and maintenance of trees. Their job is an extremely skilled one as it requires the needs of both people and the tree itself to be met, ensuring that human life is not endangered but that the tree’s health and welfare are protected. Like a doctor, a tree surgeon undertakes professional training that enables them to carry out delicate and sometimes dangerous operations. These may involve the removal of deadwood and felling of trees as well as more routine maintenance such as thinning and pruning.
Services that are provided by tree surgeons include felling and dismantling of trees of all sizes which can no longer be saved due to disease, decay or damage and removal of deadwood from living trees. Reduction and re-shaping of the crown of trees so that they can remain in proportion to their growing area fall within an arborist’s remit as does crown thinning and lifting – the removal of branches from within the crown or from the base of the crown in order to allow more light and space to tree covered areas. A tree surgeon can effectively prune a tree to maintain its size, shape and health and to help it to bear more fruit as well as reduce and trim conifers and hedges to maintain their size and height. As well as tending to the cutting and pruning of trees, a tree surgeon can plant trees and ensure their long term healthy maintenance.
One of the most important services provided by a qualified arborist is the provision of a tree survey – vital for homeowners and property developers who need information about the health and well-being of trees on their land in order to make decisions about their treatment. Finding out all the facts about the type, age and measurements of a tree as well as its overall health and life expectancy can assist in deciding whether to retain or remove a particular tree. Tree surveys are key to identifying any damaged or decaying trees that may threaten life or property and will also identify any trees that are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act and cannot therefore be cut down.
Logs, woodchip and mulched woodchip are some of the by-products of tree surgery. These sustainable products are excellent for conservation and recycling. Logs can be used by homeowners in wood burning stoves and in fireplaces while woodchippings make an attractive covering for informal paths and borders. Mulched woodchip, once it has been stored in the open air for six months, is ideal for use on flowerbeds and around shrubs to maintain moisture in the soil and to suppress weed growth. Find out more about woodchip here.
It is important for a tree surgeon to hold qualifications relevant to their skills and experience. There are numerous ways to qualify as an arborist, including undertaking an apprenticeship, studying for a City & Guilds Certificate or BTEC Diploma in Arboriculture, Countryside and Environment or Forestry or even a degree level course. It is also essential that a qualified tree surgeon is covered by public liability insurance to protect against any accidents that may occur.
Tree surgeons are sympathetic to environmental issues and all work that they do is carried out in such a way as to minimise impact upon the natural environment. Trees are checked for nesting birds and bat roosts and as much of the debris resulting from pruning and felling is recycled as possible. Trees are only felled if they are too badly decayed or damaged to survive while pruning and thinning helps to promote tree health and maintain their wellbeing. Tree surgeons are also able to ensure by the carrying out of tree surveys that no protected trees are accidentally cut down and that no healthy tree is felled.