Tree Surgeon vs Arborist: What’s their difference?

Some people often think that a tree surgeon and an arborist are the same due to the similarity of their work scope. 

To avoid any further confusion and potential damage to your property, it’s wise to learn the difference between the two specialists.

The Primary Job Duties of Tree Surgeon vs Arborist

The tree surgeon is known as the “man of action”. This is often perceived ‘literally’ as a tree surgeon handles the physically-demanding type of jobs.

These jobs include tree felling, stump removal, log splitting, shaping branches and other tasks that can be done using a chainsaw.

Aside from the above-mentioned type of jobs, tree surgeon can also be of help to the following tasks:

  • Clearing operation (fallen and damaged trees) after a storm
  • Creating braces
  • Offer consultation or advice for proper tree care and management
  • Cutting and shaping the branches

The arborist can do the tree surgeon’s duties as well, but their focus is more on maintaining the good health of trees and plants.

Arborists do this by assessing the trees/plants carefully, soil type, accurately identify their condition or the disease (if there’s any) and determine the best treatment to apply.

The treatment that an arborist can implement varies on the purpose – preservation, delimb and removal. The other tasks that arborists can offer are stated as follows:

  • Planning and preparing the job site carefully to ensure it is safe for workers and homeowners
  • Studying the symptoms shown in a tree and provide recommendations for treatments
  • Installation of necessary screen fences, cages and other protection devices for plants
  • Controlling the insects or diseases of the tree by spraying the right treatment solution
  • Identify whether the tree is deceased or can still be saved/preserved

Certifications Required for Tree Surgeon vs Arborist

In general, a tree surgeon is not required for formal education. They just need to undergo a series of training and have solid hands-on experience to have a fruitful career.

The training must be completed through a registered training centre or organisation.

But the requirement may still change for three reasons:

  • Career advancement

If a tree surgeon wants to advance their career, that’s the only time they will be required to take a formal education either on urban forestry or arboriculture.

  • Company requirement

Companies have their own standard that every tree surgeon must comply. The minimal requirement they ask for is at least a high school graduate or equivalent.

  • Local council requirement

Just like with private companies, every State also has its own set of standards to comply with. This is important especially to those who want to work under their own business.

It’s ideal to seek advice from your local council to ensure you have all the necessary documents and skills to do the job.

On the other hand, for an arborist to successfully pursue a career in Australia, they must have a formal education (degree or equivalent), passed all required examination, and demonstrate solid years of experience.

For education, an arborist can take certifications in arboriculture, landscape design, or horticulture.

Just like with tree surgeons, the requirement may only change depending on the purpose: career advancement, company, and local council requirement.

The common additional requirements are:

  • All certification must be approved by the International Society of Arboriculture or other trusted local council association for tree care and management.
  • Other certification must be provided such as proof of skills, applying chemical solutions, and working near utility lines.
  • Certification to use hazardous equipment

*Important note: These are also applicable for tree surgeons, except for applying chemical solutions.*

With the duties and certifications lined up, you can easily spot the difference between the two profession – tree surgeon vs arborist.

Hopefully, you can now find the right specialist for your tree-related problems. But if not, don’t worry because HIREtrades can connect you to all the reliable tree surgeon or arborist in your area.

Featured Photo Courtesy of judemac via Pixabay 

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