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Advice given in respect of trees must be correct and from reliable professionals. If you need specialist arboricultural services, it may help to understand the difference between Arboricultural Consultants and Arboricultural Contractors.

Good tree management is about more than just tree work. It is about assessing trees knowledgeably
and then implementing the minimum amount of tree work that is really necessary.

This principle is set out in the British Standard BS 3998: 2010 Tree Work – Recommendations

Further information can be found in the Tree Council's publication, available from our shop.

Amenity Trees & Woodlands: A Guide to their Management in Ireland

also known as an Arborist

An Arboriculturalist is concerned with Tree Management. 

An Arboricultural Consultant is a tree professional who through relevant education, training and experience has gained recognised qualifications and expertise in providing management advice about trees - particularly trees in landscape and amenity features, in gardens and parks or other populated settings where they are for the enjoyment and benefit of the public.

This person will usually be independent of contracting (tree surgery) work interests and will be qualified in arboriculture to an equivalent degree level of an architect or engineer.

Specific subjects on which arboricultural consultants will commonly advise include tree health, assessing trees for hazards and where appropriate specifying remedial work.

Consultants provide reports on the condition and management of important landscape trees and may recommend and specify tree work where it is required.

The work recommended by the consultant can then be tendered for by several contractors.

A consultant will also investigate cases where trees are alleged to be involved in structural damage to buildings and investigate accidents caused by tree failure.

Consultants will also provide advice in relation to planning, tree preservation law and provide advice in relation to trees and their development and establishment.

Advice can also be given in relation to designing arboricultural features and formulating tree and woodland management plans.

Arboricultural consultants can assist law firms, insurance companies, utilities, land developers, local authorities, landscape planners and architects, homeowners, individuals and organisations requiring authoritative knowledge and perspective on trees.

also known as a Tree Surgeon

An Arboricultural Contractor is concerned with Tree Maintenance.

An Arboricultural Contractor must at least have NPTC (National Proficiency Tests Council) Certificates of Competence indicating that they have been trained and assessed in the practical work operations which they undertake, such as tree pruning and felling.

The Contractor may also have additional craft-level qualifications in arboriculture, such as the ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) Certified Arborist, or higher technical certificates or diplomas.

Services typically provided by a Contractor are tree maintenance including pruning, shaping, reducing, bracing or fertilising operations, tree felling and dismantling and removal of dangerous trees or trees in confined spaces, stump removal, high hedge cutting, pest and disease identification and control, tree planting and transplanting.

These services are usually performed to an agreed specification which may come from:
- The Contractor after discussion with the client, or
- A third party such as an Arboricultural Consultant employed, or
- The Local Authority Tree Officer if a Tree Preservation Order etc. is in place.

Contractors will use specialist safety equipment and risk management procedures to protect you, your property and themselves. It is essential that these contractors hold adequate public and employer liability insurance.

Contractors may provide free estimates and also some preliminary advice.

It is prudent for clients to obtain a written specification for the work and to agree the specification and price prior to commissioning the contractor.


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Arboricultural Association (Ireland Branch)

One of the Arboricultural Association's charitable objectives is to advance the science of arboriculture for the public benefit. Our help and advice knowledgebase contains answers on a wide range of tree-related topics.


Professionally Qualified, Independent & Experienced.
The AIFC represents the forestry consultancy profession in Ireland, with a membership that has a nationwide presence and a client base of over 1,500 forest owners who would be happy to offer advice.

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