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Arborists: More Essential Than You Think

By now, everyone is quite familiar with the information put out by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding the worldwide spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). It’s clear now that maintaining your personal health and the well-being of others has become essential. What else has become clear is that, arborists, have become literally essential to protecting and maintaining landscapes.

The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) is a trade association of 2,300 tree care firms, with the mission of advancing the tree care business. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is a professional society representing over 24,000 members and has conferred over 47,000 credentials to arborists around the world. Both organizations have deemed aspects of tree care to meet the definition of ‘essential business’, due to the fact that the work done by expert and skilled arborists directly protects the safety of the public and environment.

The TCIA and ISA have narrowed down essential tree-care services into the following categories:

Protection of infrastructure Arborists work to ensure that the infrastructure that keeps our country operating is clear of hazards. This includes vegetation around utility and transmission lines, telecommunications equipment, roads and bridges, and any other infrastructure that needs to be maintained to avoid interruptions of service. These are essential and need to continue during this emergency.

Maintain Public Safety Removing hazards, such as trees falling on houses or infrastructure is vastly important. Arborists work to keep our communities safe and minimize the risk of trees damaging buildings or people. Otherwise, the potential for greater damage grows when it can be easily avoided.

Protection against the invasive pests Spring is the time arborists need to be out in the field treating invasive and injurious pests, such as; spotted lantern fly, emerald ash borer, ticks (spread of Lyme Disease), and numerous others. This could cost the country in billions of dollars worth of damage if not handled properly. Taking care of this is a must, even during an emergency.

Both organizations have shared the following list of work items that they identified as essential activities, especially during this state of emergency:

  • Hazard tree removal or removal of dangerous tree

  • Pruning of dead or dying limbs

  • Treatment for invasive insects

  • Utility line clearance

  • Road safety clearance

  • Cabling or bracing a hazardous tree

  • Mitigating storm damage

  • Emergency response readiness.

  • Treatment for ticks and mosquitos and other public health treatments

  • Removal of fire damage or fuel trees in a fire hazard area

  • Assessment of hazard trees or pests

Spring is here and the potential for these liabilities/hazards will continue to grow. Expert arborists take precautions and complete this careful work, all while keeping the public’s health and safety in mind. This has become officially essential. Times like this can be concerning and down right scary. Let’s not make this any worse on ourselves by continuing to take care of our environment and community.


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