Being a qualified arborist and someone who lops and removes trees for a living, I often get asked what the difference is between an arborist a tree lopper and a gardener.

The distinction is very important depending on what you are having done.

What is an arborist?

A more common name used is tree surgeon. It is someone who has studied arboriculture and is either a practicing or consulting arborist. Day to day tasks include:

Tree pruning
Tree removal
Arborist reports
Root pruning
Stump removal

Although the industry is definitely splitting into two parts, arborists in Perth for example will generally perform all of the above no matter if they are a consulting or a practicing arborist.

And a tree lopper?

We a tree lopper is a name that came about to describe the verb “lop” when referring to removing or pruning a tree. Byt in reality it’s a bit like calling a chef a cook, just because the care cooking food.

Although some chef’s probably do deserve to be called cooks by the poor quality of food they dish up, just like you can call an arborist a tree lopper.

When you need tree work done there are 2 general types of people you can get in to do the job, a tree specialist who is an arborist or a tree lopper or a gardener or garden maintenance/ lawn mowing type business.

Who you get in will all depend on the size of the job.

As a rule of thumb, any tree for pruning or removal that is smaller than a single story house, you can probably get a gardener in as they risk to them or your property is minimal and to be fair they will probably be far cheaper.

The reason being is they don’t have even a 10th of the overheads a tree service speciality business has. Nor a 10th of the training!

Garden maintenance

This is your local Joe who cuts lawns and prunes hedges on the side. Not really someone you want working on your trees if it’s a decent job as most won’t know too much about what they are doing.

But again depending on the size of the job, it probably isn’t that important.


After all of that you can probably see there is a massive difference between an arborist/ tree lopper or tree specialist and a gardener.

When it comes to serious tree work you need to get a serious tree specialist with serious equipment, knowledge (in insurance) in to do the job right.

If it’s just a small job like trimming a lemon tree or hedge, then you can just go with your local garden maintenance specialist who will surly do a great job.

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