tree care

What Is The Role Of An Arborist

Suppose you keep trees on your property – whether home or business – you probably already know a thing or two about tree care. Each day, you ensure that your tree gets plenty of food, water, sunlight, and other essential needs. You may even have taken it upon yourself to trim the trees a few times. But trees are complicated organisms, prone to a wide variety of problems that differ depending on the species and climate; sooner or later, they will require specialized care.

In the simplest terms, an arborist is a tree surgeon. Arborists are specially trained and licensed to work in every aspect of tree care, from evaluations to pruning, the diagnosis and treatment of infections and disease. Arborists are not only responsible for the health of the trees on your property; they also help to ensure the safety of the people who live and work there. They are certified to handle jobs that can be dangerous for untrained people, such as climbing into trees to prune large and potentially unstable branches.

Arborist Duties and Responsibilities

Arboriculturists are professional practitioner of arboriculture, also known as tree management. Their main work is to keep the trees in good health. They usually work in cities and take care of the trees that are planted in different places. If your property has well cared for and maintained trees, then you can hire an arborist for further care of your trees and landscape area. Removing large trees that are dead and diseased is a dangerous work. Moreover, such trees can spread these diseases to other plants and trees. However, if you have a professional arborist, then he will take care of these trees and ensure that they do not get diseased. 

Based on postings that we examined, most arborists share several core duties:

Trim and Prune Trees

One of the foremost responsibilities of an arborist is trimming and pruning trees, shrubs, and other woody plants. Arborists frequently need to climb to a tree’s upper branches using ropes, harnesses, and ladders, and they use hand and power tools to remove branches. This aspect of the job requires thorough knowledge of how to trim trees to encourage healthy growth, along with the physical strength and dexterity to climb and move around a tree’s branches.

Apply Pesticides

Arborists also prevent infestations and pest-related issues by applying pesticides to trees and shrubs. For this part of the job, arborists need to understand the potential risks and benefits of a particular type of pesticide and ensure that the pesticide they are applying will not have adverse effects on the surrounding environment. In some locations, arborists need special licensing to use pesticides.

Remove and Plant Trees

In many cases, arborists also need to remove problematic trees. For example, a tree that is threatening structures or power lines may need to be removed rather than trimmed to prevent damage or property destruction. Arborists also supervise plantings, ensuring that new trees have room to grow without damaging neighbouring areas and that selected tree species will thrive in the surrounding environment.

Maintain Soil Conditions

In addition to caring for the trees, arborists also focus on maintaining soil conditions. This can include testing the soil’s acidity to make sure it is within an acceptable range for the tree type, as well as maintaining moisture levels through regular watering and ensuring proper drainage. If the arborist removes a tree, they may also need to backfill the area or prepare the ground for future planting.

Identify and Treat Tree Diseases

Arborists also use their knowledge of tree anatomy and biology to identify and treat tree diseases. In this aspect of the role, the arborist identifies symptoms such as blights and fungal infections and determines whether a particular tree can be saved. If the infection appears to be limited to a single tree, the arborist may remove it and treat the soil while also examining surrounding trees for indicators of disease.

Consult with Clients

Many arborists also provide consulting for homeowners, landscaping companies, and local governments on tree care and maintenance. These arborists prepare reports and provide advice and guidance on planting and tree placement, maintenance, removal, and disposal. They may also participate directly in the client’s tree maintenance, planting, and removal activities.

Why Should You Prune Your Trees?

There are plenty of reasons to prune a tree. Most tree professionals and Arborists often get asked, “Why is tree pruning important in the tree care and maintenance business?” These main reasons should address that particular question quite effectively.

Pruning For Health Reasons

Caring for the health of a tree is important, obviously.

  • Through the pruning process, dead and/or diseased branches can be removed safely, allowing the tree to develop stronger and healthier ones.
  • There are plenty of reasons why tree branches die or suffer from diseases, but the three most common are lack of sunlight exposure, insect infestation, and storm damage.
  • Exposure to extreme fluctuations in temperature is also a common reason, especially in areas that experience heavy snowstorms during winter or extreme heat during the summer.

Pruning For Structural Reasons

Trees need structural integrity, especially the young and still developing ones.

  • Proper pruning can help a young, newly planted tree develop a sturdier structure, stronger limbs, as well as a lush and beautiful form.

Pruning For Safety Reasons

Trees that are planted in residential properties often sit close to man-made structures such as a house, garage. Toolshed, as well as footpaths, driveways, and walkways. In some cases, homeowners even use tree limbs to hang a swing for the kids.

Picture this: what if one of the bigger limbs or branches of the tree is weakened by disease or is actually dead? That is a potential hazard that should be dealt with right away. It’s not advisable to tie a rope on a tree limb to use as a swing, but a lot of homeowners still do it.

  • Moreover, trees sometimes grow so tall or so wide that they can become a fire hazard when they come in contact with power lines.
  • And if a tree limb is hanging over your home or other structures, a heavy storm could cause it to break and crash into whatever is underneath it.

The Benefits of Proper Tree Pruning

  • It can improve traffic and pedestrian flow. Trees that are located near sidewalks, footpaths, driveways, and bike trails require pruning to remove any runaway branches that may hinder the flow of traffic.
  • It helps ensure a clear view of road signs. Sometimes trees can grow very wide limbs and branches that they can cover street signs, making it difficult for motorists to read or even notice.
  • It helps reduce the occurrence of leaf disease. Proper pruning promotes better airflow through the tree’s canopy, allowing the leaves room to breathe and get rid of excess moisture.
  • It effectively addresses some of the safety risks caused by weakened or damaged limbs. Falling limbs and branches are serious hazards, especially when the tree is located near structures or paths with heavy foot traffic.
  • It reduces the presence of excess shade, which can impede the growth of other plant life around the tree, such as grass and/or shrubbery. It also helps make sure that the lower branches of the tree get enough sunlight and moisture.
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Why Is Tree Pruning Important?

