How Do You Define A Tree Surgeon?

When we marvel at the beauty of a well-maintained landscape or enjoy the shade of a perfectly pruned tree, we rarely think about the expertise and effort required to keep these trees in excellent condition. Enter the tree surgeon, a specialised professional whose skills are essential to the health and longevity of trees.

Trees are vital to our ecosystem, providing oxygen, improving air quality, conserving water, and supporting wildlife. Given their importance, the care and maintenance of trees are paramount, which is where a tree surgeon comes into the picture. But what exactly is a tree surgeon, and how do they differ from an arborist? Let’s delve into the world of tree care and discover the vital role these professionals play in maintaining the health of our environment.

The Role of a Tree Surgeon

These days the term tree surgeon is used interchangeably with the term arborist, and whilst they are similar, they are significantly different. If you want to find out about what makes an arborist, we discuss what exactly they are in our blog ‘What Is An Arborist?’.

A tree surgeon however, is a professional trained in the physical maintenance of trees. They are the emergency responders in the arboreal world, equipped to handle tasks ranging from pruning and trimming to diagnosing and treating diseases. Tree surgeons perform a crucial role in ensuring the safety and health of trees in both urban and rural landscapes.

They are trained to use sophisticated climbing and rigging techniques, as well as power tools, to perform their duties safely and efficiently. Their expertise allows them to make informed decisions about the care needed to preserve or enhance a tree’s health.

One of the primary responsibilities of a tree surgeon is to assess and manage the risks associated with trees. They identify potential hazards, such as weak branches or disease-infested trees, that could pose a threat to people, property, or the trees themselves. By addressing these issues, tree surgeons play a vital role in preventing accidents and ensuring public safety.

The Connection Between Tree Surgeons and Arborists

While the terms “tree surgeon” and “arborist” are often used synonymously, there are distinctions worth noting. we’ve explored this topic in depth in the blog post “What Is An Arborist?“, where we define an arborist as a professional who not only performs tree care tasks but also specialises in the study of individual trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennial woody plants. Arborists have a broader focus on the health and well-being of the entire ecosystem surrounding the tree.

For the very best tree care it is important to have access to both tree surgeons and arborists. Their skills combined ensure good strategy for tree maintenance and breathe life back into trees and woodlands with extensive knowledge of tree biology and safe, effective tree work. 

At Waterman Tree Co. we recognise that this dual approach is essential for delivering a high level of service throughout Hertfordshire and Devon. We have fully qualified arborists and a talented team of tree surgeons ready to help you with whatever tree care service you need. 

Considering the Cost of an Arborist

The investment in a tree surgeon or an arborist’s services is an investment in the future health of your trees and the overall landscape. The cost of these services can vary based on the complexity of the job and the level of expertise required. For a detailed breakdown of what to expect when budgeting for tree care, check out our post on “How Much Does An Arborist Cost?“. It provides insights into the factors that influence the cost of hiring a professional to care for your trees.

So What is the Role of a Tree Surgeon?

The role of a tree surgeon is integral to the health and longevity of trees in our environment. These professionals combine their passion for the outdoors with their technical expertise to ensure that trees remain a vital part of our landscape. Whether you’re looking to maintain the trees in your backyard or explore habitat regeneration, felling a nuisance tree or addressing a potential hazard, understanding the work of a tree surgeon is the first step towards ensuring the well-being of your green assets.

For those interested in the broader scope of tree care and maintenance, exploring the roles and costs associated with hiring an arborist will provide a comprehensive understanding of how to best care for your trees. Remember, the care we provide for our trees today will shape the environment we live in tomorrow.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’re looking for tree care services in Devon or Hertfordshire.

FAQ About Tree Surgeons


How do tree surgeons assess the risk and decide which trees or branches pose a potential hazard to people or property?

Tree surgeons assess the risk posed by trees or branches through a detailed inspection that takes into account several factors. They look for signs of disease, decay, structural weaknesses, and any damage caused by external factors such as storms. The location of the tree, its proximity to buildings, power lines, and public access areas, as well as the tree’s overall health and stability, are also considered. Using their expertise, tree surgeons can identify which trees or branches are likely to fail and pose a risk, enabling them to take appropriate action to mitigate any potential hazards.


Can tree surgeons provide services related to the aesthetic aspects of tree care, such as shaping and design, or are their services limited to health and safety concerns?

Tree surgeons can indeed provide services related to the aesthetic aspects of tree care, such as shaping, design, and pruning for visual appeal. While their primary focus often lies in the health and safety of trees, their skill set and training also equip them to enhance the appearance of trees in a landscape. This can include formative pruning to develop a tree’s shape as it grows, selective pruning to create a desired aesthetic effect, or remedial work to improve the appearance of trees that have been previously damaged or poorly pruned.


How does the cost of hiring a tree surgeon for emergency tree care differ from planned maintenance or aesthetic tree shaping services?

The cost of hiring a tree surgeon for emergency tree care is generally higher than for planned maintenance or aesthetic tree shaping services. This is because emergency services often require immediate response, which can involve working outside of regular hours, deploying additional resources quickly, and taking extra precautions to deal with potentially dangerous situations. In contrast, planned maintenance and aesthetic services can be scheduled in advance, allowing for more efficient resource allocation and potentially lower costs due to the non-urgent nature of the work.


What steps are involved in the process of felling a nuisance tree, and how do tree surgeons ensure that this is done safely, especially in densely populated areas?

The process of felling a nuisance tree involves several steps to ensure safety, particularly in densely populated areas. Initially, a comprehensive risk assessment is conducted to plan the felling operation, considering the tree’s size, condition, and proximity to structures or people. Tree surgeons then use precise cutting techniques to control the direction of the tree’s fall, often employing ropes and rigging to guide the tree safely to the ground. Safety zones are established to keep the public and property clear of the operation area. Throughout the process, tree surgeons use their expertise in climbing and cutting, alongside specialised equipment, to minimise risks and ensure that the tree is felled in a controlled and safe manner, adhering to legal and environmental guidelines.