Do I need an arborist?

Unless you live on a large property where trees grow, spread roots, drop branches and age naturally, the chances are someday you’ll need an arborist.

You can do basic care and pruning. However cutting large branches off or removing whole trees in an urban setting is an arborist’s job. While you might be handy with a chainsaw, would you know where to cut without killing the tree?

Similarly would you have the skills to remove a tree safely? One wrong move and you risk injury from falls or falling branches.

Therefore if you have a tree that needs extra care, call an arborist.

What is an arborist?

First, arborists are trained in all tree care and treatment.

They’ll check trees’ health, roots and surroundings such as soil and advise on care.

Second, arborists know where to cut branches to encourage new growth and maintain the tree’s strength and advise on tree safety near buildings.

Third, aerial work. That means they can work safely from treetops using harnesses and ropes.

Hold recognised certification, Cert III to Grad Certificate in Arboriculture.
Identify trees
Recommend trees.
Identify weaknesses or diseases.
Remove branches, whole trees or stumps.
Know where to cut correctly.
Plant and manage new trees.
Manage forests and plantations.
Educate about trees.
Perform aerial work.
Can be tree surgeons.

Neighbourly relationships

Most Australians live in medium or high-density living areas. Our relationship with trees can be tricky, sometimes with neighbours!

For example, you love your old lemon-scented gum’s fragrance, rangy branches and exercise from clearing up its bark and never-ending leaf droppings.

To be honest, your neighbour probably also enjoys the fragrance. But not the continually dropping leaves.

Worse … the roots growing under the fence. Or branches growing over.

Trees, like people, need preventative care but treatment when things go wrong.

On the one hand, if your neighbour claims your tree’s branch fell into their backyard and nearly killed their dog… Whose responsibility is that?

Your neighbour owns branches overhanging the fence into their property.

Therefore, if the branch nearly killed the dog, the neighbour could have called an arborist.

On the other hand, what if the roots of the tree are in your yard ( it’s growing from your side) and the tree falls into your neighbour’s.

Whose responsibility?

Unfortunately because the tree was growing from your side and the whole tree fell (not just an overhanging branch) it’s your responsibility. You’ll bear the costs of removal and damages.

An arborist could have prevented this!

Do I need an arborist … or a tree surgeon?

Start with an arborist … tree surgeons are arborists with a bit more technical skill.

Can I check my arborist’s qualifications?

In Australia there’s no organisation for arborist qualifications, unlike most other trades. is working to change this.

Meanwhile … if you need an arborist:

  • Firstly, check their certification. Ask for their Certificate of Currency and AQF Certificate – Level 3 or Level 5.
  • Secondly, check your state’s tree regulations. For example, in Victoria while there’s no regulatory body for arborists, there are penalties for removal or pruning of trees without local council permission. Arborists also need a white card (Construction Induction Card) to work on construction sites.
  • Finally, depending on states, arborists need insurance: public liability and workers’ compensation, and business licences.

Employ an arborist without checking their qualifications and they fall from your tree?

Without insurance, they could chase you for damages. They should be insured: it’s your responsibility to check.

Check your state’s requirements!

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