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Become a Tree Surgeon

Updated on February 7, 2013

If you’re reading this I’m guessing you want to become a tree surgeon. You've picked a great time, the tree and timber industry is a huge and expanding business. However, before you make your final decision, there are a few things you should consider.

Why tree surgery?

Tree surgery is very physical and highly demanding occupation. It involves working outdoors in all weathers, so if you don’t like being outdoors, a job in Arboriculture is not for you. Although there is a lot of money in tree surgery, it can take a while before you are skilled enough to earn the top end wages. You’ll be working at heights, with a chainsaw, so the job can be very dangerous. The dangers and risks can be reduced dramatically if you go out and get the proper training, including taking a chainsaw course.

Despite some of the negative points above, tree surgery is a wonderfully rewarding profession. You get to work in the great outdoors, there’s plenty of variety and you’ll meet lots of people. Due to the physical aspect of the job, it won’t be long before you notice your strength and fitness improving. Having worked 30 years in the industry, I've never met a tree surgeon that doesn't love their job.

What you you’ll be doing…

You’ll always start the day with what’s known as a LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) inspection. These safety regulations have been around since 1998 for the safety of workers. The LOLER inspection covers everything; ropes, harnesses, chainsaws, strops, and so on. This is vitally important and not to be over looked.

You’ll be one or all of the following; a climber, a planter, or ground staff.

As you might expect, the climber is the person up the tree, removing weak or diseased branches. It’s also the climber’s job to cut down dangerous or dead trees.

Ground staff are responsible for the safety of the work site. They offer support to the climbers by re-fueling the chainsaws and handling the tools. In emergency situations, the ground staff would be expected to climb the tree to offer assistance, so they need to be prepared for this.

On top of cutting down trees, tree surgeons are responsible for preparing sites for new trees, planting trees and shrubs, and applying fertilizers and pesticides.

Who you should be…

To become a tree surgeon, you have to want to work outdoors. You’ll need to be comfortable operating heavy machinery at heights. You’ll be working in a close knit team so you need to be a good team player. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, you should have an interest in protecting and managing the environment.

What you'll need...

If you’re asking how to become a tree surgeon, you need to understand that there is stringent certification required in Arboriculture. This is partly put in place to discourage the faint-hearted and minimize the amount of time wasters. Take a look at some of the other pages of this website to find out more about tree surgeon training and qualifications.

Although you don’t need any previous experience or training for a company to take you on, it would obviously be a great advantage. If you’re serious about this you should seek out courses that provide the qualifications needed to become a tree surgeon.


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