An arborist, tree surgeon, or (less commonly) arboriculturist, is a professional who engages in the practice of arboriculture, which involves the cultivation, management and study of individual trees, shrubs, vines and other perennial woody plants in dendrology and horticulture. A botanist is a scientist who studies or experiments with plants. These plants can include a variety of organisms, such as flowers, trees, and algae. Botanists are a type of biologist.
The science of horticulture covers a broader spectrum than that of an arborist, whose concern is trees or shrubs. Arborists often offer tree removal services, cabling or reinforcement for structural support, transplanting, and planting or shredding stumps, when needed. When a tree is damaged in a storm, the branches can become dangerous or, in fact, the entire tree can become unstable. The protagonist of Italo Calvino's novel, The Tree Baron, lives life on the floor as a child and spends the rest of his life balancing from tree to tree in the Italian countryside.
In addition, any tree in the United Kingdom can be covered by a tree conservation order and it is illegal to do any work on a tree, including felling or pruning, before seeking permission from the local council. Depending on the jurisdiction, there can be a number of legal issues surrounding arborists' practices, including boundary issues, public safety issues, heritage trees of community value, and neighbor problems, such as property, obstruction of view, impacts from roots crossing boundaries, annoying problems, quarantines due to diseases or insects, and the safety of nearby trees. Some commonly offered services are considered unacceptable by modern tree standards and can seriously damage, disfigure, weaken, or even kill trees. One term for a tree professional is arborist, another is a tree surgeon, and from time to time you might hear the name arborist.