Tree Surgeon vs. Arborist: What is the Difference

When it comes to maintaining the health and wellbeing of your trees, it is important to make informed decisions about which professional to hire. You may have come across the terms ‘tree surgeon’ and ‘arborist,’ but do you know the difference between them?

A tree surgeon, also known as a tree care specialist, focuses on the physical maintenance and removal of trees. On the other hand, an arborist specializes in the care, maintenance, and health of trees. Understanding the distinction between these two professions is crucial for deciding which professional to approach for your tree care needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Tree surgeons specialize in the physical maintenance and removal of trees.
  • Arborists specialize in the care, maintenance, and health of trees.
  • Knowing the difference between the two professions is essential for making informed decisions about your tree care needs.
  • Tree surgeons are appropriate for immediate or emergency tree services, while arborists are suitable for long-term tree care needs.
  • Always hire a qualified and experienced tree care professional for the job.

What is a Tree Surgeon

If you’re looking for someone to maintain or remove trees on your property, a tree surgeon might be the professional you need. Also known as a tree care specialist, a tree surgeon is a highly skilled professional who specialises in the physical care and removal of trees. They are equipped to perform tasks such as tree trimming, pruning and removal.

Tree surgeons typically use a range of tools and heavy-duty equipment to ensure that trees are maintained, trimmed or removed, while keeping safety as a top priority. They have expert knowledge of all the relevant procedures and have the expertise to ensure the safety of both themselves and those around them.

When you hire a tree surgeon for your tree care needs, you can rest assured that your trees are in good hands. Whether you need tree removal or tree maintenance services, a tree surgeon has the necessary skills and expertise to ensure that you get the results you’re looking for.

Key Responsibilities of a Tree Surgeon

A tree surgeon performs a wide range of tasks, including:

  • Tree removal
  • Tree pruning and trimming
  • Stump grinding
  • Cabling and bracing to help support limbs or the entire tree structure
  • Spraying for insect or disease

Tools and Equipment Used by a Tree Surgeon

A tree surgeon uses a variety of tools and equipment, such as:

  • Chainsaws
  • Ladders
  • Safety harnesses and climbing ropes
  • Safety glasses and hard hats
  • Cranes and wood chippers

Tree Surgeon Certification and Qualifications

To work as a tree surgeon in the UK, there are no specific requirements for qualifications or certifications. However, any good tree surgeon should be properly trained, qualified and experienced in their field. They should also have the necessary licenses and insurance to undertake tree maintenance and removal services.

It’s worth noting that the Arboricultural Association is an industry body that offers certifications to ensure professional high standards of workmanship and compliance with industry standards.

What is an Arborist

An arborist is a trained professional who specialises in the care, maintenance, and health of trees. They possess extensive knowledge of various tree species and their growth patterns and can diagnose and treat common tree diseases. Additionally, arborists play a vital role in promoting the long-term health and sustainability of trees.

Arborists utilise a variety of techniques to ensure your trees remain healthy and attractive. These may include pruning, trimming, and planting. They may also provide a range of services such as tree inspections, insect and disease control, tree maintenance, and tree removal. In addition, arborists possess the expertise necessary to assess tree health and recommend the right course of action to ensure your trees remain healthy and thriving for years to come.

Why Hire an Arborist

Hiring a certified arborist is essential if you want to keep your trees healthy and beautiful. They possess the necessary knowledge and experience to address any tree care needs you may have and can provide you with specialist advice on how to maintain the overall health of your trees.

Professional Tree Services

When you need professional tree services, it’s always best to contact a certified arborist. They possess the necessary skills, equipment, and experience to provide you with the best possible tree care services while maintaining the safety of both your property and the surrounding environment.

Key Differences between a Tree Surgeon and an Arborist

When it comes to tree care, you may wonder about the differences between a tree surgeon and an arborist. Let’s take a closer look at what sets these two professions apart.

Tree SurgeonArborist
A tree surgeon specializes in physically maintaining and removing trees, such as pruning and tree removal.An arborist has a broader knowledge base and specializes in the overall health and long-term care of trees, including diagnosis and treatment of diseases.
They primarily focus on ensuring the safety of people and the surrounding area when carrying out their tasks.They focus on preserving and enhancing the natural beauty and well-being of trees.
They are skilled in using heavy-duty equipment.They use specialized tools for tree assessment and treatment.

While both professions deal with tree care, the key differences lie in their areas of expertise and focus. Think of a tree surgeon as a physical therapist and an arborist as a physician for trees. If you require immediate or emergency tree care, such as tree removal or trimming, a tree surgeon is the appropriate professional to contact. However, for long-term care, tree preservation, or diagnosis and treatment of tree diseases, an arborist’s expertise is more suitable.


