What is an Arborist
Why Should I Employ One?
Trees provide a beautiful addition to many properties, both in their visual appeal and in their benefits to the environment.
Many people end up inheriting trees that are decades older than they are themselves through property purchases.
Local councils pride themselves on the towering ancient trees that reside over public parks and provide shade and areas of play to many local residents.
Trees are an inherent part of nature, and as a society, we continue to plant them in our yards and on our properties as a way of providing many benefits.
However, just like your family, your home, your pets or your vehicles, trees require very practical care, attention, and maintenance.
This is needed in order to ensure they’re growing in a manner that is healthy, strong and positioned for their long-term endurance.
Professionals Focused on Trees
In the same way, as there are highly trained professionals skilled in the care of the human body, there are professionals whose sole responsibility is the care of trees and other plants.
These individuals are called arborists, and the art and science of the care of trees are their areas of expertise. Many of them not only view this work as a job, but allow their personal passion for trees, plants, and nature to overflow into their work.
Arboriculture can be traced all the way back to the 1800s, to a man named John Davey.
John Davey is considered the father of ‘tree surgery’.
The practices he introduced and the principles he operated with going back even further in history to ancient times.
Ancient Greek literature has records of the Greeks treating tree wounds, possibly in much the same way a modern-day Arborist would do thousands of years later.
Davey’s passion for the preservation of natural resources led to the publication of his book ‘The Tree Doctor’ in the early 1900s.
He was also the founder of the first arboriculture company in America, which was named ‘The Davey Tree Expert Company’.
His legacy lives on today through highly trained Arborists, whose passion and commitment for healthy trees and environments provides benefits to all through their ongoing work.
A Modern World
Advancements in technology in the 1930s led to the birth of the term ‘arborist’, as higher standards emerged within the growing industry.
Nowadays, the modern Arborist is familiar not only with the practical requirements of the task at hand in a physical capacity but also cultivates an understanding of the tree as a living organism.
This allows them to do their best to use their knowledge to nurture the tree and treat the underlying symptom.
This is in contrast to the earlier, mechanically-minded approach to the act of tree pruning and removal, and is an integral part of the arboriculture industry in today’s modern age.
Today, it’s a wide industry spanning many different areas, including the cultivation, management, and study of trees and many other plants.
Reasons to Hire a Professional Arborist
There are many reasons why you may require the services of an Arborist.
Although many people are tempted to carry out some of these tasks themselves, the care of your trees is not an area where you should attempt any DIY projects.
This is due to the potential long-term consequences if things should go wrong.
More Reasons to Hire an Arborist
Tree pruning – Arborists have an intimate working knowledge of a huge range of tree types and kinds.
Drawing on this knowledge allows them to determine what kind and scope of pruning is best for each individual tree.
They do so with the overriding goal of protecting the tree’s long-term health and improving its aesthetic appearance.
Tree removal – if you’re in doubt as to the state of a tree’s internal health, drawing on the professional eye of an Arborist is the best way to make the decision as to whether or not a tree requires removal.
This is normally the last option.
However, leaving trees in that have damaged roots or are suffering from ill health can prove hazardous for the tree, for the surrounding environment and for your home and family.
If a tree does need to be removed for safety purposes, an Arborist will have the skills required to do so in a manner that is safe and thorough.
Planting – As important as knowing when a tree needs to come out is knowing where and when to plant new trees.
Planting trees in the right position is incredibly important to their long term health.
Different tree varieties come with their own specific needs, with a wide range of sunlight needs, soil requirements and nutrients required to promote healthy growth.
Arborists lend their industry knowledge to your garden by advising on which trees will flourish the best in its natural environmental conditions.
Emergency Assistance – Storms can be devastating to trees, causing irreparable damage.
When this occurs, it’s important that trees are attended quickly, as falling limbs can become a potential hazard after wild weather.
Trees on your property may require emergency attention, whether this is for pruning or for removal.
Given the fact that there may also be fallen power lines or other hazards at play, calling in a professional Arborist takes the danger out of your hands and instead allows them to use their experience to complete the task at hand.
Skills of an Arborist
It’s easy to underestimate the wide range of skills an Arborist requires in order to carry out all their job requires of them.
Each situation is different, and not only do they have to be intimately familiar with a huge range of plant and tree species, but they also need to be confident and adept in handling many different environments.
