Tree surgeon: how to find one

June 26, 2019

Scaling the heights of tree surgery

It’s not every day that you need a tree surgeon, but when you do, it’s often on the job that you can’t afford to get wrong. In this article, we assess what a tree surgeon can do, how to ensure you’re working with a good one and how to find one suitable for the task at hand.

What can a tree surgeon help with?

As the name suggests, tree surgeons have to deal with several tree-related tasks. In practice, this means managing and removing trees from gardens, forests and other locations. An average tree surgeon will be able to assess the health and potential danger of trees, remove dead or weak branches and if necessary, remove full trees. Additionally, tree surgeons will be heavily involved in planting and maintaining trees. From time to time, they will also be needed to spray pesticides onto injured trees and can assist with projects where trees are being cleared or planted.

What qualifications does a tree surgeon need?

There are only a few basic qualifications required to work as a tree surgeon, which almost everyone operating in the sector will have. With that said, it’s still essential to establish if the tree surgeon you’re working with has the following mandatory certifications:

• CS30 – Maintenance of the chainsaw, on-site preparation and basic cross-cutting
• CS31 – Fell and process small trees
• CS38 – Climb a tree and perform aerial rescue
• CS39 – Use of a chainsaw from a rope and harness
• First Aid at Work

Such qualifications are the bare minimum for anyone offering professional arboriculture services. As such, if the tree surgeon you’re working with doesn’t own such certification you should look to find a more suitable individual. It’s also important to recognise that the lack of an extensive qualification framework across the tree surgeon sector means it’s difficult to assess the quality of a tree surgeon on qualifications alone.

City & Guilds do offer more advanced qualifications for the forestry and arboriculture sector. These more advanced qualifications recognise that a tree surgeon has reached an agreed standard of competence. Many of these qualifications are highly specialised, focussing on tasks like pruning, emergency tree work operations and aerial tree rigging. While it’s not always essential that the professional you’re working with is qualified to this level, it will come in handy if you require a solution to a more complex challenge.

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What should I ask a tree surgeon?

It’s essential to establish whether the tree surgeon you’re working with has the essential experience required to work. A good tip is to find out how long the individual has been working in the sector, and if they have experience working on the type of project in question. If you’re looking to dig a little deeper, or if you’re concerned that somebody might not be being wholly honest, then it’s worth asking if the individual works to the British Standards. Additionally, it might be worth asking if the individual can name the relevant British Standards. For reference, the two primary British standards for tree work are:

• British Standard 3998:2010
• British Standard 5837:2012

How can I find a tree surgeon near me?

Like with all tradespeople, you can find a tree surgeon online, or via a recommendation from a friend or family member. However, the most effective way to find a reliable tree surgeon is with a trusted tradesperson site, such as Checkatrade.

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