Anyone can trim a tree, but only a certified professional deserves to be called an arborist. A genuine arborist is like a doctor for trees. They are ultimately concerned with the health of each tree, not just with cleaning up a mess after a storm. To be a certified arborist, you must study tree science and have several years of experience working with another arborist.
Taking care of trees is a dangerous job requiring knowledge, skill, and understanding. The arborist must know how to safely climb the tree, use the right type of saw, and see that the limbs removed fall where desired. If a limb falls wrong, people can be injured and property can be damaged. It takes skill and experience to be able to predict where a limb will fall. It also takes training and good judgment to be able to tell which limbs need to be removed for the tree’s ultimate health.
Arborists are called upon when a tree is unsafe. For instance, an overgrown tree hanging over a home can be a hazard when a strong wind comes through. Yet, most homeowners don’t want the tree simply removed, since a large tree is a source of beauty and shade. A good arborist can trim the tree so that it continues to provide shade and beauty without being a danger to the home.
The tools of an arborist are many and varied. For instance, they use many different types of cutting tools, from lopping shears to chain saws. They also use ropes and climbing gear for getting into trees safely. They use cables and attachments to train limbs into different positions when the limbs are not growing in an attractive or safe manner.
Arborists also have special types of clothing they must use. For instance, they need protective gloves to protect their hands from splinters and cutting tool accidents. They also use special shoes equipped for climbing trees. Sometimes they use pants and other items that are reinforced for protection.
Finally, a certified arborist is usually equipped with a truck that has equipment for getting into the tops of trees. The common name for such a truck is a “cherry picker,” because it has an arm with a lift for raising the arborist high into the tree.
A person who would be a good candidate for becoming an arborist would be limber and agile, and not be afraid of heights. They would enjoy studying science and math. They would not be stressed by dangerous situations and would be able to stay calm when hard safety decisions needed to be made. But most of all, a potential arborist needs to be someone who appreciates and enjoys trees.
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