Difference Between a Tree Surgeon and an Arborist

When it comes to tree care, there are two different professions that you will come across. The first is the Tree Surgeon. This professional focuses on taking down trees and pruning them back into shape for safety reasons. 

The other profession is called an Arborist. An arborist’s work revolves around planting and maintaining trees as well as removing invasive plant species like a weed whacker would remove weeds from your backyard garden. 

One of the main differences between these two professions lies in how they approach tree removal- while a Tree Surgeon would take down the entire tree if needed, an Arborist would only cut off branches or limbs to maintain a healthy tree while also preserving its natural beauty!

A tree surgeon is someone who works with trees and their branches, performing tasks such as pruning or removing them. An arborist is an expert in the care of trees. They are often called upon for consultation or to perform inspections on a property before buying it, dealing with storm damage, or other sorts of problems that might arise from having a large number of trees on one’s land.

To have an arborist is to trust a professional in the practice of arboriculture. Just as we have a veterinarian, a mechanic, a doctor or a surgeon, the arborist is the right person for the care of trees and palms. And tree surgeon studies individual trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennial woody plants. 

So the difference between a tree surgeon and an arborist is only in their study. They both have different degrees, but their duties are almost the same. You can find the best tree surgeon in your local area just by searching on Google.

The trees have genetics, age, vigour, structure, diseases, plagues, decay, aggressions, emergencies, breaks, rots, collapses, youth, maturity, commitments and personality. They are also huggable, enjoyable and cool in summer. They can become solemn and become patrimonial. They accompany us and survive, providing their benefits to our children and grandchildren. So to hire a tree arborist plays an important role in your garden.

How About A Tree Surgeon?

Tree surgeons diagnoses and treats diseases, fungi, nutrient deficiencies and other problems that affect trees. Arborists visit the homes of the clients to examine their trees.

He will study the bark for signs of decay and analyse the leaves for irregular changes in colour.

He will also inspect the tree root structure and use their binoculars to see the upper branches. If he/she cannot make a diagnosis based on a visual inspection, he will take samples from the tree to a laboratory to be analysed.

Once the problem is identified, they’ll create a treatment plan using pesticides or fungicides, applying the medicine to the bark of the tree or a specific irrigation and a fertiliser plan.

If required, they will remove diseased or infected sections of the tree. When the trees are dead or beyond the treatment, you can officially remove them from the property.

How To Choose A Tree Specialist?

Always request the curriculum, the control of training and experience in the interventions of arboriculture. Ask for references to find out who has done similar work on what you need.

Check through the curriculum and if the arborist belongs to a professional organisation. Belonging to an organisation demonstrates the willingness on the part of the arborist to continue updated and, consequently, the ability to perform quality interventions on trees.

Always ask for a quote (written) that describes in detail the work that the arborist will perform. A low offer may be indicative of a lack of quality in the work to be done. When comparing different quotes, this should be based on economics and consider several points, such as employment history, technical and organisational capacity, competence, professionalism, and guarantee of respect for the work’s success.

Check the existence of liability insurance; also request a copy of the insurance policy. Request certification and verification that the employees are properly insured.

If the surgery is carried out using the technique of tree climbing, make sure that the arborist is qualified for climbing work. In general, make sure that the arborist complies for the work to be done, with all the safety rules at work.

The Benefits Of Tree Surgery Or Arborist

There are many ways to prepare your garden and prepare it for the summer. Trees can provide many benefits so that your garden can offer your family environmental pleasure; therefore, it is necessary to maintain it correctly. Because of this, you will have to hire the best tree surgeon to do the work for you.

They can help you preserve your environment and offer you different services. They can also give you good advice and suggestions on how you are going to treat your trees.

Sick, damaged and dying trees can dramatically decrease the attractiveness of your property. If you plan to see your home in the future, you need an attractive landscape to seal the deal.

A good arborist tree surgery services reach the heart of your tree’s problems and quickly restore the appearance of your property. So a healthy and happy tree can look much better on your property and provide a general joy to the aesthetics of your home.

Tree Surgeon

A tree surgeon is a horticultural maintenance engineer who is responsible for felling trees, pruning branches and shrubs, planting, replanting, splitting logs and hedge-cutting.  Tree surgery is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, with a high potential for incident due to the heights involved and the powered machinery which must be used to do the job. 

