Arboriculture

An Arborist Pruning a Tree

An Arborist Pruning a Tree

What is Arboriculture?

Arboriculture is the study, cultivation and management of shrubs, trees, woody or perennial plants and vines. It is a science of studying plant growth and response to the environment and cultural practices. Cultural techniques practiced in arboriculture include plant selection, training, propagation, pruning, fertilization, removal, pest and disease control and shaping.

An arboriculturist or arborist is a person studying or practicing arboriculture. Unlike an arborist, a 'tree surgeon' is more involved in arboriculture, manipulating trees and maintaining them physically. Today, arboriculture also involves legal issues, risk management and beautification of the environment.

Arboriculturists are hired to promote occupational health and safety obligations through on-site tree management. They also complete 'tree hazard surveys. Arboriculture is majorly focused on trees grown and maintained for permanent amenity and landscape use in parks, gardens or settings populated by other arborists.

The tree management practice is also focused on specific, individual woody plants. Generally, arboriculture offers protection, enjoyment and lots of benefits to people.

History of Arboriculture

Arboriculture objectives and princples have been in use since ancient times. The practice of transplanting trees with a cloud of soil and shaping soil around planted trees to minimize water loss is believed to have originated from ancient Egypt.

Theophrastus, a Greek philosopher, wrote about tree transplanting and wound treatment in his book 'Peri phyton historia', meaning 'inquiry into plants'. What the Romans knew about tree culture is captured in 'Georgics' by Virgil.

In 1664, John Evelyn, an English horticulturalist, wrote about insect control, transplanting, pruning, and wound treatment in his book 'Discourse of Forest-Trees, and the Propagation of Timber or Sylvia.

Cultivation of Plants or Trees

Plants and/or trees are propagated through grafting, cuttings, seeds and layering. Seeds are planted in home or commercial nurseries. The plants receive intensive care in the nurseries until they are ready for transplanting. The time it takes to transplant a plant or tree in a nursery varies from one plant to another.

Trees Ready for Transplanting

Trees Ready for Transplanting

Whereas some plants can take years to be ready for transplantation, others take days, weeks or months. Soil layering involves a parent plant's lower branches and shoots bending to the ground for coverage with good quality, moist soil.

Roots might take years to develop while the branch is removed from the parent plant for transplanting. Alternatively, air layering involves the branch deep splitting from the branch and covering the wound with moss, a lump of soil or any other similar material.

The soil is covered with a sturdy paper cone or a broken pot from beneath to keep it moist. just like in soil layering, the branch is removed and transplanted once the roots are fully developed. Trees that don't sprout roots from their stems are propagated through root cuttings.

For instance, poplar and willow tree species sucker, meaning they send shoots up easily are often propagated from stem cuttings. During dormancy, plants and trees grow terminal shoots from where cuttings for transplanting are obtained.

Buddings cut up to 10 inches long are tied in bundles of at least two for storage in damp moss or sand. The buds develop callus during storage in preparation for planting in gardens or beds ready for supporting plant growth.

Growth hormones or chemicals promoting growth can be applied to stimulate the development of roots. Areas around wounds on trees are trimmed in the form of pointed ellipses to expose soft tissues and treat the wound. Wound dressing material is used to cover the exposed soft wood for protection from fungi that causes decay.

Newly transplanted trees are supported with rigid braces or flexible cables for protection from strong winds until the roots develop. The braces can also support heavy or long tree branches to enable developed splits to heal and prevent new splits from sprouting at the branch folks.

Fungi that causes decay can infect tree trunks with cavities. The decayed wood is removed and antiseptic dressing used to treat the wound. It is then left open or filled with concrete or any other material. Drains can also be installed below the wound to facilitate healing.

Do you want to engage in arboriculture or simply plant a few trees or plants in your garden to beautify your outdoor space, we've got you covered with the main tools and supplies you might need.

Visit our gardening tools and supplies products page to find out what you might need to plant, grow and care for your plants and trees.