Tree Foundation of Kern

Tree Technician

To provide tree care services that promote optimal growth and correct problems with minimal damage.

Current day tree trimmers regularly lift impossible weights and defy gravity. They climb and jump and walk on limbs. Using ropes and pulleys and levers, they cut and lift big branches safely, without accident or injury.

"I was always amazed by the skill of just about all the crew in how they got even the largest trees down without causing any damage, and with total clean-up afterwards" says Dan Docker, a former Bartlett intern.

No two days are the same for a tree technician. Work is varied and depends on training, experience and the season. Winter brings about routine pruning and take downs of hazardous trees, particularly in storm recovery. Other seasons require cable bracing, installing lightning protection, mulching and fertilizing, planting and staking.

A successful tree technician needs climbing ability and agility, and mechanical savvy to operate state of the art heavy equipment, including spray rigs, ropes, ladders, pole and chain saws, log trucks and wood chippers. A tree crew may have to do two crane removals per day following some heavy rains or ice storms. Tree crews will respond to emergencies and travel to locations that have been heavily damaged by hurricanes and other natural forces.

Whereas the tree care industry was previously fragmented by lots of small operators, as information and research findings became increasingly available, there is increased consolidation towards scientifically based tree care.

Three internationally based tree care companies include Bartlett Tree Experts, Davey Tree and Asplundh. Large companies are well suited to provide on the job training. While tree trimmers can be effective with lots of on the job training, the trend is towards formal education in forest management, aboriculture and/or pest management. A license is required to apply chemicals for pest control.

Two national societies include National Arborist Association (NAA) and International Society of Aboriculture (ISA).

"Tree care costs more" says Walter Dages, Editor of Tree Topics for Bartlett Tree Experts, but "despite the costs, we're (delivering) better value."

Tree technician salaries start at $1,800 per month and can rise to $2,500 and beyond as knowledge, experience, education and licensing are obtained.