However, those who become involved with the profession tend to find the role very exciting and continue with it as a long-term career.

Being a tree surgeon suits those who hanker after an outdoor lifestyle; the candidate must be prepared to work outdoors in all conditions, and this forms a large part of the appeal in many cases. 

It is hard, physical work, and keeps the candidate in good physical condition. Hot summer days can often be worse than the cold winter mornings! 

A good tree surgeon is both an experienced climber and a skilled power-tool technician and needs to be able to use complicated and dangerous equipment in an elevated and precarious position. It is certainly one of the truly challenging outdoor jobs.



The starting salary for an unskilled junior who wishes to join an established company without industry qualifications is £11,500, rising to £14,500 after the first two years of experience. After three years of experience and accreditation from the Arboricultural Association (at diploma level), the salary can rise to between £18,500 and £20,500, although this can reach £30,000 depending on arw and size of the business.

Often a tree surgeon will operate as a sole trader or small partnership, and fees are based on a day rate. This can range from £60 a day up to £135 per day, depending on experience and demand. It tends to be a career choice for those who crave thrills and outdoor air instead of fabulous remuneration or an easy life.


Listen to customer requirements for site work and prepare on-site or telephone quotations.

Arrive at site on the agreed day and commence work at the pre-agreed time.

Complete the necessary felling, pruning, planting, replanting, log removal and hedge work.

Tidy site on completion and fulfil removal of waste product from customer’s site. Invoice for work and appraise future customer work requirements. Ensure all insurance documents for personal injury, and public liability are valid.


It is possible to enter the profession as an unskilled trainee with no academic qualifications, and candidates taking this route need to understand that remuneration is quite poor. However, the on-site experience gained from going out with an experienced tree surgeon will stand the candidate in good stead. 

Also, various certifications and accreditation certificates can be studied for and achieved, supported by the ongoing work experience. The Arboricultural Association website is the best place to start. It pays to have a pre-defined idea as to the specialisations the candidate wishes to study to support their rapid career development.


  • Be proficient with power tools and other powered equipment.
  • Understanding of the dangers and complexities involved with the various aspects of work.
  • Be familiar with how best to ensure the safety of all personnel and of the customer, their family and their staff.
  • To be able to complete work in a timely and professional manner.
  • Have a desire to push towards further academic, professional advancement.

Working Conditions

Logging routinely figures in surveys as the second most dangerous job in the world, behind deep-sea fishing; certain elements of the tree surgeon’s occupation fall into the same risk category as logging. 

This is an extremely dangerous job, with constant threats to health and safety, not just from the use of power tools or falling, but also long term health risks from heavy lifting and repeated twisting movements. Yet, a healthy individual will settle into the rigours of the daily job and become much fitter as a result.

It is worth noting that for candidates who wish to enter the profession as self-employed business owners, insurance premiums for personal injury and public liability risks are extremely high; this needs to be factored into operating costs when preparing an initial business plan. 

Juxtaposed with this high level of risk, there is the converse appeal of working outside in nice weather (on occasion) and breathing clean air all day. Contrast this to the hum-drum, grey existence of many an office job, and the tree surgeon’s appeal becomes more tangible.


Many candidates who join with zero qualifications do so between the ages of 18 and 25. If the candidate does not wish to study at college before commencing full-time employment, then the younger, the better in terms of starting age, as this will allow for quickly developing the skills needed to progress with one’s career in the longer term. After four to five years, candidates who are working for established tree surgery firms should then have a skill set that will enable them to set up their own business, even if their learning process is not yet fully complete.

Is It Hard To Start A Tree Surgery Business

Well, yes,  job done!. No, seriously, starting any business is nothing but hard work, long days, low income, high risk. See ya later… Still here? Anyone who has skill and determination can make a business work. It takes patients, lots of it.

I started my business at 18, paid for my own courses and everything. Which is why I say get some experience and learn on someone else’s time if its an option. Everybody needs help in one form or another, don’t be scared to ask.

Why Do You Want To Start A Tree Surgery Business?

