“Trees need care – trust professionals.”
This is a simple message the readers of this fine magazine are sure to understand. However, there is often a disconnect when we look at making this statement understood by the broader public. There is still work to be done in letting our clients, elected officials and the general citizenry understand the benefits of trees and of professional tree care. Too many people still think an arborist is someone who just cuts trees down.
Many people put a high value on their lawns, with fertilization and herbicide treatments and weekly mowing to keep it at the perfect length. Yet the tree that drops seeds and leaves twice a year is considered a nuisance, and raking is often too time consuming. Consider that if a lawn is damaged through lack of irrigation, improper mowing or overzealous herbicide applications, it can be replaced within a couple of months. If a tree is damaged through improper pruning, it may create uncorrectable harm that could take 150 years or more to replace! As arborists, we leave a legacy that will last many years with every tree we prune or plant.
Storms are becoming more frequent, with greater intensity, and many homeowners are concerned that their trees may fail and cause property damage. In many of their minds, trees can be considered liabilities rather than assets to the property. Yet we need trees, and not just the cute little ornamental trees; we need big trees that provide shade and maximize the benefits only a big tree can provide.
As professionals, it’s our job to help our clients make the best decisions about their trees. We offer suggestions and advice and guide them in prioritization of the needs of their trees. We need to continue to get the word out to our clients and others in the community of the importance of trees and why professionals should be hired to work on them. Tree work is a skilled trade and is dangerous if done incorrectly.
I’ve been an arborist for more than 20 years now, and the time sure has gone fast. I have seen our industry’s professionalism increase, along with the credentialing to prove it. More companies have become accredited and expanded the number of CTSPs on staff, and the ISA Certified Arborist program continues to grow. Apprenticeship programs are growing in many places in the country, attracting new employees and creating pathways for skilled workers in our trade. The future is bright.
We need to continue to show the public the importance of our credentials and our knowledge, and demonstrate how important they are to what we do every day. Continue to do good work, continue to grow your knowledge base about trees and the industry. Try to get active in your community and find ways to help get the message out: “Trees need care – trust professionals.”
There are many ways to do this. Networking groups, volunteering at an event, speaking to a classroom of kids or a garden club, voicing your opinion at a town meeting, hosting a kids’ climb – the list goes on.
August Hoppe is owner and president of Hoppe Tree Service, LLC, an accredited, 22-year TCIA member company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a member of the TCIA Board of Directors.