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Tree Surgeon Geek Speak
What’s the difference between an arborist and a tree surgeon? And is an arborist the same as an arboriculturist? Every trade has its own language and tree surgery is no exception. In fact arborist, arboriculturist and tree surgeon are all different terms for the same tree professional. It is someone who is trained and skilled in the management of trees, shrubs and woody plants. A tree surgeon is involved in looking after the health of trees and the pruning of them to keep them vigorous or for aesthetic or practical reasons. And of course the tree surgeon is there if your tree needs to be removed for any reason.
An arboretum is a botanical garden that is devoted to trees and a term also often used by companies that grow trees for sale. There are some specialist terms for arboreta that grow sole species of trees, including pinetum (conifers), saliceta (willows) and querceta (oaks).
Dendrology is the term for the study of wooded plants, including trees, shrubs and vines. It’s a big subject and a search on Google will give you lots of information.
A horticulturist on the other hand is involved in the cultivation of plants that we eat or use for decoration. It could be argued that trees are the ultimate decorative plant!
Silviculture is the growing and cultivation of trees, though this term refers to trees in forests and in particular the raising of trees as a crop. The study of woods and forests is known as silvology (yes really!) The name comes from the Latin silvi – meaning forest.
Whatever term is used for growing and looking after trees, the job of the arborist remains the same. It’s to be aware of the health and welfare of trees and to know when to take action to curb or prevent disease or in some cases to remove them to protect the spread of disease. Sadly we are faced with many problems that are facing our tree population, from airborne pollution caused by planes to diseases being brought to the UK on imported plants. It pays to be vigilant and have regular tree inspections because mature trees take many years to replace.
If you get the chance to visit an arboretum, it’s well worth going to observe mature specimens of different types. There’s a world of difference between a mature conifer and a majestic oak and it’s fascinating to learn about some of our wonderful native trees.
Just an hour from Solihull is the beautiful Arley Arboretum, which features over 300 species of tree and has a spectacular laburnum arch that reaches for 65 metres. It’s one of the country’s oldest arboreta and a visit in the autumn is a magnificent sight as leaves change colour throughout the arboretum. Amongst the wonderful specimens you’ll find the lovely magnolia garden, at its best in the spring of course, and the recently-restored Italian garden. Well worth a visit for anyone who appreciates the beauty and peace of trees.
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