Do You Need a Landscaper or an Arborist?

Landscaping and Arboriculture

Do You Need a Landscaper or an Arborist?

Many homeowners may not distinguish between landscapers or arborists—those are people that take care of the greenery on the property, right? But your needs—and the needs of your trees and lawn—may mean keeping at least two phone numbers in your address book to make sure your property receives all the care it needs.

About Landscaping

An important part of the word landscaping is “land.” Landscapers (or even DIYers doing landscaping projects) care for lawns (including irrigation), gardens, groundcover, landscape and hardscape, and some shrub pruning. Whether annual or perennial, the care is usually of young-growth plants and greenery. Because of the scale of the plant life landscapers work with, the tools are much smaller than those required in tree care. And all the work generally stays on the ground. Skilled landscapers have horticultural knowledge about a variety of plant, flower, and groundcover types (and their nurturing needs), and are often called upon for landscape design and aesthetics.

About Arboriculture

In contrast, arborists perform arboriculture: caring for mature trees—including pruning, removing, and stump grinding. In addition to knowledge of tree surgery and performing maintenance that promotes healthy tree growth, arborists regularly use heavy machinery, powerful tools (such as chainsaws and wood chippers), and climbing gear (and should carry the proper insurance to go with it). Arborists have specialized knowledge regarding how trimming impacts the life of a tree—either positively or negatively—and the most beneficial actions to take. In addition, land clearing tasks such as stump grinding and removal requires specialized knowledge and equipment in order to prepare the land for future sod and landscaping.

Combining Forces

The differences between landscapers and arborists doesn’t mean you call one or the other. In some cases—especially larger outdoor projects—you may call both. New development or re-landscaping may require the knowledge and services of both types of professionals, and you’ll want them to collaborate.

The landscaper will play an important role in recommending overall design—which types of flora are chosen and planted… and where. And upon completion of the initial project, a landscaper may be hired for ongoing maintenance of ground-level plantings, lawn, and smaller shrubs and trees.

The arborist will care for fully-grown trees, tree emergencies, removing low branches, thinning overgrown canopies, removing stumps, and (in the case of new or renewed landscaping), addressing transplanting, root (over)growth, and other projects that help inform and support the overall intended landscape design.

Landscaping definitely encompasses more than just weekly lawn care. But it generally doesn’t (or shouldn’t) venture into the realm of high-flying tree trimming and heavy machinery operations. These disciplines collaborate with each other, but who you call depends on whether the work is closer to the “land” or the “limbs.”

Need an arborist for your project? Get in touch with us!

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