Last Updated Nov 20, 2017 · Written by Rob Schneider
An arborist may also be called an arboriculturist, but arborist is more common. Arborists are also called "tree doctors" or "tree surgeons," but those terms don't cover everything an arborist can do. In general, arborists are thought to be tree experts, but arborists can also do work related to any woody plant such as shrubs and bushes. What can an arborist do for you?
Tree consultation can cover a number of issues. An arborist may:
Tree consultation will include a detailed report. In some cases, an arborist may be needed to send a tree report to council. Many trees are protected and others may need council permission to be removed. An arborist's report will mention why a protected species may need to be removed and outline tree removal methods.
Planting trees should not be a DIY job because their roots need a healthy start. An arborist can give advice about the best trees, bushes or shrubs to plant in any location and where it should be in proximity to the house. They can then use the proper equipment to plant the tree and make sure the root system stays healthy.
If a tree needs transplanting, an arborist can transplant the tree and ensure it doesn't die after it is transplanted. Transplanting a tree can be difficult because the arborist must often know which roots to leave intact and which ones they can cut. When they transplant the tree, they make sure the root system can flourish and the tree survive.
When planting or transplanting any tree, ongoing maintenance is required to ensure its health. An arborist can do soil testing and fertilise when necessary. This is particularly important in residential areas, where soil conditions are often poor. Fertilising may be done by injecting the soil with fertiliser to make sure the fertiliser reaches the roots. In some cases. an arborist may also inject a tree with nutrients.
Tree removal can be a complex procedure and the cost of tree removal can be high in some cases. A smaller tree can be fairly easy to remove, but tall trees must be removed from the top down. The arborist must be careful not to damage fences, houses and other structures and in many cases has to manually lower limbs to avoid damaging property.
Arborists need to take steps to ensure their safety when working on tall trees. At the same time, they need to ensure they don't damage property. In many cases, an arborist will climb a tree and remove limbs and the trunk from the top down. In other cases, they may use a truck hoist, which will come at an extra cost. In all cases, a qualified arborist will inspect a tree or trees that need removal first and give a quote based on their experience at removing trees.
Stump removal and root removal are two different processes. To remove a stump, an arborist will use a stump grinder. They will remove the stump below the surface to allow for the soil to be placed in the cavity and a lawn or plants can replace the tree.
Root removal may be needed in some cases because some trees will regenerate from roots. This is a different process and requires some digging and cutting. An arborist will know which roots may regenerate and will remove them. Root removal will cost more than stump grinding because of the extra work involved, but can sometimes be necessary.
Root management is another way an arborist can prevent roots from damaging sewerage pipes or a foundation. They may remove some roots or create a barrier so the root cannot damage pipes or a foundation.
Dead branches can pose a danger to people or property because they eventually fall. Diseased branches need to be removed to prevent the disease from spreading and killing a tree. An arborist knows how to prune branches and remove diseased branches without damaging a tree. Tree pruning can also allow more light to fall on lawns and in many cases, tree pruning needs to be done around power lines.
As in tree removal, an arborist may need to climb a tree or use a truck hoist to remove dead or diseased branches. They will also often need to take safety precautions and may need to secure a limb and lower it to the ground. If branches are in a safe location, they may allow them to fall, but not before checking to see no one is below and shouting a warning.
Some arborists can do many other jobs. For example, they may cut trees they have removed into lengths and split the logs so you can use them as firewood. Some arborists can even have large trees milled so you can use the timber for projects around the house.
After removing stumps or roots, an arborist can level the ground and even seed an area so there is not a bald patch in the garden. If you want to replace the tree with a lawn, some arborists can also turf the area.
Arborists often mulch branches they use. They can sell you the mulch that can be used in the garden.
Not all arborists do all of these jobs, so ask before you choose an arborist. One thing any arborist should do is remove all signs of branches or trees they have removed. This should be included in the cost.
Arborists do not have to be licensed. This means almost anyone can claim to be an arborist. You need to be careful when choosing an arborist and choose an experienced arborist who takes all safety measures. Ask arborists:
Get several quotes from arborists and choose the best one based not on price alone. Arborists should give you detailed quotes that outline all their services. They should also have all the qualifications listed above. Arboriculture can be dangerous work and a good arborist should have extensive experience and a good safety record. Choose the best rather than the cheapest.