An arboriculturist


Arboriculturists carry out specialised tasks related to observation, health and maintenance of trees.

Excludes forest worker.
Excludes forestry equipment operator.
Includes people performing activities focusing on the health and safety of individual plants and trees.
Excludes people performing managerial activities in forests or harvesting timbers.
Excludes people performing tree growth activities.
Includes people working in rural and urban settings.
Includes people performing felling, preservation, plantation and protection of trees.
Includes people working with heavy equipment.
Includes people managing the relationship between trees, their surroundings and people.

The duties of an arboriculturist include, but are not limited to:

  • Repairs, cables, fertilizes, waters, and prunes trees and other woody plants; removes dead, diseased or declining trees and woody plants.
  • Plants and transplants woody plants to include hole preparation, backfilling, staking, pruning, watering, and mulching.
  • Recognizes disease and insect problems of trees and woody plants and applies appropriate treatments.
  • May assist in various maintenance activities as required.
  • Maintains records of work performed.
  • May lead, guide, and train staff/student employees, interns, and/or volunteers performing related work; may participate in the recruitment of volunteers, as appropriate to the area of operation.
  • Assists in maintaining tree inventory records.
  • Identifies potentially hazardous trees and other tree-related problems.
  • May perform snow removal as required.
  • Performs miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to arboriculturist:

tree climber
arboretum worker
tree doctor
aboriculture specialist

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is the minimum required to work as an arboriculturist.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Arboriculturist is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Arboriculturist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to arboriculturist.

tree surgeon
vineyard machinery operator
forestry equipment operator
crosscut saw operator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of arboriculturist. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of arboriculturist with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

forestry technician
fire protection technician
mine surveying technician
footwear quality control laboratory technician

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of arboriculturist.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of arboriculturist.

  • Control tree diseases: Identify diseased or undesirable trees. Remove them using power saws or hand saws.
  • Advise on tree issues: Provide advice to organisations and private persons on planting trees and tree safety. Investigate current conservation and tree management projects.
  • Lop trees: Retract trees and big branches complying with health and safety regulations
  • Monitor tree health: Monitor trees for pests and diseases, aiming to improve their health.
  • Handle geospatial technologies: Use geospatial technologies which involve GPS (global positioning systems), GIS (geographical information systems), and RS (remote sensing) in the daily work.
  • Assess hazards implied in tree operations: Evaluate risks and hazards, perform efficient actions in order to minimize risks and to restore the trees to their original state or to replant new ones.
  • Perform tree thinning: Remove some trees from a stand in order to improve tree health, timber value and production.
  • Execute fertilisation: Carry out fertilisation tasks by hand or using appropriate equipment according to fertilisation instructions taking into account the environmental, health and safety regulations and procedures.
  • Inspect trees: Carry out tree inspections and surveys.
  • Monitor grounds: Monitor grounds during special events to insure protection of the system, report condition of the grounds and loss of water or plants due to system malfunction.
  • Plant green plants: Plant seeds manually or by using ground equipment.
  • Conserve forests: Strive to conserve and restore forest structures, biodiversity and ecological functions.
  • Carry out aerial tree rigging: Calculate the expected loads the rigging will be exposed to. Select compatible components to make up the rigging system and choose the position of anchor points for rigging components. Take into account the expected load and the positions of the ground crew, other anchor points, equipment, planned drop zone, and processing area. Remove lower tree sections using suitable cuts, minimising shock loading in the rigging system.
  • Spray pesticides: Spray pesticide solutions to keep insects, fungus, weed growth, and diseases under control.
  • Protect biodiversity: Sustain biodiversity of the species by observing the ecosystem.
  • Operate chainsaw: Operate mechanical chainsaw powered by electricity, compressed air or gasoline.
  • Protect trees: Preserve trees taking into account the health and conditions of the tree(s) and plans for preservation and conservation of the area. This includes the cutting of trees or branches on trees applying knowledge of the biology of the tree.
  • Estimate damage: Estimate damage in case of accidents or natural disasters.
  • Execute disease and pest control activities: Execute disease and pest control activities using conventional or biological methods taking into account the climate, plant or crop type, health and safety and environmental regulations. Store and handle pesticides in accordance with recommendation and legislation.
  • Nurse trees: Plant, fertilise and trim trees, shrubs and hedges. Examine trees to assess their condition and determine treatment. Work to eradicate insects, fungus and diseases which are harmful to trees, assist with prescribed burning, and work on preventing erosion.
  • Climb trees: Ascend and descend from trees in a safely manner.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of arboriculturist. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Climate change impact: Understand the impact of climate change on biodiversity and lifeconditions for plants and animals.
  • Forestry regulations: The legal rules applicable to forestry: agricultural law, rural law, and laws on hunting and fishing.
  • Geographic information systems: The tools involved in geographical mapping and positioning, such as GPS (global positioning systems), GIS (geographical information systems), and RS (remote sensing).

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of arboriculturist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Write technical reports related to trees: Compose written adequate reports about tree-related issues for parties such as engineers, solicitors, or mortgage and insurance companies, for example if tree roots are causing problems to the integrity of buildings and infrastructure.
  • Make independent operating decisions: Make immediate operating decisions as necessary without reference to others, taking into account the circumstances and any relevant procedures and legislation. Determine alone which option is the best for a particular situation.
  • Maintain forestry equipment: Check forestry equipment to make sure that it is in working order.
  • Assist tree identification: Assist in the development and improvement of techniques for measuring and identifying trees. Obtain and use various sources of information to accurately identify and name trees, use tree characteristics to aid identification, identify tree species in all seasons.

ISCO group and title

6112 – Tree and shrub crop growers

  1. Arboriculturist – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by LaRon Rosser on Unsplash
Last updated on October 27, 2022

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