An arborist, arboriculturists, or tree surgeon is an expert in the field of arbovirology, which is the study, conservation, management, and growth of arborous plants, trees, shrubs, and vines in horticulture and forestry. An arborist’s duties include assessing the health of an arbor and the surrounding environment, determining the best growth conditions for the tree or plant, preparing the arbor for installation of a certain type of structure, repairing any damage that has already occurred, installing a variety of gardening equipment, constructing structures to support specific needs, and many other related duties. Because of his or her wide range of skills and responsibilities, an arborist must possess certain characteristics, such as a creative eye, artistic skills, the ability to work in a team environment, good interpersonal skills, mechanical aptitude, and knowledge of landscaping.
A person who is interested in working as an arborist must be dedicated to the task and be able to follow directions. Since arborists are involved with tree planting, pruning, maintenance of the trees, etc., they have to be able to perform these tasks diligently and properly. Aside from their general duties, arborists must also plan every step of the process of tree planting and must have specialized skills for installing and maintaining various gardening equipment. They should also have proper skills in dealing with lightning problems in a controlled manner so that no damage occurs to the surrounding areas or to people.
In terms of training, an arborist must have a Master arborist title. It is a recognized classification in the State of that demonstrates a person’s expertise in arborism, which involves proper tree planting, management, pruning, and maintenance. Prior, to certification, an arborist must successfully complete a minimum of 200 hours of training. During this training, he/she will learn about tree planting fundamentals such as soil preparation, site selection, tree protection, plant selection, pruning, site protection equipment, tree planting design, etc. and about landscape design basics such as walkway design, mulching, etc. After the arborist has passed the required exam, he/she will need to successfully complete a state-approved exam before he/she can officially become certified as an arborist.
In addition to the above-mentioned requirements, arborists must also successfully complete a specific number of hours of course work. These hours are set by the Department of Commerce and include a core curriculum that includes one year of specific courses and one year of general studies. The courses in the core curriculum will help determine the abilities of the arborist and his/her knowledge on the various aspects related to tree removal and maintenance. The courses also help determine the arborist’s abilities in lightning protection.
The second requirement of the arborist is the ability to assess the health of the trees. This may include determining if they are in good shape, are unhealthy, or if they need treatment. In this regard, arborists must have a wide understanding of the different conditions that affect different types of trees, as well as their respective characteristics and growth habits. The arborist should also have a basic knowledge of landscape architecture and irrigation. Landscape architecture involves the knowledge of building structures such as roads, buildings, bridges, retaining walls and parking lots that are built around or on top of a tree. Irrigation involves the knowledge of how to care for trees in the right way to ensure their longevity and keep them growing strong and healthy.
In order to be certified as an arborist, the arborist must have completed all of these requirements. In order to become certified, the arborist must also participate in the arborist training as this training will help him/her understand how trees are pruned, trained, sited, planted, cared for, harvested and disposed of. Furthermore, the arborist must have the skills to inspect electrical power lines, power distribution lines, telecommunications lines, telephone lines, gas and sewer lines in order to prevent injuries and accidents that can occur due to negligence or improper handling. Additionally, arborists must have the skills to know where trees or shrubs are located in relation to roads, sidewalks, buildings and power lines, so they can perform spot tree and shrub removal work when needed. Apart from knowing how trees are situated and what they need, the arborist must also have a general knowledge of landscape architecture and irrigation systems. With these skills, one can be an effective arborist.