A tree trimmer is a landscape professional who specializes in the careful cutting of tree branches. Tree trimmers perform this action for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, dead or diseased branches can jeopardize the tree itself; other times, they may be utilized by state or local governments to remove branches which obstruct views for drivers or endanger utility lines. Tree trimmers also perform an aesthetic service by helping to carefully manage and manicure trees for landscaped residential and business clients.
In a natural forest setting, the presence of other trees can prevent particular species from overgrowing branches to an unhealthy extent. In landscaping, however, this may not be the case, and a tree trimmer works as part of a grounds maintenance crew to trim dead branches or branches which may endanger the health of the tree if allowed to grow unchecked. Landscaping tree trimmers also help prune certain species of trees, shrubs, and hedges for aesthetic reasons, such as to provide a uniform look and feel for manicured and professionally managed outdoor landscapes.
Tree trimmers may be employed or subcontracted to a public utility or street department. Storms can cause tree branches to fall on electric and phone lines and create hazardous situations which may involve loss of electricity, so the trimmers must carefully scale back branches to reduce such risks. Sometimes, branches can interfere with necessary road signs and signals or even sight-lines around corners and into traffic. Again, the trimmer will scale back the branches to allow unobstructed views for drivers.
Tree trimmers typically use a long pole with a cutting blade at the end, which is specifically designed for pruning branches. In utility work, it is also common to see tree trimmers work inside an elevated pneumatic crane arm or “cherry picker” with a more precise, shorter-trimming blade to ensure that trimmed branches are not only safely cut, but also do not fall into streets or wires.
A high school diploma or equivalent may be a minimum requirement for this position, and many employers prefer candidates who have practical work experience in landscaping and cutting professions. Tree trimmers typically work outdoors during daylight hours, though they can also be called-in as part of emergency work crews at any time, particularly after a damaging storm.
Tree Trimmer Tasks
- Cut away dead or excess tree branches and clear branches from power lines.
- Climb trees using hooks and belts, or climb ladders to gain access.
- Operate shredding and chipping equipment.
- Trim and reshape trees to achieve attractive shapes according to customer specifications or to remove low-hanging branches.