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How to Become a Tree Surgeon

If you love to work with your hands and have green fingers, perhaps you would enjoy the type of work an arborist, or tree surgeon, carries out. Obviously, you need a head for heights, and while there are very few actual courses for tree surgery, the best way to get into the industry is to find a company that will take you under their wing and train you.

Learning the Basics

Ask any of the tree surgeons in Devon how they began and they’ll tell you they started as a tree surgeon’s mate. This position involves preparing his equipment, being the ground man while the surgeon is working at height, and helping to clear away brushwood. Once you find a landscape gardening company that will sponsor you, the actual training would take 2-3 years, and you would start by handling the menial tasks, like cleaning the equipment after use.

Basic Skills Taught

To be a competent tree surgeon, you would learn the following:

  • How to sharpen and service a chain saw.
  • How to tie knots.
  • The safety aspect of working at height.
  • Using chainsaws and other tools correctly.

There is some theoretical learning about the various species of trees and how to care for them, while you would also learn about tree disease and treatments.

After 2 years of working under a competent tree surgeon, you would be given more responsibility, and under the expert’s watchful eye, you would be able to tackle tree work. After 4-5 years of working in a supervised role, you would have the self-confidence to work independently, and over the years, your experience would grow, and one day, you too, will be training an apprentice to follow in your footsteps.










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