What is an Arborist?
An arborist is someone who, through education and training is qualified to practice arboriculture. Arboriculture is the application of standards and techniques developed to improve the condition of shade, ornamental and fruit trees. Practices include pruning, cabling, bracing, fertilization, aeration and the control of insects and diseases. The arborist is knowledgeable about the typical growth habits and preferred site location and conditions of healthy trees and is able to diagnose problems from the obvious insect infestation to the less obvious environmental stresses such as changes in soil grade or drought that may affect tree health.
An arborist license, issued by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, is required to practice arboriculture for hire in The State of Connecticut.
For more on DEEP’s arborist licensing process – please visit CT DEEP Pesticide Management – Arborist Licensing.
How do I become a licensed Arborist in CT?
To help you get ready, we’ve put together a list of ten things you can do to prepare yourself for the CT Arborist Exam.
Many applicants find that the Arboriculture 101 course is very helpful in preparing to become an arborist in CT. Learn more about it here.
To become licensed, you must pass a series of examinations. First, you much pass a written exam given by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). You are then eligible to take the tree identification and oral examinations administered under the direction of the DEEP.
These examinations are held quarterly by the Tree Protection Examining Board. You must file an application with the department at least 30 days prior to the exam date. You will receive a notice of exam to be presented at the testing site.
What do I need to know or learn?
Applicants are expected to be proficient in the following areas:
Diagnosis, an applicant should:
- Be able to identify all common trees found in the region in summer and winter conditions.
- Know the normal healthy form of the tree, its appearance and rate of growth under normal and abnormal conditions and its usual life span.
- Know the suitability of trees to different sites.
- Know the factors involved in maintaining trees in good health and appearance in order to anticipate and prevent damage from various causes.
- Understand the functions of the various parts of the tree, such as bark, leaves, wood, roots, etc., and be able to determine if these functions are being properly performed.
- Recognize the symptoms of and agents responsible for any injuries, abnormalities and weaknesses. These agents include insects, animal pests, fungal, bacterial and viral diseases, unsuitable soil, wind, frost, snow and ice, gas and fumes and know the relative susceptibility of different tree species to these agents.
Treatment, an applicant should be able to prescribe and perform proper treatment and must be knowledgeable of:
- Arboricultural practices including various methods of pruning, bracing, cabling, and tools used as well as treatment of girdling roots and wounds.
- The basic chemical elements essential to tree life and growth, how obtained and absorbed and which are likely to be deficient. The significance of fertilizer formulations and the significance of soil pH on tree growth and nutrient availability.
- When and how to control insects and diseases. When pesticides are required, know proper dosage, type of material to use within state and federal regulations, and the proper safety precautions for handling and using pesticides. The relative toxicity of various materials alone and in combination. Thorough understanding of and ability to implement the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Here are lists of common insects and diseases.
Operational Practice, an applicant should know:
- Safety rules to be followed in tree work to protect workers, the public and property.
- Types of insurance that protect tree workers, the public and property.
- Safe sprayer operation and proper methods for applying pesticides.
How do I prepare for the exam?
Please use this link to the DEEP website for a list of resources to help you prepare for the Connecticut Arborist Licensing Exam.
Are there continuing education requirements?
License holders are required to obtain a minimum of 12 continuing education credits within a 5 year period. The Department will notify the license holder to submit evidence of the credits during the fifth year. These credits are submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection for review and certification.
Who do I contact with questions?
Pesticide Division – Department of Energy and Environmental Protection