The term “tree surgeon” refers to someone trained as an arborist. This profession involves the care and management of trees, shrubs or vines rather than focusing on forest management. Forest management is most often handled by loggers or foresters, although these professions have a lot in common. An arborist is typically consulted about the health or safety of individual trees or plants located near buildings.
Although it is not usually required, tree surgeons are sometimes required to climb a tree or work near power lines. Working near power lines requires that the arborist have additional training as a utility arborist or be certified in line clearance trimming. Various techniques may be employed when climbing a tree, and the most often used is by a rope. If a tree is to be taken down, spikes attached to the tree surgeons’s boots may be used. The holes left in the tree by the spikes would leave wounds and create future opportunity for problems if the tree is to be saved.
Urban landscapes often have trees that require professional care to help them survive biotic or abiotic damage. The knowledgeable tree surgeon can prune the tree to provide good structure and health, as well as for aesthetic reasons. The timing and method of trimming will depend on what species the tree belongs to and why the work is necessary. A complete knowledge of the species and the environment it grows in are essential. Proper pruning should be done for a specific reason since any cut will leave a wound and potential for internal decay.
Although wound dressings such as paint or tar has been the traditional treatment, proper pruning has been shown to be more effective at preventing decay than wound dressings. There are situations where a homeowner may be limited by a homeowner’s association contract, and require the professional advice of an arborist before a tree may be removed from the property. Consulting arborist’s may be called to provide testimony or write a report addressing tree valuation, land planning and development as well as other areas of ethics.