Jun 17 2019
The Importance of Working with a Qualified Arborist
We often hear stories in our industry about people who have hired handymen or an unqualified person to take care of their tree services. A quick google search and you will find people asking for recommendations on how to revive a tree after being butchered. We are not saying that handymen are bad, but it is often the case when working with trees that the profession and the task at hand do not match.
When it comes to working with trees, any qualified arborist or tree professional will passionately stress the importance of working with someone with the right qualifications, skills and experience. An arborist is someone that specializes in the science and skills of caring for trees.
Do Not Underestimate Working with Trees
Anyone can buy hedge clippers or a chainsaw from the local hardware store, but it does not mean that they are adequately prepared to take on the task of climbing and working safely. A Qualified Arborist has to complete a minimum of 2 years at TAFE and in the industry practicing under other Qualified arborists to perfect their craft. In some instances, specific people are called on within the team to perform specific tasks because of different skillsets needed to best complete the job.
Knowledge & Skills
Trees are living creatures and whether you are removing a tree, transplanting its location or even just trimming, pruning and maintaining a tree, each method requires different skillsets, knowledge and Machinery to complete the job. For example, if you have read our blog about tree lopping, you would know that there are specific ways to prune or lop a tree to achieve a desired result. If not done right, it will lead to problems in the future.
Did you know that if you simply lopped or hacked away at a tree, some trees have a high chance of dying? If the tree survives, any regrowth will be weak and if you do not regularly perform tree maintenance, you run the risk of branches breaking at any time which is not good for the tree, the property around or even people or animals in the area. Once a tree has been lopped it will never be the same.
Trees can be hazardous for various reasons. If a tree has a defect or has not been maintained, branches could easily break and become very dangerous to work with. The location of a tree may also pose challenges. For example, some trees grow very close to power lines and even trimming back a branch might cause damage to power lines if not careful which has a greater effect on the surrounding area.
Certifications & Qualifications
As with any profession whether it be a doctor, scientist or lawyer, there are qualifications, certifications and regular training and development that is undertaken. This is the same for arborists and the industry that we work in. There is no substitution for a proper assessment of the situation by a qualified and experienced arborist.
Different tasks have different skillsets and technical requirements. For example, when tree pruning as a part of regular maintenance is undertaken, there are a range of factors to consider such as the structure of the tree among a number of possible issues which may arise. It’s not simply just cutting off branches. A qualified arborist will also trim and prune a tree to minimize damage.
Being a qualified arborist is not simply being certified. We undergo continuous training. For example, we have the WA Tree Climbing Championships every year where we not only compete against each other for fun and bragging rights, we come together to learn and teach each other new climbing techniques as they develop in the industry. We are also members of the Tree Guild of WA.
Working with a qualified arborist and a tree professional also reduces your risk. There are a range of risks which you can avoid including some not so obvious risks which can arise during tree removal or tree pruning and maintenance including:
- Risk of Property Damage – If you are cutting down a tree and cause damage to personal property, there is a chance you might not be insured for the damage which means additional work and expenses for you the owner. Imagine if a branch broke your pergola or damaged your fence.
- Risk of Damage to the Tree – Trees take years to grow big and strong. Irrevocable damage to the tree could result without a high degree of technical competence and experience.
- Risk of Personal Injury – Many are not trained or have not worked with the tools required. While it’s easy to hire equipment, it does not come with experience or training. It would be terrible to think that someone would climb a very tall tree and operate sharp or heavy pieces of equipment with no training or education around the safety aspects.
The best part of working with a qualified and experienced tree professional is knowing that they are licensed and certified to perform these tasks. In the unlikely event of an accident, the qualified arborist providing these services would be insured and you know they are trained to handle difficult and tricky situations.
Other Benefits of Working with a Qualified Arborist
Aside from the usual range of services which arborists provide such as regular tree maintenance and tree care services, arborists are often called for advice to help in situations where a tree might be sick or dying, often from a lack of care or being worked on by someone inexperienced with trees.
Quite often when someone purchases a block of land to build on, there are some trees that need to be removed. In some cases, council might not approve the removal of a tree for various reasons but may approve transplantation. Some councils will ask for an arborist report. A qualified arborist can give you the best advice and provide the right reporting for times when council approvals are required. When the project is approved, they can get the job done efficiently and safely.
While there are simple tree care maintenance tasks that can and should be performed by homeowners, occupiers or handymen, there are many jobs that should not be taken lightly. Working with a qualified arborist and tree professional ensures that the job is done correctly and safely and reduces risk. To save the hassle and embarrassment of calling for help after a bad job has been done which is almost imposable to fix, it is worthwhile consulting with your local tree surgeon to assess and determine whether it is a job that anyone can handle or whether it’s best done by a professional.