How to Become a Tree Surgeon


Surgery is a word attached in our minds to bloody procedures, performed by talented and ambitious doctors. TV Dramas on the subject - more and more since "ER" - have given us an idea about an exciting life of saving and changing other people's lives. So when one says "tree surgery", your first reaction might be confusion. The truth is trees also have diseases that need to be fixed. A tree surgeon does exactly that: heals your trees.

Becoming a Tree Surgeon

What is Tree Surgery?

The tree surgery term refers to repairing trees that are diseased by, first of all cutting the diseased parts (whether they are diseased by insects or other factors), after which the part that remains is treated so that the cut is healed.  Healing aids and antiseptics are used, after which the cavity that was created is filled with a special material (occasionally cement or elastic cement or composition filler).  Tree surgeons also offer support to the tree and pruning on a large scale.  One can liken this to the surgical procedures we know about, just applied to the trees diseases and issues.

How to Become a Tree Surgeon

If you decided that this is a profession you would like to perform, one would assume that you love nature and outdoors.  You should, because this is a job that will be performed outdoors about 99% of the time (with the small exception of greenhouse trees, maybe).  Colleges offer courses of arboriculture and agriculture and you may think about taking them.  Official diplomas and courses are not mandatory in tree surgery, but they may help you become established in your job a little quicker.

Just like a regular surgeon needs to do his internship and residency, you may want to start small: landscaping and outdoor work for various community services are the first steps one generally takes to become a tree surgeon.  It allows you to get used to the tools on small procedures - a more thorough approach to your job.  Established tree surgeons occasionally offer training - once you have decided that you can move on to small tree surgery jobs, you may want to search for these kinds of options in your area.

After you decided that you are ready to face life as a tree surgeon, on your own, you need to build a client base.  The safest way to do that is joining some professional associations.  The most famous one is the International Society of Arboriculture - but local associations should be available, at least at a national level.  These associations, on top of providing networking opportunities, will also offer certification possibilities that will prove that you are skilled at your job.  Like college diplomas, these are not mandatory, but will certainly be useful in establishing you in the business a little faster.

If you are a nature lover, this should not be a difficult condition, but generally, try to focus more on saving the trees than on eliminating the disease.  New trees take years to grow, and if the owner of the tree wanted to just cut it, he probably wouldn't have called you.  Saving a diseased tree is not always possible, but one must try their best to do that.