Tree Foundation of Kern

Botanical Farmer

To provide tree services to homeowners, commercial property owners and municipalities

A career as an arborist combines physical challenge with scientific know-how for those who have never lost their childhood love of climbing trees or milling about alone beneath a canopy of green branches.

As a certified city arborist, Ed Lazaroti loved the variety and new challenges presented each day on the job. Each morning at 7 a.m., Lazaroti climbed into the truck that served as his office and patrolled a large urban forest pruning trees, removing dead trees, fertilizing and spraying for disease and insects.

Often independent, arborists must also possess good people skills when meeting with clients. The job also requires extensive experience in tree work including climbing, pruning and removing trees.

"The better prepared you are, the better you'll do," said Roger Poulson, a certified arborist in Citrus Heights, Calif. "You have to know basic botany, tree physiology and you have to be acquainted with individual species of trees and their characteristics."

Work as an arborist is often physically demanding requiring tree climbing and hauling limbs. "You need to be able to pull up your own weight and then some with your hands only," Poulson said.

In addition to physical strength and an understanding of the science of trees, arborists also work with a variety of equipment and machinery and must understand how to operate and often maintain and repair the tools of the trade.

Chain saws, chipping machines, ropes and climbing gear, pruners and stump grinders are just some of the equipment used routinely in the work of an arborist. Operating large trucks

Poulson, who grew up on an almond tree farm, always loved trees and the outdoors and went to work for a tree company.

Poulson said the career of arborist, more than most, demands on-the-job training. When he decided to form his own tree service company, however, Poulson went to college and picked up a degree in horticulture and arboriculture. "To progress you need the books," Poulson said.

In a typical day, Poulson meets with three to four clients, sometimes helping resolve disputes over trees between neighbors. "If you're going to do anything other than strictly dealing with trees, you do need some common courtesy, a little bit of knowledge about human nature," he said.