Column: What is an arborist?

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More than just working for trees, arborist distinction takes training, experience

What is an arborist? It has something to do with trees, right? Yes, it does, but it goes much deeper than that.

My wife’s grandpa worked with trees all of his life, as a logger. Was he an arborist? In short, no. The person you hire to pressure wash your house, and trim your trees, is probably not an arborist either. That’s a handyman. You would not hire a veterinarian to work on your car, or a mechanic to look at and review X-rays. You go to someone in that field, someone with the experience and/or the schooling.

An arborist eats, lives and breathes trees. He or she thinks about trees while driving, and even while trying to sleep. It’s who they are, and what they do.

An arborist, by definition, is an individual trained in the art and science of planting, caring for and maintaining individual trees.

The industry standard for an arborist is to be certified by the ISA, or International Society of Arboriculture. The ISA requires a minimum of three years of verifiable experience in the field, or a related degree, before even being allowed to take the test. Upon successfully passing the test, an arborist is then required to maintain yearly credits.

This is done by attending classes, workshops, seminars and taking more tests. This requirement keeps an Arborist informed on what is going on nationally, and not just in their own little corner of the world. Without this requirement, how would we ever be aware of new practices, bugs or diseases?

Many cities are now requiring that anyone doing work with trees on public property be an ISA certified arborist. That tells you how important the ISA certification is. Many states have a certification, but it is not even close to the requirements of the ISA certification.

Look for this logo. The ISA encourages those certified by the ISA to use this logo as recognition. Those who have been certified by the ISA will use this logo in their ads, business cards, vehicles and just about anywhere they can.

I encourage you to see the ISA website, They have a wealth of information about arborist. You can even look up ISA certified arborist in your area. Sheridan is lucky to have several experienced ISA certified arborist, and we are seeing a few more every year. Congrats to those who are ISA certified, or pushing for that prestigious certification.

Keith Kershaw is co-owner of Landon’s Greenhouse, and ISA certified arborist and master gardener.


By |February 3rd, 2017|

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