No matter whether you own or rent your property, or are tasked with maintaining a commercial property or HOA, most home owners, renters and property managers neglect one vital component of property care: proper tree maintenance.
Often overlooked until a serious problem arises, maintaining tree health is about more than just keeping trees alive. And while the trees on your property should be cared for on a regular basis to ensure tree health and overall safety, arboriculture is no simple undertaking. More often than not, a tree specialist is necessary to get the job done correctly.
What Is an Arborist?
By definition, an arborist is a specialist in the cultivation and care of trees and shrubs, the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of tree diseases, and the control of pests.
Put more succinctly: an arborist is a specialist in the care and maintenance of trees.
As most people think of landscapers when they think of trees and bushes, it’s important to know the difference between landscapers and professional arborists. Landscapers can provide general, basic grounds maintenance; however, arborists are true tree professionals.
The International Society of Arboriculture provides a professional certification that designates the highest level of training and knowledge in all aspects of arboriculture. ISA Certified Arborists are accredited by the American National Standards Institute and meet the ISA Code of Ethics. To even take the ISA Certified Arborist exam, applicants must have at least three years of full-time practical work experience in arboriculture and a degree in the field of arboriculture, horticulture, landscape architecture or forestry.
What Does an Arborist Do?
As tree specialists, arborists often times act as tree doctors. Knowledgeable and trained in all manners of tree health, ISA Certified Arborists provide preventative care to keep trees in prime condition. This “preventative care” or maintenance can help reduce the risk of future growth defects, insect infestations and disease.
If infection or disease is found in a tree, arborists can treat the tree and bring it back to health. While treatments vary, occasionally trees are too far gone and require removal. Considered a last resort for any tree-lover, tree removal is a vital service. Often underestimated, tree removal can be extremely dangerous, and amateur removal can result in severe injury or property damage.
Arborists with an ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ) are also able to provide tree risk assessments and use a standardized, systematic process. TRAQ-certified arborists are able to correctly assess risk to property and people, and make recommendations that safely promote tree health.
In addition to providing tree healthcare and safe removal, tree specialists know the correct pruning and trimming techniques to improve appearance, health and fruit production of virtually any tree. While regular pruning and trimming is vital to tree health, if done improperly trees can be damaged and defects can form. Arborist also provide bracing and cabling services to help foster safe tree growth.
As populations grow in the west and development continues to expand into the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), defensible space is vital to keeping properties safe and preventing the spread of wildfires. Arborists trained in WUI assessments and crews trained in fire mitigation can properly dispose of dead and dying trees, remove ladder fuel, create fire breaks and perform other fuel reduction procedures.
So, to sum it all up: What is an arborist?
An arborist is the person you call for all of your tree care needs.