7bd6It is no surprise that there are many different types of physicians within the medical industries. Pediatricians, surgeons, cardiologists, dermatologists, and all sorts of ‘doctors’ are all recognized for their particular medical specialty. Yet, almost all horticultural professionals are known simply as gardeners or landscapers, even though many never work directly in gardens or landscapes.

Production nurserymen grow horticultural commodities (plants). Other nurserymen maintain these commodities while they are marketed. Landscape designers develop the landscapes that many plants inhabit. Only after the involvement of various less familiar horticultural professionals, landscapers install the landscapes, and gardeners maintain them. Somehow, they get too much credit.

Arborists really deserve more credit. They are the physicians of trees, who specialize in arboriculture, which is the horticulture of trees. Much of their work is out of reach to gardeners, and is very distinct from the sort of work that gardeners should be expected to perform. Trees are the most substantial features of a landscape, so really should get the proper attention that they deserve.

The International Society of Arboriculture, or ISA, certifies professional arborists who have passed an examination of their arboricultural expertise, and continue to demonstrate proficiency with discriminating arboricultural standards. Continued involvement with ISA classes, educational seminars and workshops is required to maintain arborist certification. It demands serious dedication.

Besides assessing the health, stability and structural integrity of trees, ISA certified arborists are the most qualified to prescribe any necessary arboricultural procedures, and to direct those who perform these necessary procedures. Most local municipalities require a report from an ISA certified arborist to accompany an application for a permit to remove any protected ‘heritage’ tree.

The website of the ISA, at www.isa-arbor.com, Is an excellent resource for finding certified arborists, and the tree service businesses with which they are affiliated. Arborists can be found by name directly, or regionally by ZIP code or city. The website is also a great resource for information about proper arboriculture and trees, and can help those who are not arborists with selection of trees.

4 thoughts on “Arborists Really Know Their Trees

  1. Love that photo! You’re correct about aborists, but I’m horrified when homeowners (and commercial businesses with landscaping) hire *dudes with ladders* who then commense with the maiming and mutalation of targeted trees. Ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my! Most of the problems that I find in the trees I inspect in urban areas are caused by those who charge significant money to work on them! The most common problem is so-called ‘gardeners’ who water lawns so much that the soil is constantly saturated, which drowns or rots the roots of the associated trees.


  2. I’ve been very grateful to arborists. Arlington has many mature trees and because housing is dense, they need good care. Most homeowners I know have arborist visits regularly. In our courtyard, we have kept the trees trimmed and fed and it paid off during the last big hurricane–fewer limbs down and no toppled trees. It takes someone who knows what they’re doing, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some of the best arborists I did my internship were from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Arboriculture seems to be taken much more seriously in the East, perhaps because the urban areas are so much older.

      Liked by 1 person

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