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What is an Arborist?

You will often hear us talk about our crews, technicians, and arborists. You probably know what an excavator operator does, but you could have questions about the purpose of an arborist. And yet, in our line of work, an arborist is crucial when we transplant trees.

Arborists are tree specialists who take care of trees. That means they know everything about tree care, tree health, tree removal, tree pruning, tree planting, and tree management. Arborists know tree varieties, how they grow, and what they need to thrive.

With their specialist knowledge, our arborists guide us in making the best possible choices when it comes to tree transplantation.

What Does an Arborist Do?

To give you an idea about the job of an arborist, the name itself comes from the Latin word arbor which means tree. So, an arborist is a tree specialist.

Arborists have studied trees and have extensive knowledge regarding tree growing.

Arborists Know about Tree Planting

An arborist will tell you which tree to plant and where. They will evaluate the soil, sunlight conditions, hardiness zone, available space, and the general location to offer you the best options for your tree planting.

Arborists are particularly essential in urban settings. In the middle of forests, trees behave differently compared to an urban setting. In the forest, trees have decaying forest leaves to give them the nutrients they need. In urban environments, the soil could be poor or require nutritional support.

In an urban location, the arborist will take into consideration buildings and shade, fences, sidewalks, and driveways to determine which tree will grow happily under these circumstances.

Arborists Know how to Prune Trees

Some trees require minimum pruning while others require major pruning interventions to create a beautiful canopy and provide sunlight throughout the branches. An arborist will know which trees to prune and how much.

Arborists Know About Tree Health

Is your tree losing leaves in the middle of summer? Do you have dead branches and falling crops? Reach out to an arborist who will study the tree and determine the health issues affecting it. This specialist will know how to fight diseases, fungi, and bacteria and how to help your tree regain its health.

How to Become an Arborist

If you’re passionate about trees and enjoy working outside, then you may be well-suited for a career as an arborist.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies arborists under the broader category of conservation scientists and foresters [1] and predicts a growth in the field of 7% by 2030. About 4,000 openings for conservation scientists, foresters, and arborists are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many jobs in the area don’t have any formal education requirements. Instead, employers offer some initial on-the-job training, particularly relating to working with the equipment.

If, however, you wish to maximize your opportunities for advancement, it is best if you are licensed and certified. For example, most states require workers who use pesticides to be licensed. That is why a degree may be helpful even if it’s not required, and certification is recommended.

Thankfully, the industry offers multiple certification options. The International Society of Arboriculture offers six certifications for workers at various experience levels and the Tree Care Industry Association offers a Certified Tree Care Safety Professional (CTSP) program.

If you’re now finishing high school, the best way to become an arborist is to earn an associate degree in environmental science or a bachelor’s degree in forestry or horticulture. Depending on the state where you wish to work, you may also need an arborist license.

Armed with your formal qualifications, you can apply for an internship at a tree care company. This will familiarize you with the tools and procedures arborists use in the field and teach you basic arborist safety. As a beginning arborist, you will likely perform hard work, such as climbing trees to trim them, working with power tools and heavy machinery, and using pesticides and fertilizers. You will also come into contact with insects, wildlife, and poisonous plants. On-the-job training will teach you how to stay safe and secure in the field.

Once you have some experience pruning and caring for trees, you can complete the arborist certification program (ACP) from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Credentialing Council [2]. An ACP credential will open up several new possibilities for your career, as you can then apply for other related credentials offered by ISA such as arborist utility specialist, arborist municipal specialist, tree worker climber specialist, tree worker aerial lift specialist, certified master arborist, and tree risk assessment qualification.

Tree Movers and Arborists

Tree movers need arborists because we see trees as valuable investments that uphold the value of the land. Trees carry history in their branches and help communities focus around them.  

Moving a tree requires patience, planning, and careful strategy. It could take us months to find the right place for the new tree planting and establish the proper route to take. Such hard work should not go to waste. Our arborists help us ensure that trees are lifted properly, their roots are pruned correctly, and their new location is the optimal one.

An Arborist Tells Us how to Root Prune

Before transplanting a tree, particularly a large one, we prune its roots. This is done two seasons before the actual tree transplanting to give time for new feeder roots to develop. These feeder roots will provide the tree with the soil nutrients it needs to grow in its new location.

Our arborist decides how much root pruning we should do, depending on the tree and the type, depth, and width of the roots. For example, trees like oaks have a central taproot: these trees require different handling compared to trees with spreading superficial roots.

When we know how to root prune, we maximize the chances that the tree will survive the tree transplant.

An Arborist Tells Us Which Location Is Best

Before digging out a tree, we must first find a suitable new location. Our arborist will consider how large the tree will grow in the next decades. They will determine the type of soil the particular tree requires as well as other requirements such as zone hardiness, sunlight exposure, or proximity to buildings. Armed with this knowledge, we can make the best possible choice for the new tree location.

An Arborist Tells Us How to Take Care of the Newly Transplanted Tree

 When a tree is transplanted, it inevitably suffers from transplant shock. It must grow new roots to feed itself and must get accustomed to its new location. This can take up to five years.

Our arborist will establish the tree care routine in its new location and let us know how much water the tree requires and what types of nutrients to provide, if necessary.

Arborists Are Essential Partners during Tree Transplant

Trees can be centerpieces for a whole community and boost the value of public and private developments. Environmental Design Inc. has 40+ years of experience and we have relocated trees that were almost 1 million pounds heavy.

Our projects have such high rates of success because we trust our arborists to give us the best advice on tree care, tree health, and tree maintenance. By ensuring that our trees thrive in their new locations, our arborists help make all our efforts worthwhile.

We have offices in Texas, California, and Minnesota, and move trees across the United States and even abroad. Contact us today at (800) 376 – 4260 or visit Environmental Design Inc. online to discuss your needs!