Skills and Expertise Required for Tree Surgeons and Arborists

Both tree surgeons and arborists require specific skills and expertise for their respective roles. Tree surgeons must be physically fit and have practical knowledge of tree maintenance and removal techniques. Additionally, they must prioritize safety and possess the ability to operate heavy equipment.

Arborists, on the other hand, need to have a deeper understanding of tree biology, disease management, and environmental factors that affect tree health. They should also be skilled in using specialized tools for tree assessment and treatment. Arborists must possess excellent problem-solving skills to diagnose and treat a variety of tree-related issues.

Tree Surgeon Skills

Physical FitnessTree surgery involves a great deal of physical tasks, including climbing, lifting, and operating heavy machinery. A tree surgeon must be physically fit to perform these duties safely and effectively.
Tree Maintenance and Removal TechniquesTree surgeons need to have a thorough understanding of tree maintenance and removal techniques. This includes pruning, trimming, and removing trees while ensuring the safety of themselves, others, and the surrounding environment.
Prioritizing SafetySafety should be a tree surgeon’s top priority. They should have the expertise to identify and eliminate potential hazards when working with trees. This includes assessing equipment and the surrounding environment for potential risks and hazards.
Heavy Equipment OperationTree surgeons work with heavy equipment and machinery, including chainsaws, ropes, and cranes. They must possess the skills and expertise required to operate this equipment efficiently and safely.

Arborist Skills

Tree BiologyArborists must have a deep understanding of tree biology, including knowledge of different tree species and their growth patterns. This knowledge helps them make informed decisions about tree management, including pruning and treatment.
Disease and Pest ManagementArborists need to diagnose and treat a range of tree diseases and pest problems. They should also be familiar with the best practices for preventing these problems from recurring in the future.
Environmental FactorsEnvironmental conditions such as soil composition, weather, and microclimates all affect the health and growth of trees. Arborists need to have an understanding of these factors to make informed recommendations about tree planting and management.
Specialized Tools and TechniquesArborists use a range of specialized tools and techniques to assess and treat trees. These include techniques such as cabling and bracing, as well as tools such as sonic tomographs and resistographs to assess the internal health of trees.

Whether you need a tree surgeon or an arborist depends on your specific tree care needs. Always ensure that the professional you choose has the necessary skills and expertise to safely and effectively care for your trees.

When to Hire a Tree Surgeon or an Arborist

Choosing between a tree surgeon and an arborist mostly depends on your specific tree care needs, as each professional has a different area of expertise.

If you require immediate or emergency tree services, such as tree removal or trimming, a tree surgeon is the right professional to contact. They have the practical knowledge and tools to perform these tasks quickly and safely, ensuring the safety of your property and surrounding environment.

On the other hand, if you are looking for long-term care, tree preservation, or diagnosis and treatment of tree diseases, an arborist’s expertise would be more suitable. They are knowledgeable about the different species of trees, their growth patterns, and how to diagnose and treat common tree diseases, ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of your trees.

Key Factors to Consider:

  • The emergency level of your tree care needs
  • The type and size of the tree or trees you need assistance with
  • The level of experience and expertise required

Ultimately, the right decision comes down to your specific tree care needs and the expertise you require for the job. By choosing the right professional, you can be confident that your trees will be well-cared for and maintained for years to come.

Finding the Right Tree Care Professional for Your Needs

Choosing the right tree care professional for your needs is crucial. To ensure your trees remain healthy and safe, it is essential to consider qualifications, experience and certifications. Start by looking for certified arborists who are members of reputable tree care organizations. This certification indicates the professional has met specific education and experience requirements in the field of arboriculture.

Additionally, seek recommendations from friends, neighbours, or local gardening clubs. They are likely to provide you with valuable insights into the quality of services provided by different tree care professionals in your area.

Before hiring a tree care professional, always obtain a detailed estimate and ask for references. Hiring a skilled and knowledgeable tree care professional will give you peace of mind and ensure the health and safety of your trees.

Whether you are looking for tree removal, pruning, trimming, inspection or long-term maintenance, find a qualified professional, and let them take care of your trees.

Contact with Timmins Tree Surgery

Timmins Tree Surgery are the number one Tree Surgeons for Durham and the North East. With years of experience helping residents and businesses across the North East, there is nothing that we cannot help with when it comes to the care of our trees and green spaces.

If you need help with your trees, hedges or garden space, give Timmins Tree Surgery ( a call on 07741 674949, send an email to for a free quote. You can check our reviews on Facebook and Google.

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