What is tree surgery? Is it just a fancy word for pruning or lopping branches off trees? Would it be cheaper and easier to just hire a neighbourhood teenager to climb your tree and remove some dead branches or raise your canopy? Entrusting the health of your trees to an amateur is as foolhardy as entrusting an amateur to perform a medical procedure on your body. That's why arborists, the tree experts who perform tree surgery, are called tree surgeons and not wood butchers.
These are some of the jobs a tree surgeon typically does:
- Canopy raising is a process of carefully removing low hanging limbs to allow more light under a tree, provide headroom, encourage growth or make a tree more aesthetically pleasing. The limbs that are removed must be removed correctly and measures must be taken to ensure the exposed stump heals properly and the tree is not in danger of infestation or disease.
- Overhanging branches can be a nuisance and a danger. Removing them requires care or they might cause property damage.
- Directional shaping or tree sculpting can be done for aesthetic or practical reasons. Only a professional tree surgeon can do directional shaping without endangering the health or even the life of a tree.
- Stump removal is another important job that should not be left in the hands of amateurs. A professional has the skills and equipment necessary to ensure full removal of a stump with minimal impact on the surrounding area.
- Scheduled tree maintenance.
- Arborist reports for local councils and development approvals (DAs).
How to Choose a Tree Surgeon
Tree surgery is part of the repertoire of skills learned by an arborist. A trained and certified arborist knows much more than just how to cut branches of trees. They understand everything about trees, from tree biology to their place in the ecological landscape. To be sure you are choosing a tree surgeon and not an unskilled wood butcher who happens to own a chainsaw, make sure they have the training and experience needed to do the job right. A qualified tree surgeon will:
- Have TAFE level or above certification.
- Be able to supply you with references from former satisfied clients.
- Clearly explain what needs to be done.
- Provide you with a detailed written quotation.
- Use safety equipment and take all necessary safety precautions.
To be sure you're getting the right person for your job, get 2 or 3 quotes, but don't make your decision based on price alone. Weigh the arborist's qualifications in the balance as well. A qualified arborist may cost a little more, but tree surgery done right today can pay dividends for decades to come.