Professional Arborists Are Trained in These Areas…
Working near power lines – as they’re often working at heights in order to effectively reach tall and looming trees, professionals will ensure their power line safety knowledge and protocols are always up to date in order to protect themselves from harm whilst at work
Identifying tree health and growth potential – their familiarity with many different types of trees allows them to identify any potential signs of ill health, disease or disfigurement in trees which require the attention and treatment of a professional in order to remedy
Climbing – many Arborists will climb, using varieties of techniques in order to climb many different trees. Ropes are one of the most popular techniques, giving Arborists the benefit of being able to scale trees with flexibility in order to get up close and personal with the higher limbs and branches.
Structural support – trees can be encouraged to grow in ways that will provide a stronger structural integrity and minimize the risk of damage to person or property. A trained Arborist is able to identify areas where external structural support could bring benefit to a tree’s health. They can implement these techniques in order to achieve this goal.
Long-term growth and landscaping – due to their extensive familiarity with tree and plant varieties, coupled with their knowledge of ideal growing conditions, a trained Arborist will be able to provide you with a professional perspective as to how to plan your garden and property landscaping for ultimate success and growth. By enlisting the services of an Arborist early on in your planning process, you’ll be able to call on their specialist abilities over many years as your garden, plants, and trees continue to flourish. This can add significant value to your property and is something you’ll thank yourself for on the day you decide to sell your home. Not to mention the enjoyment you and your family will be able to derive from the tree as well throughout its lifespan!
What to Look for When Choosing an Arborist
There are many people who lack the experience and qualifications to call themselves true Arborists, so it’s important to know what to look for when you’re making the crucial decision about who to employ for this work. Here are some of the key areas of consideration for you to evaluate before you sign on the dotted line…
Training – can the Arborist you’re in discussions with, prove their credentials? Throughout Australia, many people work in the tree care industry without the correct qualifications, which can lead to damaging results through careless or uninformed work.
The official Australian Qualification Framework has a standard AQF Level 5 qualified Arborist category, and it’s crucial that you consult with someone who possesses this qualification for involved tree consultations. For comparably simple maintenance or tree pruning, a professional may possess a lower qualification at the AQF Level 3 qualification in Arboriculture level.
An on-going commitment – is the Arborist you’re consulting planning on sticking around for the long run? By hiring an Arborist to work on your property, you’re making a huge potential long-term investment. Thorough and careful tree care is an investment that could either lead to sizeable returns or noticeable losses. Well maintained and cared-for trees add value to a property, both aesthetically and financially, whilst a poorly maintained tree can become a troublesome liability that lessens your property’s overall value.
Customer testimonials – can the Arborist in question prove a strong track record of happy customers? This is a key area to consider and it’s worth speaking directly with a previous client. If the experience has been positive, any previous clients should be able to speak in glowing terms. If an Arborist is not able to connect you with a previous client, this is a potential sign that they’re looking to hide feedback from a negative previous experience.
Equipment – is your Arborist fully equipped for the task at hand? Tree care can require a wide and extensive range of gear and equipment, which is designed specifically for the execution of Arborist tasks and to protect their safety in the process. Some jobs may require special-design vehicles, cherry pickers, and stump grinders. Knowing your Arborist comes fully equipped with all of the tools required for the job is important.
Their attention to detail – as Arborists treat trees as the living organism that they are, their expert advice should always prioritise the health of the tree as they make decisions on the best way forward. You’re looking for someone who will take their time evaluating your plants and trees, instead of rushing their way through it.
Highly skilled arborists can spot even the tiniest early signs of disease, which could potentially save a tree from removal. If you plan on having an Arborist keep an eye on your garden on a regular basis, make sure it’s someone who is going to invest their time and energy into ensuring the health of all of your plants and trees as best as they can.
Insurance – as any kind of tree work can be dangerous business, you need to ensure your home and your family are protected from any potential claims that could arise out of an unforeseen situation, circumstance or accident.
If the professional in question comes with their own insurance, you can rest assured you’re covered from a legal perspective should anything go wrong.
Pricing – skilled Arborists will provide you with a quote in writing that describes with detail the work they believe requires carrying out. This quote can become a binding document between the two of you, as it should also list details on how the property will be left once work has been completed. Although it can be tempting to go with the cheapest offer, this is not an area where you want to skimp.
Going with the cheaper low-end company could lead to potential damage or to a job that’s less than satisfying once finished.
By looking at hiring a company within the mid-range of prices, you’ll know they’ve proven themselves in the industry and have quoted you at a reasonable price for the work that is required without cutting corners and setting you up for a nasty extra bill down the track.
All in all, employing a professional Arborist can add immense benefit to your property’s environment.
By caring for your trees, you’re carrying out part of your responsibility to your surrounding environment, providing them with the care and love they need to grow as strong as they can.
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