Everyone seems to have a different philosophy on tree pruning. All types of trees benefit from regular pruning.

  • Tree pruning is important because
  • it encourages new growth
  • prevents decay
  • makes trees more structurally sound
  • It is great for the overall health of trees

The fact that tree pruning makes trees safer and increases aesthetic appeal might not be enough to encourage you to prune your tree, so here are a bunch more reasons why you really need to implement a regular pruning program.

Ensures health: Pruning keeps your trees healthy. Pruning involves removing dead, infected, and excess branches. Proper pruning also allows more air circulation and sun exposure for healthy growth. This promotes new growth, balance, and structural integrity.

Safety: Dead branches can pose a risk to life and property, especially during storms. Trees near power lines are also risky. Pruning helps prevent accidents by removing high-risk branches from your tree.

Encourages fruit production: You can prune fruit trees during late winter to promote more growth in spring and summer. When the tree has less volume to maintain, it can put its excess energy stores into producing more fruit.

Appearance: Overgrown trees and hanging branches can look ugly and bring down the curb appeal of your property. Pruning keeps trees in shape and increases the value and look of your property.

More sunlight: Trees can block the entry of sunlight into your home. By clearing the obstructing branches, you can allow more light in and save on power.

Growth control: You can control the growth of your trees through tree pruning. You can make a tree easier to maintain this way. Pruning trees in summer generally limits their growth, while pruning in winter leads to robust growth.

Improves view: You can prune the branches blocking the view of your windows, balconies, and skylights.

What should be pruned?

What needs to be pruned depends on your objectives-

● Deadwood – You can remove dead and decaying branches to maintain the health of your tree.

● Crossing Branches – When branches grow inwards towards the canopy instead of out, they tend to rub against other branches in the wind causing the bark to sheer off. This can lead to fungal disease or pest invasion.

● Lower branches – Known as a canopy lift, this is a great place to start if you are looking to increase light.

When Should You Prune Your Tree?

The ideal time to prune trees is late winter if you want to ensure robust growth. Winter makes the wounds heal faster and ensure less bleeding of sap as the trees are dormant.

You shouldn’t trim trees during fall as your tree takes more time to recover and can develop fungi or diseases.

It’s best to avoid pruning in summer unless you want to reduce the number of fruits or growth of the tree. Fruits trees are annually pruned during late winter to help them grow more fruits.

Spring-blooming trees can be pruned right after they bloom.

Essentially, it boils down to the type of tree and why you want to prune. So first, decide your objectives and then choose the right time to prune.

That being said, you can carry out minor pruning any time of the year. For example, you can remove dead wood, shape canopy, or prune small branches without worrying if it’s summer or winter.

How often should you trim your tree?

It’s best to consider the type, size and health of your tree to decide how often to trim. Some trees like evergreens can go as many as seven years without trimming. On the other hand, it is a practice to trim fruit trees once a year during late winter to increase fruit production.

  • As a rule of thumb, young trees should be trimmed typically every 2 to 3 years.
  • For mature trees, try to trim them once in at least 3 to 5 years.

Types of Tree Trimming

Before we look at tree trimming benefits, let’s discuss the various tree trimming options that you have.

Dead Pruning

This involves trimming the branches that are dead, diseased, or dying. It’s also known as crown cleaning, and it helps in improving the overall appearance of the tree. Many homeowners have conflicting thoughts about this type of tree trimming service despite it being the most basic.

With dead branches, it’s not about whether they’ll fall but rather when. Removing those branches at an early stage minimizes the risk of injury or any possible damage to property. You also prevent sick branches from spreading the disease and enhance the aesthetic appearance of the tree.

At times, you can focus on minimizing the size of the deadwood instead of removing the entire branch. This type of tree trimming makes the tree less dangerous and makes it look cleaner.

Crown Thinning

Also known as crown thinning, this type of tree trimming involves removing weak branches to open the canopy. Crown thinning enhances air and light penetration into the tree. It also lightens the load of the larger branches by removing defective branches.

When crown thinning, ensure you remove unwanted branches throughout the crown without forgetting the edges. Avoid removing too many branches from the centre as this may affect the overall structure of the tree.

Crown Lifting

This is cutting off the lower branches of the tree crown to lessen the mass of the larger limbs. It is done with the aim of clearing sidewalks, roads and removing branches that may be conflicting with your house structure.

This type of tree trimming has adverse effects on fully grown trees since larger branches leave bigger wounds on the tree. Crown lifting is, therefore, recommended for younger plants. It also advisable to avoid over pruning as this may affect the lower limb of the tree negatively.

This type of tree trimming allows your tree to match the surrounding landscape.

Crown Reduction

This involves lessening the overall height of the tree or the mass of the larger branches. This type of tree trimming service is highly recommendable on younger trees than it is for more mature ones. In older trees, it’s better to remove an entire limb instead of reducing it.

In this type of tree trimming, the focus is to remove terminal branches to preserve the main limb. Crown reduction should be made with great care by someone who understands the tree growth pattern. If done the right way, crown reduction allows your tree to continue growing healthy and also minimizes the risk of decaying after pruning.


This tree trimming technique involves removing all branches and remaining with a framework of the secondary branches of the main stem. Pollarding begins when the tree is still young and is done at regular intervals during the tree’s lifespan. This trimming is done to provide a constant supply of small diameter poles.

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