A tree surgeon is responsible for the planting, pruning, felling and general treatment, care and maintenance of trees. The job has many responsibilities and is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world.

Known also as an arborist, or arboriculturist, their focus is more on the health and safety of individual plants and trees, rather than managing forests. Trees are living organisms, and as they are an ecosystem in their own right, are therefore a fundamental part of the environment.

Conflicts between trees and people often arise. This can be due to a tree’s natural growth or its failure due to adverse weather conditions. Alternatively, conflicts can result from human activities impacting on the tree. In either case it’s a tree surgeon’s job to resolve conflicts to ensure the safety of people and property as well as maintain the health and welfare of trees.

A tree surgeon will offer many services relating to the management of trees in a variety of locations and for a wide range of clients. Tree surgeons must be physically fit, proficient in a number of power tools and able to work outdoors in all conditions.

They will carry out inspections to properly assess the health and potential danger of trees. This is an important part of the job as it will decide how much work must be performed, how long the work will take to complete and, for public sites, influences how the public might be affected. For private work, an inspection by a tree surgeon will involve discussion about what needs to be done, what the customer requires and should provide an estimate to cost, time and amount of disruption that may occur.

The use of chainsaws and pruning equipment while suspended high off the ground means the job of a tree surgeon is highly dangerous, but experienced, contracted tree surgeons should always follow all the proper safety precautions to help prevent accidents.

Tree surgeons aren’t only concerned with the chopping, pruning and felling of trees, they are also involved in planting and maintaining trees. Planting must be done with absolute care, making sure that the plant is properly put into the ground and cared for so it can thrive without the need extra maintenance in the future.

So, to be a tree surgeon, like a doctor, you need to be highly skilled to perform operations such as deadwood removal, and to have an understanding of how your patient, the tree, works. It’s a dangerous job so you need to be able to manage risk, have a head for heights and love working in the rain, especially if you’re based in England!