What is Arboriculture?

What is Arboriculture?
External Guest Writer
July 14, 2022

Trees play a huge role in the environment for more than just decoration. Trees and shrubs keep ecosystems balanced and bright, while providing shade from the harsh sun. Large root systems stabilize the soil, preventing water and wind erosion. They are important components of the ecosystem, along with shrubs, and other woody plants.

What is Arboriculture?

Arboriculture, stemming from the terms Arboreal, meaning in relation to trees, and Culture, meaning in relation to human intellectual achievement, is the study of tree care, most specifically the cultivation of various trees, shrubs, bushes, and other woody plants. 

A subsection of horticulture, and part of the green industry, arboriculture studies trees, and what conditions different species require in order to grow properly. Arboriculture also studies the diseases of tree species, how to prevent or treat them, and how to control insects that destroy these plants. 

Proper methods of pruning, transplanting, and maintaining trees and bushes for designer gardens, public parks, recreational parks, and other nature-inspired areas also fall under the responsibilities of Arboriculture. While the arborist does not necessarily maintain the trees, they study the proper ways to keep these plants healthy, happy, and thriving.

Arboriculture is also responsible for the care of trees to be used for decorative purposes in gardens and natural parks. A reputable landscape gardener and an arborist would have discussed transplanting and care for the species of trees to be planted in the area, as well as maintenance for a newly planted tree to survive. 

History of Arboriculture

The study of trees and plants can date back to the early Egyptian period, with evidence suggesting that humans learned to study tree growing conditions as soon as the agricultural age started. In fact, the early Egyptians transplanted trees long before other civilizations began to attempt tree transplantation.

The early Egyptians transplanted trees using mounds of mud, soil, and clay, called soil balls, to protect the roots. It has been thought that the early Egyptians were able to study the sensitivity of tree roots to external forces, and found that transplanting trees this way had the highest chances of success for the tree to survive transplant shock.

Over the years, arboriculture evolved to continue the legacy of tree science, and to improve on the horticultural practices done in gardening in the modern age. Arboriculture studies discuss transplanting and the treatment of tree wounds to increase the chances of trees surviving transplant, as well as proper ways to fertilize trees for lush growth.

How Does It Work?

Through the history of arboriculture, arborists can observe the different ideologies on removing trees from one area to plant in another, which is helpful in relocating endangered species. Arborists develop tree care processes to combat deforestation, and advise landscape developers on proper transplantation of trees to and fro locations.

Arboriculture Studies

A professional arborist would study various types of trees to figure out optimal growing conditions, insect control and management practices, and whether the tree can retain water after transplanting. The same goes for shrubs, bushes, and woody plants.

The study also includes the treatment of tree wounds, removing trees safely from their growing patches, and other basic principles in transplanting trees to be used in different areas. Arborists take note of the soil compatibility between the area and the tree preference, as well as the pruning of trees as they grow more branches. 

Today, most arborists continue their studies in laboratories, researching peer-reviewed articles on certain topics in Arboriculture like the basic principles of maintaining a certain species of tree or shrubbery, planting non-native species, soil conditions, and more. 

The Importance of Arboriculture

Arboriculture is underappreciated, but it is one of the prominent studies under horticulture. Many people assume trees are planted in landscapes and gardens for beautification purposes, but arborists are actually helping to reverse the effects of climate change. 

Trees provide the shade needed for protection against the sun's rays, and keeping trees alive is essential in adapting to the effects of climate change. These woody plants live off CO2, while providing much-needed oxygen to keep the UV rays from passing through the earth's atmosphere. Trees play important roles in the ecosystem, and arborists ensure their well-being.

Another importance of arboriculture is that the study can help reduce the impacts of natural disasters and calamities. For example, the use of Mangrove trees has been proven to be beneficial to areas that retain water, in keeping those areas flood free and prevent soil erosion.

Other areas make use of trees to prevent landslides, as the tree roots are strong enough to hold back the soil from eroding onto nearby towns and cities. Studying the proper way of pruning edible trees also helps in keeping the trees alive, and keeps a steady supply of fruit, bark, and other resources throughout generations.

Arboriculture Leaves an Impression

Overall, Arboriculture is an important science and practice that does more than just prepare trees for transplanting into designer gardens. Arborists care for more than just the aesthetic of these trees, but rather how these plants can be useful in everyday life.