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  • Writer's pictureAM Ground Maintenance

What does a tree surgeon do?

A qualified tree surgeon carries out a multitude of tasks, but it’s not just the physical labour that distinguishes one from your average handyperson, it’s also the professionalism that they bring to the job. Safety procedures, legal regulations, insurance requirements, specialist equipment and years of experience all provide the customer with peace of mind that they’re in good hands.

The terms “tree surgeon” and “arborist” are often used interchangeably when describing a tree expert, but there is a subtle difference between the two. As its name implies, tree surgeons are adept at all aspects of physical maintenance, and able to perform technical procedures to remove branches, reduce crowns and fell trees etc. Arborists are trained in the biology of the structure, and understand trees on the molecular level. This means they can focus on the health of the tree and know what is best to help it thrive going forwards. Whilst there is inevitably a lot of overlap between the two roles, a quality grounds maintenance company will incorporate both sets of professionals.

What tasks does a tree surgeon carry out?

A skilled tree surgeon is qualified to carry out many technical manual procedures. Some of the main ones are listed below.

Tree inspections: Tree surgeons are experienced in knowing whether trees in an area are safe or whether they represent a potential hazard. A detailed inspection of a property will highlight the work required to make the area safe. In addition to this, they will be also able to see how healthy particular trees are, and to ascertain an evaluation of what needs to be done to improve its general wellbeing.


The removal of weak and dead branches is one of the most common functions of a tree surgeon. Not only do these branches represent safety hazards to nearby people and property, they negatively affect a tree’s health. Removing and pruning back to the correct level will promote health and growth.


This technique is similar to pruning but concerns a more severe cutting back of upper branches of a tree near the tree’s crown. This is a specialised procedure that requires a skilled arborist, as it is important not to cut back too severely. Pollarding is often done to reduce the bulk and weight of a tree’s crown, promoting growth and also providing wood. Want to know more about pollarding? Click here.

Crown reduction:

This technique is not as severe as pollarding, but is more a case of reducing the bulk and thickness of the crown. The arborist will cut away unhealthy small branches and also trim a lot of the foliage of the crown. This could also provide more daylight for the lower limbs of the tree and the wildlife below. Crown reduction will generally preserve the shape of the tree and make it look tidier.

Tree removal:

Whilst a tree surgeon will usually prioritise a tree’s survival, in certain cases it’s not possible and requires removal. One that can’t be saved or isn’t in the interest of public safety will need to be carefully and professionally removed. This will generally be done in stages and involve a team. The surgeon will usually remove the branches and foliage from the top down, gradually cutting away small parts of the tree. This gradual approach enables the team to clear away debris as the task progresses and provides space and room for the tree to be completely felled until only the stump remains. Click here to read more about tree removal.

Stump removal:

Stumps can often be potentially hazardous so their removal is another task that is best undertaken by a skilled professional. Grounds maintenance companies such as AM Ground Maintenance will possess specialised stump grinding equipment to break the stump down and permit its safe removal. Find out more here.

Vegetation clearance:

Often a site needs to be completely cleared of all trees and vegetation, for example when land is being developed for property building etc. It’s important that this is carried out by experts to ensure all roots and potential regrowth are removed.

Planting trees:

Not only does a tree surgeon deal with the maintenance of existing trees, it’s also worth bearing in mind that they have extensive knowledge when it comes to planting new ones. Often an area will require new trees to be planted, and once more specialised equipment should be used. A skilled arborist knows how trees should go into the ground and what conditions it will need to thrive in a particular area. In addition to this, cables and machinery will often be required to safely lower the new tree into position.

Safety is of paramount importance when carrying out any type of arboreal maintenance. Employing a qualified tree surgeon is essential in order to protect property and any persons in the vicinity of the work. Not only do they possess the correct mechanical equipment for doing the task efficiently, they will also have a series of nets, ropes and harnesses to safely lower and remove any branches or debris. In addition to this, all reputable tree surgeons will be fully insured against any unforeseen incidents.

Without hiring professionals, any accidental injury to passers by, property, or people on the property could result in litigation running into many thousands of pounds. Hiring a qualified tree surgeon will bring with it public liability cover, as well as accidental damage to property. Skilled professionals will reduce any likelihood of such mishaps as they will know how to bring down branches and trees in a controlled manner, ensuring they fall safely away from any hazards.

At AM Ground Maintenance, we have fully qualified tree surgeons ready for the task. Contact us today to discuss your needs.
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