Tree Service Technician

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Tree Service Technician


Trees are very important to us. They provide us with oxygen, they produce food for humans, animals, and insects, they keep the Earth anchored down with their deep-reaching roots. Tree service technicians are the people who look after our trees. Specially trained in identifying disease and pests, they help keep the trees on our planet healthy and growing.

Tree service technicians work for a variety of organizations, from being employed as government workers to being on staff at landscaping firms, lawn care companies, and botanical gardens and arboretums. Most tree service technicians specialize in one area of tree care. They may care for the trees through careful pruning, by securing large or breaking branches, by diagnosing and treating pest invasions, and by fertilizing trees when necessary. Their work may be focused on tree removal, or tree planting. They also work planning tree-care budgets and calculating tree values for companies and municipalities, and giving public talks on tree health. They may do mostly research for lumber companies, environmental protection associations, or various government agencies.

Tree service technicians work alongside many people in order to install and maintain healthy trees. They are in close contact with urban planners, landscape architects, municipal administrators, habitat protection agencies, lawn care specialists, and horticulturists, to name a few. They often consult these professionals about tree health and the benefits of certain trees in various environments. Therefore, they need to have good communication skills; they need to be able to explain complex scientific information in a way that everyone can understand.

Tree service technicians also need to be in good shape, as the job can call for a lot of dangerous and challenging roles. Often, tree service technicians climb trees, use heavy equipment, and carry large heavy branches. The days can be long, tiring, yet fulfilling because of the knowledge that another tree has been saved from disease.
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  Interests and Skills  
Tree service technicians have a love of nature, trees in particular. These workers are strong, agile, and undaunted by hard work. Tree service technicians need to be comfortable with heights, power tools, ladders, and ropes. They need to be analytical and willing to take time to sort out a problem and find the right solutions. They must be comfortable working with a team, and following orders. Tree service technicians also need good communication skills, a level head, and be able to work well even under pressure.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Prune tree, often from high up among the branches
  • Evaluate trees for disease and pest problems
  • Repair breaking branches by securing cables and braces to large limbs
  • Fertilize trees
  • Calculate the monetary value of trees
  • Plan and develop budgets for tree maintenance for companies
  • Develop and present tree health seminars to school and community groups
  • Depending on their area of expertise, a tree service technician's day will be divided between time indoors and outdoors, alternately doing research into tree care and tree illness, as well as inspecting trees, and implementing health care initiatives. This can include tree climbing, branch trimming, and felling diseased trees. The job allows for plenty of hard work outdoors, as well as some administrative duties, and allows for the possibility of community outreach.
  • Tree technicians use dangerous power tools and powerful chemicals and this job entails a lot of lifting, twisting, and climbing. Tree service technicians work in teams of two or more. They may work regular hours, unless there has been an emergency, like a flood or severe wind storm, when they work long hours.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Tree service technicians are employed by a variety of organizations, including parks departments, tree care service firms, large institutions, landscape management companies, and tree nurseries.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Tree service technicians can always get more training, and become more educated in different aspects of tree care and health. They can become supervisors of other technicians, or open their own tree service companies. They may open tree nurseries, gardening shops, or publish articles and write books about tree and woody plant care. They can also go to school and train to work as landscape architects or landscape architectural technicians.

  Educational Paths  
Higher education is not required to become a tree service technician, however, some postsecondary schooling is encouraged. Courses in horticulture, arboriculture, plant science, and landscaping are offered at universities, colleges, and through some home study programs. Some of the programs offer co-op courses, combining study with work experience.

Some regions require that tree service technicians pass a certification exam before actively working, and some require special certification to work on trees near power lines.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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