Ideally, people have the opportunity to work in a field they love. For those who love trees, there are a surprising number of tree service jobs available. From the general arborist, whose sole focus is the care and maintenance of trees, to the more broadly focused urban forester, anyone interested in working with trees can find a career that uses his/her unique passion and talents.
Planting and caring for trees can help absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Trees stabilize slopes, prevent erosion, and help absorb stormwater runoff.
They can even help counteract the “heat island effect” of urban areas and keep spaces cooler in the summer. That’s why all of these jobs not only provide people the opportunity to work with trees, they are also important roles in helping create a better planet for everyone.
The following are four career opportunities for those tree lovers.
An arborist is probably the most tree-specific career path on this list. An arborist maintains trees and shrubs through trimming and pruning, to ensure they don’t interfere with public works like power lines, roads, or sidewalks.
An arborist’s services may also be used to improve the appearance, health, or value of trees. Arborists may work under job titles like tree trimmer, tree climber, ground worker, or line clearance foreman.
Arborists cut away dead or renegade branches from trees and bushes that pose a risk to utility lines, roads, and sidewalks. Some also focus on improving the appearance and health of trees and plants, and some specialize in dealing with tree diseases. Others focus on beautification of decorative species, shaping ornamental trees and shrubs.
Arborists use and maintain a variety of equipment on a daily basis, including trucks, tractors, chippers, power saws, sprayers, and other tools. They hoist the equipment up to where it’s needed, then cut away low-hanging, dead, or obstructive tree limbs. They then dispose of the cuttings by lowering them down with ropes or block and tackle, feeding them into chippers and hauling them away. They often need to climb trees with ladders or other equipment to reach work areas. Arborists also fertilize and spray trees.
Arborists help keep things running smoothly in cities and towns everywhere. Without them, roads, sidewalks, and power lines would become dangerous. They also help improve tree health.
Probably one of the better-known tree service jobs on this list, landscape architects create the landscapes and plan, design and manage open spaces including both natural and built environments. Their work provides innovative and aesthetically-pleasing environments for people to enjoy while ensuring that changes to the natural environment are appropriate, sensitive, and sustainable.
Collaborating closely with other professionals, they work on a diverse range of projects in both urban and rural settings. From parks, gardens, and housing estates to city-centre design, sporting sites, and motorway construction.
Additionally, landscape architects oversee the design of a variety of projects. These include urban regeneration schemes, pedestrian schemes, road or retail schemes, and maintenance of the character of sites, while also working to accurately prepare and present detailed plans and drawings of the redesign, including application, construction details, and specifications for the project using computer-aided design (CAD) packages or similar design software.
Landscape architects are key to tackling today’s challenges, shaping the outside world and creating better health, social, economic, and environmental outcomes for the future. To do this, landscape architects collaborate with homeowners, architects, city planners, civil engineers, and more.
Living in an urban environment has typically meant living a life disconnected from nature, but urban foresters are working to change that by creating a new kind of forest; one that thrives within the city to help balance the fast-paced urban environment.
Just as urban forestry brings trees back into the city, the career of urban forester brings these professionals back into the office where they work to help shape decisions and policy for urban planning.
The field of urban forestry has emerged within the last three decades and is becoming more important as society revolves more and more around the urban environment.
City trees, once managed and planned by city arborists, are now coming under the care of urban foresters who look not only at the health of specific trees, but also at the city ecosystem.
Urban foresters need a technical knowledge of biology and biological processes including soils and irrigation systems along with a general knowledge of forest ecology. A four-year degree in forestry management or urban forestry provides the essential background in ecosystem management.
Urban foresters are often called on to help residents with tree care and tree problems such as proper planting, pruning, and maintenance techniques, as well as helping residents select the proper tree species.
Like their counterparts, the urban foresters, silviculturists devote their careers to the cultivation and care of forests. While urban foresters focus on single tree specimens, silviculturists look at stands of trees between 10 and 30 acres and determine the volume for commercial output taking into account the factors of disease, soil, water, climate, and different species.
Currently, opportunities for silviculturists on public forests are scarce as budgets for agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service continue to be cut back. Private industry, however, such as large companies that own forest land, also employ silviculturists to manage land and preserve the integrity of the forest.
Silviculturists need a minimum of a four-year degree from an approved forestry program. Those fortunate enough to be hired by the U.S. Forest Service also receive additional training equivalent to a Master’s degree.
Recent advances in technology and computer software development have meant sweeping changes in the way silviculturists perform their work. Initially, silviculturists conduct sample inventories of ecosystems found in a stand of trees being studied. That information is then compiled into a computer database for analysis. Silviculturists can then integrate the information from several databases to create maps that allow them to project the different layers of the ecosystem, such as streams, vegetation, and roads, to determine how they interact with one another.
Whether you grow up to be an arborist, silviculturist, landscape architect, urban forester or any other profession, these are just the start of where life can take you if you love trees.