Arborists are often called tree surgeons because their business bears a resemblance to how a doctor works on people. In the industry, however, the two labels would never be used interchangeably! Despite their title, tree surgeons do not have the same training or knowledge as certified arborists. The difference will show in the quality of the work.
What Do Tree Surgeons Do?
Tree surgeons are often hired to do the dirty work: pruning, cutting down trees and removing limbs or stumps. They are hired to safely remove parts of or the whole of a tree so that the homeowner, with no experience using dangerous equipment, doesn’t have to do it themselves.
The problem is that even though they call themselves “surgeons,” tree surgeons require no formal education or certification. The job can involve extensive training and experience working with others in the industry, and even with professional arborists, but it’s not a title towards which one has to work. Anyone can call themselves a tree surgeon!
What Makes An Arborist?
An arborist must have the necessary qualifications and certifications to claim the job title. They do not look at just one part of the tree to lop it off, but rather diagnose the entire body of the tree so that the right solution is performed. Arborists have special knowledge about the actual science of arboriculture, letting them work in the cultivation, management, and study of not just individual trees, nut also shrubs, vines, and woody plants. They know a lot more than just how to use pruning sheers properly!
To become a certified arborist, many hours of in-class and apprenticeship training are required. It can be done through the Ontario College of Trades, and the work isn’t easy: the training consists of 5,340 hours of on-the-job work experience and 660 hours of in-school training. After all this, an arborist can do what a tree surgeon does and so much more, working as the real tree doctor.
Who Should I Hire To Work On My Tree?
There are many respectable, experienced tree surgeons out there, but there are also many without the know-how needed to protect and save a tree. Workers often find that with the right equipment and by calling themselves surgeons, they can get into the industry easily. Many in the business do not make tree preservation or overall health a priority, but rather will cut off whatever they think is damaged or diseased or what the homeowner tells them to cut.
Tree surgeons can work side-by-side with arborists, but rarely would they call themselves that when actual arborists are on the job. A qualified company should have certified arborists to make tough decisions. But before hiring anyone, arborist or tree surgeon, do your research to ensure that any work will be done safely and with your tree in mind!