How To Become A Tree Surgeon

tree surgeon cutting a tree

Becoming a Tree Surgeon

The typical office, retail, and public sector jobs are not for everyone. Particularly now that we’re well over a year into living with the pandemic. If you’re looking for a change of pace, something based outdoors and in nature, then becoming a tree surgeon might be for you. 

What Do Tree Surgeons Do?

Before we explore the different methods of becoming a tree surgeon, let’s go over the main roles. A tree surgeon is professionally trained in the pruning, felling and general maintenance of trees. 

 Tree surgeons, who have undertaken higher levels of training, can work on trees with tree protection orders (TPO)s, diseases and technical tree dismantling.

The Qualities of a Good Tree Surgeon

Particular people are often better suited to specific jobs than others, tree surgery is no exception. If you want to know how to become a tree surgeon, then ideally, you should already possess certain traits.

First and foremost: this is not a career for somebody who fears heights. Although tree surgeons generally start by doing groundwork, a good tree surgeon is expected to learn all aspects of the job. Trees can grow to dizzying heights, and the taller the tree, the more branches; therefore, there are more potential hazards to the tree and the public. 

tree surgeon
tree surgeon vehicle
tree surgery

Tree Surgeons Fitness

A tree surgeon should be physically fit. The work involved in climbing trees via harness, operating heavy machinery, and lifting large pieces of wood is taxing on the body. Therefore, it’s essential you take good care of your back, hips and other joints if you want to become a tree surgeon.

Good communication and team working skills are also vital. Suppose you can’t confer with your colleagues and trust them to do their jobs correctly. In that case, you can’t trust each other with your safety. Safe working practices are paramount for yourself, other tree surgeons, and the general public’s safety. Obviously, you must also enjoy working outdoors in nature and in the elements. Tree surgery doesn’t necessarily take a break when the rain comes! Especially in wet countries like the UK.

Education and Experience

Many vocational colleges, particularly ones in rural areas with a focus on agriculture, now offer courses useful to future tree surgeons. Myerscough College, for example, offers courses such as City & Guild Technical Certificates in arboriculture. You may also see what arboricultural courses are available locally to you. Entry requirements vary, but a GCSE or equivalent grade in English, Maths, and Science is generally necessary.

If you wish to take your learning further, then Cumbria University, and The University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland, currently offer degrees in forestry. Some forestry degrees Bangor University offers even feature a year’s placement!

Tree surgery is both a taxing and fulfilling career. As such, it’s good to have an idea of what to expect if you’re considering how to become a tree surgeon.

Tree surgery is a physically demanding job with potentially long hours. Although your time spent working can vary depending on the season, weather and who you work for. Tree surgery is an important profession in the UK, as even large cities have their fair share of trees in public areas.

Due to the nature of the job, you’ll generally be required to work on weekends or late into the evening. The role is unlikely to have set working hours – as opposed to working when the client needs it done.

potential dangers

Tree surgery can be a dangerous job. In addition to the overall strain on your body, there are many hazards involved. Between working from great heights in the UKs often chaotic changing weather, and handling powerful machinery: it’s vital you’re able to concentrate on the task at hand.

You also need to be aware of public safety and that of your colleagues. For example, ensuring to check what’s beneath you when removing dead branches, and dropping large chunks of wood from a great height onto either party; would be awful for everyone involved.

For further information on the risks of tree work you can visit the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) site here . The Arboricultural Association also provides useful links  for tree surgeons and other arborists.

commercial tree surgeon