What's the difference between a horticulturist and an arborist?

An arborist is a specialist, while a horticulturist could be considered a generalist when it comes to plants. The science of horticulture covers a broader spectrum than that of an arborist, whose concern is trees or shrubs. Horticulture is the study of plants. Involves growing plants for food, utility, beauty and recreation.

A horticulturist is a person who studies, works or improves the cultivation of flowers and plants for ornamental use. Horticulturists take care of vegetation, gardens, golf courses, parks and all other forms of landscaping. They have expert knowledge of the environment in which plants would thrive best, the soil they need to thrive, and the size of that plant later. Arboriculture, on the other hand, is the study of trees.

An arborist is considered to be a person who studies trees and the proper ways to care for them. They are also sometimes called tree surgeons. Arborists are needed to assess the condition of trees, make recommendations for their care, and provide services to keep them healthy and thriving for years to come. They have professional knowledge of where to place trees, the correct maintenance needed, and how big they will grow in the next 10 years.

An arborist is someone who is trained in the study of trees and is sometimes referred to as a tree surgeon. An arborist is concerned about structural problems in trees, how a tree should be pruned, what species of tree will thrive in a given location, and tree diseases. In general, an arborist focuses on individual trees, while someone who manages the health of entire forests is called a forester. The word arborist is derived from the Latin word arbor which means tree, and the suffix -ist.

Vegetable growers are people who understand plants. To be a horticulturist, all you have to do is call yourself a horticulturist. Qualified horticulturists are plant people with university degrees in horticulture, botany, or some other related field. No tests are required to use the term and no continuing education (CEU) is required.

Horticulturists are generalists and take care of all types of plants. Liability insurance also distinguishes these fields. Trusted Portland certified arborists have extensive liability insurance to protect themselves and the homeowner; in contrast, landscapers are not usually insured for arboriculture liability. Homeowners may have to pay the bill for damage if the contractor does not have adequate insurance for Portland tree removal or other services.

However, there are several fundamental differences with these plant-based scientific studies. Horticulture is the applied science of gardening, while botanists study plant theory. Let's take a look at each discipline in a little more detail so that you have a full understanding of each of them and what they do. They use specialized equipment or trucks with elevators to access the tallest branches of a tree.

When looking for tree services in Portland, it's important to know the difference between landscapers and arborists, or else you could end up with mediocre service. Arborists and horticulturists are related to plants, but their field of study and work differs considerably. Tom Rapp — who has most recently served in what he called a “dual role as the city's horticulturist and arborist — confirmed with the Aiken Standard this week that Tuesday will be his last day with the City. Horticulturists are those who participate in the healthy cultivation and scientific propagation activities of plants, while arborists are involved in the health care and maintenance of individual trees.


Diana Raybuck
Diana Raybuck

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