An arborist, or (less commonly) Arboriculturalist, is a professional in the practice of arboriculture, which is the cultivation, management, and study of individual trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennial woody plants. An informal term is 'Tree surgeon'. Arborist’s generally
focus on the health and safety of individual plants and trees, rather than managing forests (the domains of Forestry and Silviculture) or harvesting wood. An arborist's scope of work is therefore distinct from that of either a forester or a logger, though the professions share much in common.

DGS Trees does not provide forestry services, we are specialist arboricultural service providers of tree surgery, hedge cutting and tree consultancy services, throughout Southampton and Hampshire.

Typical Arborist service’s provided.....


Tree Work and hedge cutting, Arborist’s who climb (as not all do) use a variety of techniques to ascend into the tree. The least invasive, and most popular technique used is to ascend on rope and harness. When personal safety is an issue, or the tree is being removed, arborist’smay
use 'spikes', attached to chainsaw boots with straps to ascend and work. Spikes wound the tree, leaving small holes where each step has been, so spikes are not normally worn on healthy trees with few exceptions.

An arborist's work may involve very large and complex trees, or small amenity trees such as fruit or young developing trees and also
includes hedge cutting. Trees may require monitoring and treatment to ensure they are healthy, safe, and suitable to property owners or community standards. This work may include some or all of the following: planting; transplanting; pruning; structural support; preventing, or diagnosing and treating unhealthy diseased trees; installing lightning protection; and removing vegetation deemed as hazardous, an invasive species, a disease vector, or a weed.

DGS Trees provides a comprehensive range of tree services.

Tree Consultancy, Arborist’s may also plan, consult, write reports and give legal testimony. While some aspects of this work are done on the ground or in an office, much of it is done by arborist’s who climb the trees with ropes, harnesses and other equipment. Lifts and cranes may
be used too. The work of all arborist’sis not the same. Some may just perform consulting; others may perform climbing, pruning and planting: a combination.

DGS Trees provides a comprehensive range of tree consultancy services.


Arborist qualifications – Arborist’s undertake specialist training

Arborist’s gain qualifications to practice arboriculture in a variety of ways and some arborist’s are more qualified than others dependant
on the services they provide.

Experience and working safely and effectively in and around trees is essential, arboriculture is a risk jib and requires extensive training. Arborist’s tend to specialize in one or more disciplines of arboriculture, such as diagnosis and treatment, climbing and pruning, cabling and lightning protection, or perhaps consultation and report writing. All these disciplines are related and some arborist’s are very well experienced in all areas of tree work, but not all arborist’s have the training or experience to properly practice every discipline.

DGS Trees have the competence and experience to provide tree pruning, hedge cutting and tree consultancy services. The Director Mark Hines has acquired ND Arboriculture acquired during 3 years full time study at Merrist Wood College. Mark has also worked in Local Government as a Tree Officer managing trees in the local landscape and worked as a tree surgeon for over twenty years. This compilation of experience and qualifications enables DGS to provide a comprehensive range of services to our clients.

Many arborist’s choose to pursue formal certification, which is available in some countries and varies somewhat by location. An arborist who
holds certification in one or more disciplines may be expected to participate in rigorous continuing education requirements to ensure continuous improvement of skills and techniques.

DGS Trees regularly attends training workshops and conferences seminars discussing the latest tree surgery techniques and research.

In the UK an arborist can gain qualifications up to and including a Masters degree. Generally most arborist’s only attain chainsaw related safety certificates (NPTCs) in addition to the practical qualifications offered by many land-based colleges. College-based courses include further education qualifications, such as national certificate, national diploma, while higher education courses in arboriculture include foundation degree, bachelors degree and masters degree.

DGS Trees have qualification to the level of ND Arb and all staff are trained to the level of NPTC UNITS CS 40 as a minimum.

Consulting Arborists:
Arborist’s who have been in the field for a number of years often choose to become consultants. This is a special area of aboriculture, and the body responsible for certification of a Consulting Arborist.

DGS Trees provides tree consultancy services that includes:

Tree Reports-
Usually less that 10 trees closely inspected and included in a written report detailing findings, making recommendations

Tree Surveying
Surveying lots of trees for land owners to populate maps and develop a tree inventory



Arborist’s usually have specialist equipment to undertake their works and may include Woodchipers and stump grinders for example as well
as well known equipment like chainsaws.


DGS Trees have wood chippers and a tracked stump grinder amongst other equipment, we can provide a comprehensive service with our range of equipment.

