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Arboriculture I

Course CodeBHT106
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Work in Tree Care

This course is ideal for gardeners and landscapers wishing to add tree care to their skillset. It is also an ideal introduction to tree care for people considering working in tree surgery. 

  • Learn to Manage Trees.
  • Diagnose Tree Problems
  • Understand planting, feeding, watering, plant protection, pruning and tree surgery
  • Work in a tree crew, find a job, change vocation, or start a business


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Arboriculture
    • Trees in the garden
    • Planting in the right position
    • Choosing the right variety
    • Choosing the right specimen
    • How to plant different types of trees
    • Transplanting
    • Tree Guards
    • Using a Tree Report Form
  2. Tree Biology
    • Tree growth
    • Photosynthesis
    • Respiration
    • Transpiration
    • Vernilisation
    • What makes foliage change colour
    • Tree physiology, Roots, Stems, Leaves, Bud types
    • How a tree grows
    • Vascular tissue, Cambium, Xylem, Phloem
    • Secondary growth
    • Growth rings, Heartwood, Sapwood
    • Compartmentalisation
    • Water and plant growth
    • Growth rate factors
    • Arboricultural Terminology
  3. Soils In Relation to Trees
    • Fertilising
    • Compacted soils
    • Tree health and drainage
    • Treating soil over winter
    • Changed soil levels around trees
    • Measuring pH
    • Measuring soil organic content
    • Measuring water content
    • Determining fertiliser solubility
    • Testing affect of lime on soil
    • Laboratory testing of soils
    • Soil texture
    • Measuring salinity
    • Soil horizons, Soil Naming
    • Soil nutrition, Fertilisers, etc
  4. Diagnosing Tree Problems
    • Tree health disorders
    • Frost protection
    • Minimising frost and wind damage
    • Mulch and frost
    • Missletoe
    • Diagnosing problems
    • Conducting a Tree inspection
  5. Tree Surgery
    • Tree surgery-do you need it
    • Review of techniques
    • Tree surgery safety
    • Safety and the worker
    • Public safety
    • Safety regulations
    • Cavity treatments
    • Bracing, Cabling, Propping
    • Bark wounds
    • Tree climbing techniques
    • Knots, Anchoring points, etc.
  6. Pruning of Trees
    • Pruning objectives
    • Removing branches
    • Crown cleaning, Crown thinning, Crown reduction, Crown lifting, Crown renewal
    • Fruit tree pruning
    • Felling a whole tree
    • Felling sections of a tree
    • Terminology.
  7. Aboriculture Equipment
    • Secateurs, Hand saws, Power tools
    • Safety with electricity
    • Engine and tool maintenance
    • Chain saws, Hedge trimmers, Ladders
    • Harnesses, Ropes, Pole belt, Spurs, etc
  8. Workplace Health and Safety
    • Duty of Care
    • Lifting and manual handling
    • Protective equipment
    • Handling tools and machinery
    • Auditing tools and equipment

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Describe measures to provide healthy trees in different situations, including appropriate plant selection.
  • Explain tree biology, including morphology, anatomy and physiology, as it relates to arboriculture.
  • Develop procedures to manage soils for improved tree growth.
  • Develop procedures for managing health disorders with trees, including environmental, pest and disease problems.
  • Determine surgical techniques commonly used in arboriculture to repair damage to plants
  • Explain tree surgery techniques commonly used in arboriculture to prune growth.
  • Determine appropriate equipment for arboricultural practice.
  • Determine appropriate workplace health and safety practices for an arboricultural workplace.

What You Will Do

  • Distinguish between plants in order to identify at many different trees.
  • Develop a standard tree report form, customised for surveying the condition and use of trees in your locality.
  • Explain how to treat three specified soil related problems that can effect trees.
  • Develop a twelve month program, for managing a health problem detected by you in an established tree.
  • Demonstrate bridge grafting across a bark wound.
  • Distinguish between different methods of pruning including:
    • Canopy reduction
    • Cleaning out
    • Topiary
    • Espaliering
  • Determine the minimum equipment required to commence business as a tree surgeon.
  • Compare different chainsaws, to determine appropriate applications for each.
  • Determine legislation which is relevant to a specific arborist in a workplace which you visit.


A course like this (or any other) could never hope to teach you everything you would ever need to know; but it can, and give you the ability to know where to find information that is reliable, and how to properly interpret what you find.
Graduates may enhance their business or career opportunities in any situation where work is with the production, care or management of trees, including:

  • Gardens Management
  • Parks Management
  • Landscaping
  • Land Rehabilitation
  • Tree removal, tree planting, tree surgery
  • Forestry
  • Street Trees
  • Tree Nursery Production
  • Urban horticulture

Meet some of our academics

John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.

Check out our eBooks

Growing ConifersConifers have elegant foliage that comes in an array of colours from blues to yellows, dark to acid greens and variegations. They look great all year round and provide a garden with structure, foundation, formality and elegance, especially in winter when other plants are leafless. This is a comprehensive text covering: growing, propagation, container growing, hedges, topiary, landscaping, uses for food, timber and oils plus a directory that explores 32 conifer genera and hundreds of species. 88 colour photos 80 pages
Trees and ShrubsA great little encyclopaedia that is valuable for students, tradespeople, or the home gardener needing a quick reference when selecting garden plants. It covers the care and culture of 140 commonly grown genera of trees and shrub, plus many hundreds of species and cultivars. 169 colour photos 94 pages
Getting Work in HorticultureFind out what it is like to work in horticulture; how diverse the industry is, how to get a start, and how to build a sustainable, long term and diverse career that keeps your options broad, so you can move from sector to sector as demand and fashion changes across your working life.
Trees and Shrubs for Warm PlacesA stunning book with around 300 colour photos! A comprehensive reference to thousands of tropical plant varieties (mostly different information to the Tropical Plants book) . An classic reference for nurserymen, landscapers, interior plantscapers, horticulturists and any tropical plant enthusiasts. 209 pages