Tree pruners are responsible for improving the beauty and functionality of trees and large shrubs. They carry out a wide range of duties involving trees. They trim dead and excess branches off of trees and shrubs. Sometimes this is to clear rights-of-way for roads, sidewalks, or utilities. Sometimes it is simply to improve the health and appearance of the trees. If trees have holes or cavities in their trunks, tree pruners may fill them in order to improve the health and longevity of the tree. Some workers specialize in pruning trees and shrubs for private homes, golf courses, or other facilities. Tree trimmers use a variety of tools, including handsaws, pruning hooks, shears, and clippers. If they work close to powerlines, they may use truck-mounted lifts and power pruners.
Tree pruners help to create healthy, well-maintained landscapes that can leave a positive first impression on people visiting properties. Well-maintained areas around buildings can increase real estate values. Tree pruners work to achieve a pleasant and functional outdoor environment that can give people a peaceful mood or a relaxed feeling.
Tree pruners need to be in good physical shape due to the strenuous nature of the job. They should be able to stand and walk for most of the day. They often are required to lift heavy loads of 100 pound or even more. They need to have the ability to follow instructions carefully and precisely. They also should be responsible and self-motivated because they are often left to work without supervision. Those interested in supervisory positions should have good communication and leadership skills.
In 2002, tree pruners earned a median hourly wage of $12.07. The following shows the median hourly wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of tree pruners:
- Elementary and secondary schools — $13.36
- Local government — $11.81
- Services to buildings and dwellings — $9.38
- Other amusement and recreation industries — $8.92
- Lessors of real estate — $8.65
- Employment services — $8.05
Training and Education
Some tree pruner jobs require a high school diploma, but, other than that, there usually are no minimum education requirements. A majority of workers have a high school diploma or less. Safety procedures and equipment operation are typically taught on the job. Being able to follow directions well is usually the most important requirement. If driving is involved in the job, employers usually try to hire candidates with a good driving record and truck driving experience. Some tree pruners may start their own businesses if they have gained enough experience and have enough motivation.
In 2002, tree pruners held about 59,000 jobs.
Between 2002 and 2012, employment of tree pruners is expected to increase faster than the average. This will result from expected growth in building construction, as well as an increase in the number of highways and parks. The maintenance of existing facilities will also generate demand for services from these workers. More businesses are expected to hire tree pruning services to improve the image of their business, and homeowners will continue to be a growing source of demand. More two-income households lack the time to care for their property themselves and will hire more tree pruners to do the work for them.
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