What is Tree Surgery?

the importance of safety with tree surgery

Most people would have heard of the term tree surgery but how many actually know what a tree surgeon does?

How many people know how to find a tree surgeon near me or you?

The answer to that is probably very few and so here we will look at what a tree surgeon does and what qualifications they need to become a professional tree surgeon.

It may not come as too much of a surprise given their name that they look after the well-being of trees and shrubs. What may come as a surprise is that they need no qualifications to become a tree surgeon.

Unlike a forestry commission worker or a logger, tree surgeons look after individual trees or shrubs. They do that by pruning them where necessary or even cutting them down if needed.

It has been said though that although a tree surgeon knows how to remove branches and chop down trees. Though because of their lack of formal training, they do not know the reason why they do it.

This has been said by arborists who are qualified in many aspects of tree and shrub well-being.


A recognized arborist may have several qualifications but in order to become fully recognized they must have at least some. As opposed to a tree surgeon that can award themselves that title, usually after gaining some experience.

Both the arborist and tree surgeon can be responsible for a plant’s health and to save the plant. It may be necessary to cut off any infected areas but if that does not work, cut down the tree.

Especially if there is a chance it could affect other trees in the area.


All countries have their own requirements to qualify as arborists but in the UK there are various levels of qualification up to a Master’s Degree.

There are many colleges in the UK that offer arboriculture courses. The minimum of which will qualify a person as an arborist although they will often be needed to also attain a chainsaw related safety certificate.

Further qualifications will allow them to legally work in the vicinity of electrical wires and other specialty areas.


It was the Englishman John Davey in the nineteenth century that first conceived the idea that trees should be treated for diseases. Just like animals and humans as trees are beneficial in many ways.

His concept was that science could sometimes intervene in the health of a tree, to both the tree and its owner’s benefit.

It was this concept that led to the first professional tree surgeons.

When Do You Need a Tree Surgeon?

Now you know what a tree surgeon or arborist is and what they do, you will know when to call them, or will you?

Many people that have a tree in their front garden which is perhaps starting to grow too close to power lines. Or perhaps extended too far into the street. Will have the first though of grabbing a chain saw and cutting off the protruding limb.

Although all too often this is a mistake.

Let’s face it, how often do we cut off an 800lb piece of wood, 20ft in the air?

So how can we know that we will be able to do it safely?

The answer is of course we don’t but an arborist can. As they are doing it on an almost daily basis.

Not only could we cause ourselves injury but we could also cause damage to other people’s property as well as our own.

Those damages could have very expensive consequences that make the cost of a tree surgeon look like chicken feed.

Additional Benefit

Whilst we have the tree surgeon on site, they can ensure that where the tree has been cut, does not get infected. As well as checking out the well-being of the rest of the tree.

They will be able to advice about any pruning that may be needed to avoid the tree from becoming overgrown in the wrong areas again.

Hiring a Tree Surgeon (Arborist)

Of course even knowing what a tree surgeon is and knowing when we should call one. This does not mean that we will be calling one on a regular basis.

So when we do call one, we should ensure that they are what they profess to be.

We should check any qualifications they may have to support their claim to being an arborist. We should also check that they seem to have adequate equipment to carry out the task successfully. As well as safely.

The hiring of a tree surgeon is not something that we should put off longer than absolutely necessary. As it is rare that a tree will heal itself without help.

The longer you take to call the surgeon, the worse the problem will become and could therefore be more expensive to solve.

Working Conditions

Although some of an arborist’s work can be carried out on the ground and reports can be written in an office. Much of an arborist’s work is done at varying heights up a tree.

For this reason there are special qualifications they can obtain. Affording them the knowledge to work at those heights in safety.

It is this ability for them to work in safety in what can be a very dangerous environment which makes them an asset to any community.

In Summary

A tree surgeon is in fact an arborist who has studied and qualified to become a valued professional.

When I hired a tree surgeon near me, I was impressed with their level of skill and training.

Although arborists may not be called on as often as electricians or plumbers. They do provide a valuable service in ensuring trees do not interfere with power lines. The result causing outages.

They ensure that no tree diseases spread and get out of hand and they also help to keep our surroundings well maintained.

Perhaps often under-appreciated or recognized as professionals. An arborist is none the less a profession that is needed by all of us at one time or another.

If not for our own tree, then for the trees that line our streets and help to keep our atmosphere as healthy as possible.

Before You Consider Tree Surgery, Read This

Tree surgery considerations

Do you have a tree in your yard that’s not doing anything for you? Ready to stump it all and just be done with the whole thing? Bet you didn’t know that tree surgery is a thing.

