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What is Arboriculture?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated May 21, 2024
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Arboriculture is the science of cultivating trees. This includes selecting tress for specific purposes, planting them, and caring from them. In many cases, arboriculture is applied in garden settings, in which a person selects trees that are pest resistant and most likely to live a long and healthy life in the location. The art of arboriculture is used by the gardener to create a tree display that is aesthetically pleasing, ornamental, and longlasting.

The overall goal of arboriculture is to combine modern technology and skills in order to care for trees in a way that is scientifically sound. This includes employing risk management techniques and planting trees to present the greatest profit. This is particularly true when the trees are planted for commercial purposes, such as when they are to be later harvested for lumber or paper products.

Individuals interested in arboriculture may explore it further through post-secondary institutions such as universities and community colleges. In many cases, arboriculture coursework is referred to as plant pathology, landscape horticulture, or urban forestry. After completing a degree in arboriculture, a person may follow several different career paths. Within the commercial residential sector, a person with a degree in arboriculture may pursue a career within a tree care company, as a tree care salesperson, as a commercial safety coordinator, as a tree climber, as a groundworker, or as an aerial lift operator.

In the municipal sector, a person with an interest in arboriculture may also pursue a career as a groundworker, an aerial lift operator, or a climber. He or she may also become a municipal arborist or forester. Within the utility sector, the person may follow many of the paths listed above or become a forestry manager.

The groundworker position is generally the entry level position within the arboriculture field. This person generally assists the climbers, cuts wood, chips brush, and keeps the area clean. A climber climbs the trees in order to prune them, while an aerial lift operator operates the machinery used to lift the climber to the proper position.

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is arboriculture?

Arboriculture is the science and practice of caring for trees, shrubs, and other perennial woody plants in diverse environments, including urban and suburban areas. It encompasses planting, maintenance, diagnosis of pests and diseases, and tree surgery to ensure the health and safety of these plants and the environments they inhabit.

Why is arboriculture important?

Arboriculture is vital for maintaining healthy ecosystems, as trees and shrubs play crucial roles in air purification, climate moderation, and providing habitats for wildlife. In urban settings, arboriculture contributes to the aesthetic appeal of communities, increases property values, and improves the well-being of residents by reducing stress and promoting outdoor activities.

What does an arborist do?

An arborist, also known as a tree surgeon, is a professional trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining trees. They are skilled in the technical aspects of tree care, including pruning, removal, emergency tree care, and the management of tree health issues, ensuring the safety and longevity of trees in their care.

How can arboriculture impact the environment?

Arboriculture has a profound impact on the environment by enhancing biodiversity, sequestering carbon, and reducing soil erosion. Strategic tree care and urban forestry can mitigate the heat island effect in cities, leading to energy savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Properly maintained trees also contribute to water conservation and stormwater management.

What are the benefits of proper tree pruning?

Proper tree pruning promotes healthy growth, improves plant structure, and enhances fruit or flower production. It can also prevent damage to property or injury to people by removing dead or weak limbs. According to the International Society of Arboriculture, regular pruning maintains tree health and appearance and can increase the lifespan of trees.

Is arboriculture the same as forestry?

No, arboriculture and forestry are related but distinct fields. Arboriculture focuses on individual trees and shrubs, primarily in urban and suburban landscapes, providing specialized care tailored to each plant. Forestry, on the other hand, is concerned with the management and conservation of forests as ecosystems, emphasizing the sustainable production of wood products and preservation of natural habitats.

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