Well, if you love trees, outdoors, and chainsaws like me, you’re off to a great start. The tree surgery industry is booming because machinery and equipment combined with new methods has removed some of the backbreaking work out of it. Tho don’t be fooled, there are still backs breaking in this industry. Its highly dangerous, very manly, but I’m thankful to say some great females are running a business and working alongside us men.

How Long Will It Take To Succeed In Building A Successful Tree Surgery Business?

How long is your harness rope? Seriously, that’s an infinite response question. It depends on how hard the owner works, how many hours, how much money they can invest, and how they can secure good quality, reliable staff. 

That is just the tip of the iceberg. I would loosely say expect 1-3 years of zero profit, 3-5 years maybe a small profit, 5-10 years and you should by now be making a reasonable wage and enjoy good cash flow with profit per end of the year. After that, are you still there? There are many tests along the way that will make you question your faith in keeping it going. 

Don’t Worry About Your Competitors, They Don’t Pay The Bills

You can get all tied up worrying about what your competitors are doing, stop right there. What a waste of your valuable time. Know who your competition is but don’t blind yourself with what they are doing. We all have unique paths and goals. We are all individuals, what works for them won’t work for you.

Always keep an eye on changes to the industry, new equipment, methods etc. If your competitors have good ideas, learn from them, try not to copy them, they will always be in front of someone copying from two steps behind.

Respect your competitors and appreciate their success, learn from it. Negative thoughts breed negative actions. Be positive and focused on your business first and foremost.

Does Image Matter If I Am Already A Great Tree Surgeon?

You should already know this, tut, tut!. Would you buy a crap looking car? Me neither, how do you know it’s any good?. The image provides your customer’s first impression to decide on you before you even waffle out your sales pattern. 

It does not guarantee the quality, but it is the first shot in securing business. A lot of tree companies fail immensely with their image. Don’t be a victim, be a logo. Apple built an amazing brand, recognised by a tiny apple symbol. 

That symbol represents their superior quality, not just how they are identified. We have trademarked our logo and names for the same reason, we offer a superior service by which our customers recognise our brand for that quality. Your competitors may try to pass off as you, protect your name. Image matters!.

Keeping The Faith In My New Tree Surgery Business

tree pruning services

The idea of a new business that can provide a handsome income is every entrepreneur’s dream. But, unfortunately, it does, however, demand certain costs you must bear in order to achieve it. Unfortunately, this is the bit where a lot of budding entrepreneurs fail. 

As mentioned in the video, family and friends will suffer in your endeavour to achieve your goal, working 7 days a week 10+ hours per day can test the strongest of us. This part becomes personal, you must decide if the juice is worth the squeeze.

 I do recommend never put your family second, a strong lesson in life I personally learnt. Unfortunately for me, I have one speed, one path and blind determination. Thankfully, I have learned to delegate and prioritise family, not as much as I should, but we are always learning to become better than yesterday.

Once You Reach A Level Of Success In Your Tree Surgery Business What Next?

Its all about balance, only you can know what to do here. Your personal circumstances will determine your best path to the future. As I mentioned, family first, its cost is zero, its reward to you is priceless, and money can never buy time. I am not the millionaire id like to be because I now choose to balance my life with my boys. They are my million!. If I continued on the blind path toward what was my original goal, I would win nothing.

Over a decade, your life will change, adapt and always be prepared to change. As I type, I realise I have adapted my original message, ironic. My idea of success is no longer the appearance of my company or the money in its accounts. Old habits change slowly. My greatest advice today would be, focus, be determined but know where the line is drawn.

Can You Become A Millionaire Tree Surgeon?

No, an individual tree surgeon will always be limited by the amount of work they can produce per day, which won’t make a million, not for a few decades anyway. Average salaries are around 25-35k per year. 

Can a tree surgeon become a millionaire running a tree surgery business? Yes, I think so, depending on many factors, its certainly possible. At least 3-5 companies near me turn over a million+ per year. 

Factor in a decade or two, and you could say they are millionaires in assets and money, perhaps. However, in this present-day industry, I would think its still a tall order to do from scratch. Therefore, So I would advise you to set your goals a little more realistic, hitting that million per year is possible, but at what cost?.

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