Oregon has a lot of trees. You didn’t need us to tell you that. Nearly everywhere you visit within this beautiful state, you’ll be confronted by trees of all different shapes, sizes, and species. And did we mention the colors? Perhaps the most striking feature of Oregon’s trees are the colors. During the spring and summer months, you can stroll through vibrant green forests or pink and white blossoming wonderlands. Come autumn, those forests will transform into dazzling reds and yellows. During the wintertime, the evergreens will bring a pop of color to the snowy landscapes.
Oregon’s 67 native species of trees have an appeal that goes beyond the visual. They keep the air fresh while filtering pollution, preventing erosion, supporting hundreds of animal species, giving shade, and even providing a health benefit to people living near them. It’s no wonder then that people flock to Oregon specifically for the trees.
Many people take their love of all things arboreal a step further and try to find employment in the tree business. Plenty of trees means plenty of jobs devoted to keeping trees both healthy and presentable. Most of these jobs require specific licenses and training. Licensed tree service professionals can make as much as $53,000 a year, a comfortable living for a job outdoors among beautiful trees.
We’ve compiled a list of the top five tree service jobs in the Oregon area:
The term “arborist” is actually a blanket term for several different tree service professionals, and many of the entries on this list could be considered arborists in one way or another. Primarily, however, what an arborist does is serve as a sort of “tree surgeon.” Their responsibility is the health and cosmetic appearance of the trees.
Doing the job that essentially amounts to both “doctor” and “barber” for trees, an arborist must be able to diagnose, as well as treat, pests and diseases. In many cases, this means a branch has become weakened and will pose a threat to people and property. This can also mean suckers have sprouted on the tree trunk. These will sap water and nutrients and harm the tree, so it’s an arborist’s job to remove them. Arborists also deal with pest infestations, such as termites or other harmful bugs.
An arborist is also responsible for pruning and shearing the tree’s branches, which must be done without posing a risk to the tree. If cuts are made too deeply or in the wrong places, then they can become infected by bacteria or fungi.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career as an arborist, you’re likely to need a license from the Tree Care Industry Association. While the job doesn’t require a college degree, you’ll need to be proficient with a wide variety of tools, including pruning shears, chainsaws, and stump grinders. Many arborists learn their trade through apprenticeship.
Another critical tree service job is that of a landscaper. While an arborist primarily works in the tree, a landscaper is responsible for the grounds around it. As you might expect, this can entail an absolutely massive array of responsibilities. As a landscaper, an average day can include mowing, digging, planting, and more. That’s in addition to your tree-related responsibilities. A big part of a landscapers’ duties can include removing dead and fallen trees from property, as well as stump removal. A landscaper may also need to plant new trees on the property.
Most landscapers are trained on-the-job, earning their experience as they work closely with a mentor. Eventually, they’ll complete their apprenticeship and be promoted to full-on landscapers.
While an arborist is usually a tree climber, not all tree climbers are arborists. However, all tree climbers do need to be highly trained and have access to the right equipment to get the job done. Needless to say, when climbing into a tall tree, you’ll need to make safety a priority. A properly fitted climbing harness is a must. The right ropes, cables, and lanyards are also necessary. It’s also important for tree climbers to have equally experienced partners. Having a spotter is a crucial part of making sure you can climb a tree safely.
Being a trained and licensed tree climber is not just important for your own safety either. You’re also committed to the health and well-being of the trees you climb. Making your way into the highest branches of a tree should be done with the utmost care in order to avoid harming the tree. Some tree climbers make use of climbing cleats. There are specific instances where this is fine—such as climbing an already-dead tree. In other cases, however, it can gouge, and therefore seriously injure, the tree.
To become a tree climber, you’ll need to learn and practice under the watchful eye of other tree service professionals. You’ll also need to secure the right equipment or find employment with a company, such as Mr. Tree, who can provide it for you.
Related to all of the above jobs, a tree trimmer is a professional who’s capable of pruning trees without causing them any harm. Trimmers may remove small branches, but they may also be responsible for the removal of larger limbs. This is where it can get a little tricky because, in many cases, it’s not possible to let large limbs simply fall to the ground. Part of the responsibility of a tree trimmer is to remove larger parts of the tree with great care. You may have to lower them carefully to the ground using a system of ropes and cables.
As with many of the jobs on this list, the primary method of becoming a tree trimmer is to learn the trade from other experienced tree trimmers. You’ll complete an apprenticeship and then begin working the job yourself once you have accrued enough time under the tutelage of experts.
One of the most important tree service jobs involves the conservation of Oregon’s gorgeous natural trees. As a forester, you’ll study the ecology and conservation of dozens of different species of trees. You’ll learn about how various types of trees grow, regenerate, and survive natural cataclysms such as forest fires. You’ll assist in the conservation of trees as you find ecologically sound ways to harvest them and protect their habitats.
Becoming a forester requires a good deal of education, including a bachelor’s degree in forestry or an associate’s degree from a school with an accredited technical forestry program.