Trees in urban landscape settings are often subject to disturbances, whether human or natural, both above and below ground. They may require care to improve their chances of survival following damage from either biotic or abiotic causes. Arborist’s can provide appropriate solutions, such as pruning trees for health and good structure, for aesthetic reasons, and to permit people to walk under them (a technique often referred to as "crown raising"), or to keep them away from wires, fences and buildings (a technique referred to as "crown reduction"). Timing and methods of treatment depend on the species of tree and the purpose of the work. To determine the best practices, a thorough knowledge of local species and environments is essential.

There can be a vast difference between the techniques and practices of professional arborist’s and those of inadequately trained tree workers who simply "trim trees". Some commonly offered "services" are considered unacceptable by modern arboricultural standards and may seriously damage, disfigure, weaken, or even kill trees. One such example is tree topping, lopping (see our article on Lopping & Topping), commonly entire tops of trees or main stems are removed, generally by cross-cutting the main stem(s) or leaders, leaving large unsightly stubs.

Trees that manage to survive such treatment are left prone to a spectrum of detrimental effects, including vigorous but weakly attached re-growth, pest susceptibility, pathogen intrusion, and internal decay.


Pruning should only be done with a specific purpose in mind. Every cut is a wound, and every leaf lost is removal of some photosynthetic potential. Proper pruning can be helpful in many ways, but should always be done with the minimum amount of live tissue removed.

In recent years, research has proven that wound dressings such as paint, tar or other coverings are unnecessary and may harm trees. The
coverings may encourage growth of decay-causing fungi. Proper pruning, by cutting through branches at the right location, can do more to limit decay than wound dressing.


Chemicals can be applied to trees for insect or disease control through spraying, soil application, stem injections or spraying. Compacted or disturbed soils can be improved in various ways.

Arborist’s can also assess trees to determine health, structure, safety or feasibility within a landscape and in proximity to humans. Modern arboriculture has progressed in technology and sophistication from practices of the past. Many current practices are based on knowledge gained through recent research, including that of the late Alex Shigo, considered one "fathers" of modern arboriculture.

DGS undertake all of our work in accordance with the latest research and techniques.


Legal issues for arborist’s

Depending on the jurisdiction, there may be a number of legal issues surrounding the practices of arborist’s, including boundary issues, public safety issues, "heritage" trees of community value; and "neighbour" issues such as ownership, obstruction of views, impacts of roots crossing boundaries, nuisance problems, disease or insect quarantines, and safety of nearby trees.

DGS Trees are frequently consulted to establish the factual basis of disputes involving trees, or by private property owners seeking to avoid legal liability through the duty of care. Arborist’s may be asked to assess the value of a tree in the process of an insurance claim for trees damaged or destroyed, or to recover damages resulting from tree theft or vandalism. In cities with tree preservation orders an arborist's evaluation of tree hazard may be required before a property owner may remove a tree, or to assure the protection of trees in development plans and during construction operations.

Homeowners who have entered into contracts with a homeowner's association (see also Restrictive covenants) may need an arborist's
professional opinion of a hazardous condition prior to removing a tree, or may be obligated to assure the protection of the views of neighbouring properties prior to planting a tree or in the course of pruning. Arborist’s may be engaged by one member of a dispute in order to identify factual information about trees useful to that member of the dispute, or they can be engaged as an expert witness providing unbiased scientific knowledge in a court case.

Homeowners associations seeking to write restrictive covenants, or legislative bodies seeking to write laws involving trees, may seek the counsel of arborist’s in order to avoid future difficulties.

Before undertaking works in the UK, arborist’s have a legal responsibility to survey trees for wildlife, especially bats, which are afforded particular legal protection. In addition, any tree in the UK can be covered by a tree preservation order or a conservation area and it is illegal
to conduct any work on a tree, including pruning, before permission has been sought from the local council. There are exemptions from the application process which include, Dead, Dying or Dangerous trees may be worked on without consent however the burden of proof regarding this classification of exemption remains the responsibility of the person/s undertaking the works.


The International Society of Arboriculture, a non-profit organization, maintains a list of ISA Certified Arborist’s who have passed a written exam and demonstrated a basic level of knowledge in arboriculture. There are also additional classifications of certified arborist’s with Certified Arborist/Utility Specialist for those who work near power lines, and Certified Arborist/Municipal Specialist for those who deal mostly with community trees. Other certifications exist for Certified Tree Workers, and the highest level of certification, the Board Certified Master Arborist.


In the UK, the principal organisation representing arborist’s is the Arboricultural Association. The association maintain a register of consultants who have demonstrated a high level of technical arboricultural knowledge, and operate an Approved Contractor scheme. This scheme assesses both the technical competence and business practices of arboricultural contractors.

The European Arboricultural Council is a European group of arboriculture organizations from various countries.