June 8, 2021

Tree Surgeons: Who They Are and What They Do

The next time you're out walking in your neighborhood, imagine it without any trees. You'd see a bleak landscape where harsh summer sun burns the vegetation and the land goes on for miles.

We need trees for shade if not for the interesting landscape they give us. These wooded giants offer life to otherwise bare landscapes.

But what happens when one of your massive wooded friends shows signs of illness? It might start with some suspicious spots on a leaf and then transform into a dying limb.

Or maybe the tree isn't sick at all, but its branches have become a nuisance in your front yard view. Before you break out your hand saw and start hacking away at limbs, look into the value of calling a tree surgeon.

Few understand trees as well as tree surgeons. They have the expertise and education that will keep your trees healthy.

Keep reading to learn about what tree surgeons do and how you know if you're hiring a good one.

What Are Tree Surgeons?

A tree surgeon, also known as an arborist, an arboriculturist, or an arboricultural contractor, is an engineer who understands tree felling and branch pruning. They split logs, cut hedges, and care for trees.

Tree surgeons are horticulturists who specialize in trees. They have received the proper education and training to manage any woody plant including large trees and small shrubs. They thus understand how to remove trees safely.

Arborists go by the name tree surgeon because they do what medical surgeons do, only with bigger tools and on bigger patients. They deftly manage a chainsaw much like a surgeon handles a scalpel, removing dead and unnecessary tissue.

Arborists and tree surgeons understand trees. They have knowledge that the average gardener and homeowner lacks regarding how trees grow and what makes them grow. They can spot disease a mile away, and they understand how to care well for trees.

But they do more than just read books about trees and study woody plant life. They do the manual labor that requires them to climb, rappel, and cut.

A tree surgeon has a dangerous job. He must work from high heights with heavy equipment like chain saws. He must understand how to wield a chain saw deftly.

The work of a tree surgeon is demanding, much like that of a medical surgeon. Tree surgeons enjoy being outside, but they must endure long hours at a task.

Once they begin their work on a tree, they cannot walk away. They have to finish the task, and this can mean hours in a harness with a chain saw.

Qualifications of a Good Tree Surgeon

If you have some problematic trees on your property or just want an expert to give you an opinion on your crop of trees, you want a tree surgeon. But how do you know if you're hiring a good tree surgeon? Here are a few qualifications you should look for when hiring an arboricultural contractor.


Many people can call themselves tree surgeons. However, knowing how to run a chainsaw is not an apt qualification. Ask the surgeon about his certification.

If you want a qualified tree surgeon, you should hire a certified arborist with the ISA, the International Society of Arboriculturists.

To gain proper certification with the ISA, individuals must have at least three years of work experience in arboriculture as well as the appropriate degree in the field. This means the tree surgeon you're looking for has spent time in the classroom studying dendrology, horticulture, forestry, landscape architecture, or arboriculture as well as time in the field working with trees.


A qualified tree surgeon understands common tree removal mistakes and knows how to avoid them. They also understand they need public liability insurance in case things go wrong in the midst of their dangerous work.

You'd never hire a medical surgeon to remove cancer if he didn't have malpractice insurance. In the same way, your tree surgeon should have proof of public liability insurance that is current.

Public liability insurance differs from personal liability insurance. With public liability insurance, a company, such as a tree surgeon, is covered if his work harms the public. So if a tree limb falls and injures a person or property, the public liability insurance will pay for damages caused by the work.

Ask the surgeon to email you a copy of their current public liability insurance. Then, contact the insurance company to make sure the policy is valid. Some of the more shady companies posing as tree surgeons will not have current insurance.


You want a tree surgeon who understands precise cuts. You also want one who understands financial precision.

Before you give the surgeon free reign of your property, ask for an estimate with a breakdown of costs. A qualified surgeon should do more than just eyeball your property and give you a ball-park figure. Rather, they should give you a breakdown of the costs including labor, removal, and clean-up costs.

When you see a breakdown of the tasks and costs, you'll know you're working with a professional.

Quality Reputation

If the company sounds reputable and is certified, then you have most likely found a quality tree surgeon. However, you should still ask around for reviews.

Look at the company's website to see what others have said about them. Do some searching online to see if they've received any negative reviews. Ask around your neighborhood if anyone has heard of the company and knows about their work.

If you can find a certified, insured surgeon with up-to-date insurance and a quality reputation, you've found a qualified candidate to work on your trees.  

Call a Cutting Expert

Tree surgeons understand trees and how to remove them. They do not hack away needlessly at limbs, but rather they care for trees purposefully and understand them thanks to their education and experience.

If you're looking for a qualified tree surgeon today, contact us for a free estimate. We meet all the criteria listed above and would love to help you with your trees.

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