80221thumbThere are many different types of horticulturists. We are all unique, both individually as well as collectively within our respective professional group classifications. For some of us, individuality interferes with conformity to the collective generalizations that are so commonly associated with our collective groups. For some of us, the stereotypes are a perfect fit.
‘Primarily’, I am a nurseryman. We are the intellectual ones. Well, at least we get most of the credit for being the intellectual ones. Most of us really are quite intellectual. Most of us are rather humble about it.
My excuse for nonconformity to the latter is that I am ‘secondarily’ an arborist. Arboriculture is something that I have never been able to get away from. I did an internship with the most excellent arborists in the entire universe in the summer of 1988. After all these years of mostly growing horticultural commodities, I still sometimes conduct inspections and compile reports for trees that other arborists and their clients are concerned about.
You see, arborists are the passionate ones. One might say that we are enthusiastic, fanatical and zealous. Nurseryman might say that we lack restraint and cultural refinement. It is not such a simple task to distinguish between exuberant dedication and primitive efficiency. Regardless, most arborists do not like to write reports. It is easier to get a nurseryman to do it.
In fact, arborists do not like to write much of anything. There are several elaborate blogs that are written by nurserymen; but blogs written by arborists are rare, with brief and infrequently posted articles.
The irony of this is that it is more important for arborists to express professionalism with clients than it is for nurserymen. Arborists are out in the real world, working directly with clients. Nurserymen work on the farm, isolated from those who purchase the horticultural commodities that are grown there.
Arborists are horticulturists who specialize in the horticulture of trees. The best are just as educated and experienced as nurserymen are. In fact, much of my education was derived from arborists. Yet, arborists are so often regarded as mere gardeners who go up trees.
That is where I get offended. Yes, I am aware that there are hackers out there. I am also aware of what clearance pruning of utility cables entails. I also know how serious my arborist colleagues are about their profession. They are not to be compared to gardeners.
There are many gardeners who are just as educated, experienced and proficient with horticulture as arborists and nurserymen. However, the majority of gardeners are not. I will not elaborate on this presently. It will be the subject of other rants. I have written articles about my professional experience with gardeners already, and none of them go well. (I lack experience with good gardeners simply because they have no need for my expertise.)
The picture above is an example of a sycamore that is pollarded in the traditional English style. The work is exemplary, and is repeated annually every winter. It is no simple task. I certainly would not want to do it. I can not think of any other nurseryman who would know how to do it properly. It is the work of a very skilled and very experienced arborist.

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6 thoughts on “Horridculture – Arborists Are . . . Unique.

  1. For someone who’s never paid much attention to cultivated plants, articles like this are fascinating. The differences among arborists, horticulturalists, and nurserymen are something I’ve never considered. It’s all very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I might be nicer about explaining the differences if I were not a professional. Some of the horticultural industries, especially the landscape maintenance industry, attract some of the most unprofessional people out there. It seems that those who flunk out at everything else can become ‘gardeners’. It is infuriating that good gardeners can not compete with that. It is why no one can fine qualified ‘gardeners’. Although most arborists are much more professional, it is still infuriating that some must deal with the stigma of other horticultural industries.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes! There are even more classifications within the classifications. As a nurseryman, I used to grow citrus (trees), and then moved on to rhododendrons, which is a completely different crop with completely different cultural requirements. In Los Angeles, there are arborists who specialize just in palm trees.

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