Arborist men with chainsaw and lifting platform cutting a tree.

Arborists: What They Are, What They Do and How to Become One

Arborists are highly skilled professionals who take care of trees. They are certified and insured to perform a variety of services, from tree trimming and pruning to hazard evaluations and removals.

They typically charge by the hour, and the cost can vary depending on the project at hand. They may also charge a consultation fee to come out and assess the health of a tree.

An arborist will generally focus on finding a particular balance between the quality of the environment and the individual plants they are working with.

They will constantly learn the latest techniques that provide health for sick trees, and safety for surrounding areas.

climbing odd nodules

Arborist’s Scope of Work

Maintains trees and woody plants to ensure their proper, healthy, safe, and attractive state by applying chemicals, repairing damage, wiring, fertilizing, watering, pruning, and removing any dead or dying trees or other woody plants.

determine an individual's level of job skill

What Services Does an Arborist Provide?

The short answer is whatever the job calls for. No job is too big for an arborist.

Tree trimming and pruning:

This includes removing dead or diseased limbs, thinning out the crown of the tree, and shaping it into the desired form.

Hazard evaluations:

Arborists can inspect trees for potential hazards, such as weak limbs that could fall and cause damage or injure someone.

Tree removals:

If a tree is diseased, dying, or poses a hazard, an arborist may be called in to remove it.

Stump grinding:

Once a tree has been removed there is usually a stump left behind. Arborists can grind the stump down to below ground level so it’s no longer visible.

Cabling and bracing:

Branches that are growing too close to each other or in danger of breaking may be cables or braced to improve the tree’s stability.

Perennial Woody Plants

To have an arborist is to trust a professional in the practice of arboriculture. Your property will thank you.

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 wooded plants.

Lumberjack with chainsaw and harness pruning a tree. high wind scares other consumers

What Type of arboreal Services Do They Perform?

In addition to the services listed above, arborists may also be called in to do the following:

  • Provide advice on planting new trees
  • Install or repair fences and gates around properties with large trees
  • Remove ivy or other vines that are damaging a tree’s bark or structure
  • Harvesting wood and removing mushrooms forming
  • General tree care, including removing twigs growing on the trunk other trunk problems.

When Does a Project Require an Arborist?

Arborists should be consulted any time there is a question about the health of a tree. They can help identify potential problems and recommend solutions.

In some cases, such as when a tree is diseased or dying, it may need to be removed before it causes property damage or someone gets injured. In other cases, a tree may just need some corrective trimming to bring it back into shape.

It’s always best to consult an arborist before taking any action that could potentially harm a tree. They can provide an unbiased opinion and make sure the correct course of action is taken to preserve the health of the tree.

Midsection of legs of arborist man with harness cutting a tree, climbing

Arborists Certification

To earn an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist credential, you must be trained and knowledgeable in all aspects of arboriculture. ISA Certified Arborists must also adhere to the Code of Ethics that strengthens the credibility and reliability of the workforce. To be eligible for the ISA Certified Arborist exam, you must have one or both of the following:

  • Three or more years of full-time, eligible, practical work experience in arboriculture.
  • A degree in the field of arboriculture, horticulture, landscape architecture, or forestry from a regionally accredited educational institute.

This certification covers a large number of topics giving the candidates flexibility in the arboricultural profession. For more information on how to become an ISA Certified Arborist:

International Society of Arboriculture.

The ISA is recognized by the public as the world’s leading organization for science-based information on the advantages and care of trees. The value of trees, a need for optimal tree care, and the environmental benefits of trees are all well understood by the general public.

Why Become a Certified Arborist?

The ISA Certified Arborist credential distinguishes you as someone who has the tenacity, dedication, and knowledge to succeed. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has accredited the ISA Certified Arborist program, which meets and exceeds ISO 17024.

Tree work is one thing, but certified arborists have the knowledge to identify and correct defects before they become a safety hazard. Certification also provides an opportunity for arborists to increase their knowledge of tree biology, pests, diseases, and other important topics related to tree care.

The ISA Certified Arborist credential is your mark of distinction as a professional in the field of arboriculture.

Certified Arborists Generally Earn More Money.

As a certified arborist, you will be able to charge more for your services since you will be the most knowledgeable and skilled in the field. However, your services will be worth the investment.

Tree Care Professionals vs Certified Arborists

There is a difference between a tree care professional and a professional arborist. There are also some small differences between professional arborists and certified arborists.

Tree care professionals are people who offer services such as trimming, pruning, and removal but may not have the certification or experience to be called an arborist. Professional arborists may or may not be certified. They generally focus on tree removal, dead branches, tree planting, and general tree services.

A company’s online reputation can be on the line if certain cultural practices are not common on the property.

A professional must be trained in transplanting and treatment of garden cultivation.

A certified arborist will likely be more interested in structural defects, structural support, any serious root issues, soil analysis, and an overall healthier tree environment.

ISA arborists typically perform soil analysis, which could lead to soil amendments. They know that to ensure proper growth, it’s important to test soil acidity. It may also be necessary to apply fertilizer or soil amendments to help the trees grow.

So Then, What is a Tree surgeon?

Tree surgeons study individual trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennial wooded plants. They are professionally known as arborists. There are some minor differences between tree surgeons and arborists.

A tree surgeon, or arborist, is someone who has knowledge in the field of tree care and can offer assistance such as trimming, pruning, and removal.

Tree surgeons typically focus on tree removal, dead branches, tree planting, and general tree services. They may also offer soil analysis, which is important for the growth of trees. Tree surgeons also treat gardens and other outdoor green spaces. Roots are the most important part of the tree. Treatment can vary based on the roots issues.

For instance, if your tree forms bumps at the roots it could be a sign of poor soil acidity quality.

If you are unsure whether or not you need a certified arborist, it’s always best to consult one. When consulting arborists, you must note that arborists generally focus on the tree care industry association standards. They can help identify potential problems with your trees and recommend the best course of action to take.

If you need emergency tree service then you should likely just use the Google Maps section and look for someone in your area.


Consult with a professional before starting your next big project.

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