Tree removal is a serious business and should only be executed by qualified professionals with the correct equipment to do so safely and responsibly, but anyone can call themselves an arborist; however, that doesn’t necessarily make it so.

A fully qualified arborist, adept at preparing comprehensive tree reports and serving as a consulting arborist, is so much more than just a tree-lopper. Having the right equipment doesn’t make you an expert on the various species of tree. It doesn’t give you an inherent knowledge of which trees are protected by the Australian government and which are fine to remove. It doesn’t help you to tell which trees are dead and dying, and which can be saved with careful consideration and possibly even featured in tree reports to guide future actions.

Here is some information about the various types of AQF (Australian Qualification Framework) certificates within the arborist industry, ensuring professionals are equipped to evaluate, manage, and preserve trees with the precision and care they deserve.


This is where an AQF qualified arborist makes all the difference. An AQF Level-5 arborist, for example, has perfected their craft and is highly-qualified in all things tree-related. Not only are they qualified to cut down and remove trees safely and efficiently, but they can also spot when not to do so. They can advise you on how a tree might be able to be saved, or that it would be best to relocate the tree instead. There is much that a fully qualified AQF Level-5 arborist can offer, that your typical cowboy tree-lopper can’t.


Then there are AQF Level-3 qualified arborists. They are more than qualified to successfully run a tree-lopping firm and can confidently take care of most general cutting, trimming and grinding jobs. That being said; when it comes to writing complex reports & offering expert consultation then you should seek out an AQF Level-5 arborist.


Then of course, an AQF Level-1 arborist is in practice. It isn’t unusual for an AQF Level 1 arborist to help on a job, however, they should be accompanied by a fully qualified arborist to ensure that the job is carried out safely and efficiently.

Don’t be afraid to ask a prospective tree-lopping company about their qualifications, - particularly if you are seeking advice.

The Services a Qualified AQF Level-5 Arborist Can Offer


  • Consultation: An arborist can offer you advice on everything from future planning, tree health, the various species and stability.  
  • Tree Health Care: Pest and disease management, how to improve the soil, foliage and leaf care.
  • Report Writing: Arborists can write reports for the local Australian authorities on new developments, tree safety and other important information.
  • Pruning: The correct pruning and care for various species, including professional techniques. These are adapted to reduce risk in public areas and to reduce wind resistance / add improved access to roads where overgrowth is an issue.
  • Removal: Cutting down and removing trees in the safest possible manner, particularly if they are dangerous or posing as a potential hazard to passers-by.
  • Tree Management Plans: Trees are long-lasting plants and require a certain amount of care and consideration when growing in public areas. For example, if a tree is growing on a school’s grounds or in a corporate shopping centre, a long-term plan will need to be put in place for maintenance and care.

On the other hand, an unqualified ‘tree-lopper’ won’t be able to offer half as much in the way of guidance and professional advice. Certainly, they will be able to cut a tree down and remove it from your property, - but other than that, you’re putting yourself at risk. You could end up removing a perfectly healthy tree that in fact, did not pose any danger to you. - A tree that might have otherwise been pruned instead. Or, alternatively, removing a protected tree without permission, where you could end up facing prosecution.

To ensure that health and safety is maintained and that arborists are delivering the highest standard of service and care; an arborists education is never over. Every year they must submit evidence that they are continuing their education, forever bolstering their knowledge in the art and science of tree care.

An arborist who is up-to-date with their qualifications will provide you with a wholesome and well-informed service. While every arborist has an inherent passion for climbing and cutting down trees, they only do so when absolutely necessary. A true arborist is an environmentalist first and a tree-lopper second.

Remember that pruning and removing trees is terribly dangerous, which is why should endeavour to hire only the most qualified and experienced arborists. Don’t be afraid to ask to see certification when deciding on which company to hire. Any reputable and reliable arborist will be immensely proud of their achievements and would happily show them off to you. In addition to certification, a qualified arborist will have all of the relevant insurance as well. This is paramount when allowing someone to operate heavy machinery and cut down large and heavy trees on your property. Don’t take any unnecessary risks and hire the very best!



AQF Level 5 Arborist Sydney

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