Tree surgery involves removing a dead or live tree from your property.

This isn’t a simple DIY project that you can get done in a few minutes on your own.

In fact, it’s quite dangerous and you might be better off calling in the pros to help you. Consider this before you attempt to perform tree surgery on your own.

You can find specialists in your area by trying to search for various terms. Something like ‘local tree surgeon’. Or perhaps ‘tree surgeon near me’ for example.


Why Do It?

There are a couple of reasons why you might need to pull out the operating tools and remove a tree from your yard. The first is obvious.

If the tree is dead or dying, getting rid of it is a great way to clean up your yard and make way for a new, live tree. For the second, most people don’t like the thought of cutting down a living tree, but sometimes it’s necessary.

For example, when the roots are threatening your foundation or roof or the branches are getting in the way of your power lines. Maybe the tree is blocking out the sunlight entering your house.


DIY Tree Surgery

Just like medical doctors spend years studying how to operate on people, experts at tree surgery have studied and trained.

You wouldn’t attempt to remove your spouse’s gallbladder and trying to remove a tree isn’t all that much different.

OK, it’s a lot different, but all the same, tree surgery isn’t something to take lightly. It can be very dangerous and result in injury or even death if done improperly.


If you think you’re up for the job, use the following steps for the best results.

  • Your first step is to check the area for obstacles. You don’t want the tree to fall over and take out your fence, another tree, your prized rose garden or your front deck. You also want to make sure it won’t fall on your roof, power lines or vehicles.
  • Now check for the angle of growth. Cutting your tree so it falls in the same direction it’s growing is going to be much easier. Also, check for large dead branches or dead spots in the trunk of the tree, which can interfere with how it falls. If the tree falls at an angle you aren’t expecting, things will go from bad to worse very quickly.
  • Next, make sure you know where you’ll run should the tree fall toward where you’re standing. Experts suggest mapping out two escape routes in case you need to move quickly.
  • Finally, you are ready to actually remove the tree. Make a V-shaped notch in the trunk of the tree, which helps ensure that it will fall in the direction you want it to. This is called the undercut and should be made toward the bottom of the tree trunk.
  • Now, you’ll do a backcut, which involves making another cut about 2 inches above the undercut. Though on the other side of the tree. Make sure the backcut never crosses the undercut, which will make the tree fall right on top of you.
  • Move out of the way once the tree starts to fall.
  • Once the tree is felled, use your tools to remove the branches and then cut the trunk into smaller pieces that you can dispose of or add to your firewood pile.


The Dangers are Real

Now that you have an idea of how you’re going to go about felling your tree, it’s time to get a real picture of the dangers you’re facing.

Unless you’re experienced in such DIY projects, it’s a good idea to consider calling in the pros to perform tree surgery for you. Consider this:

  • Using the wrong tools can be a disaster. You need a good, sharp chainsaw to make your original cuts and then to fell the tree and cut it into pieces.
  • Failing to understand which way the tree can fall could leave you lying under a tree. This can lead to major injuries and death.


Other Types of Tree Surgery

Felling a tree isn’t the only type of surgery that you can perform on your tree.

It’s definitely the most intense type of procedure. Although you can also perform other treatments that can help your tree live a long and healthy life in your yard.

  • Reduction and shaping can help you get an overgrown tree looking polished and beautiful.
  • Lifting and thinning helps create a healthy shape and thickness in your branches.
  • Pollarding involves removing the uppermost branches to keep your tree from getting taller than you want it. This can be done if the tree grows close to power lines or the structure of your home.

As you can see, there’s more to tree surgery than just cutting down a tree.

These procedures can help you create a lovely tree that graces your back or front yard and looks great, no matter how large or small it happens to be.

Properly executed tree surgery can help prolong the life of your tree and ensure that it stays there for as long as you want it to.

Now that you have an idea of how tree surgery works, you probably have a better idea of whether or not you’re up to doing the job yourself.

The process can be as simple as removing a few branches, but it can be as major as removing an entire tree, stump and all. Before you decide to pull out the tools, consider safety.

As mentioned above, it is highly dangerous to perform some of the tree surgery procedures, especially if you’ve never done anything like it before.


If you aren’t absolutely sure you can do so safely, tree surgery should always be done by a professional.

When you choose a professional tree surgeon, you can trust that the job is done correctly. I was quite impressed by the quality of the local tree surgeon near me.

In addition, a trained tree surgeon can also take care of your shrubs and bushes, making sure they are healthy and shapely. When in doubt, call the experts.