Isn’t an arborist just someone who trims and cuts down trees?
While tree trimming and removals are what those who work in a tree business do most it is not all that arborists do. And not everyone who is working in a tree business is qualified to be called an arborist.The safety standard by which the hazardous job of tree work is done without danger is ANSI Z133, or better known among arborists as simply “the Z”. This standard defines two types of working arborists: the qualified arborist, and the qualified arborist trainee.
A qualified arborist is defined as one who “by possession of a recognized degree, certification, or professional standing, or through related training and on-the-job-experience, is familiar with the equipment and hazards involved in arboricultural operations and who has demonstrated ability in the performance of the special techniques involved.” Everyone else doing tree work is defined by the Z as a trainee.Arboriculture is defined as “The art, science, technology, and business of utility, commercial, and municipal tree care.” Residential tree care is included in the “commercial” division of typical tree care services. Property management and realty companies are commercial customers with primarily residential applications, although there may be commercial properties included in their responsibilities.Certified Arborists have achieved professional distinction and recognition by the International Society of Arboriculture, which is the governing organization for professional arborists. They do so by applying to take the Certified Arborist Exam, and only those who can provide documented evidence of a certain number of years of experience may sit for the Exam. Certified Arborists bring significant training and experience to the test chair.The Certified Arborist Exam covers ten “Domains” having to do with the various aspects of tree care. These domains are weighted within the test to reflect the priorities which the ISA places on the knowledge and experience of arborists who seek professional credentials.
The domains in order of their weight are: Pruning – 16%, Safe Work Practices – 15%, Tree Risk Management – 13%, Diagnosis and Treatment – 12%, Soil Management – 12%, Identification and Selection – 8%, Tree Biology – 8%, Urban Forestry – 7%, Installation and Establishment – 5%, Tree Protection – 4%.
As this list of domains shows, there is a lot more to what a Certified Arborist must know and have experience doing than just trimming and removing trees. Yes, pruning is the most important aspect of tree care, because like the oath Doctors pledge, the arborist’s primary concern is “first, do no harm”. Proper pruning techniques are critical to effective tree care. But there is much more to tree care than cutting, and modern full-service tree work requires many more specific tools than just a chain saw.
Trees are living beings with highly specialized and complex biological systems that require care to maintain health and vitality. They are cooperative within their environments with animals and other plants in remarkable ways. The benefits they provide to humanity are virtually immeasurable. Like every other living being we know of, trees have basic critical needs that if neglected lead to weakness, illness, and eventually death.
In future blog posts we will go into more detail about the various aspects of tree work designed to eliminate hazards, reduce risks, and enhance the beauty, vitality, and longevity of your trees wherever they may be. We will talk more about the specialized knowledge and experienced techniques a Certified Arborist can apply for the benefit of customers, their trees, and their properties.