What equipment does an arborist use?

Before any tree work commences all equipment is maintained and checked that it is fit for purpose and each crew at Advantage Tree Care will carry out a job site safety assessment identifying the work involved, tools to be used and any specific site risks or hazards and an appropriate rescue plan in the event of an accident or emergency.

First Aid, PPE and Rescue

Along with trained first aid personnel and first aid kits, a spare rescue climbing kit goes out with each crew so that they know in the event of an emergency there is the correct equipment available and accessible for rescue.

Consulting Arborist
Team meeting before work commences

PPE – personal protective equipment 

The typical PPE equipment arborists use include;

  • helmet
  • ear protection
  • eye protection
  • chainsaw pants (link clogger)
  • boots

PPE is essential equipment for a safe and effective day at work, tree surgery is a high risk job. A lot of the machinery we use produces sound levels that without protection could cause severe hearing damage or loss. There are risks of being cut by saws, being crushed or pinned by machinery or large logs and multiple falling hazards.

Looking for tree care assistance in the Greater Victoria area? Contact us to get started. Get a Quote->

Saws & Pruners

Most of the work a climbing arborist performs involves the use of cutting tools from small hand pruners, pruning saws to top handle chainsaws and then to the large chainsaws for processing massive timber

Over the years the tools and technology has evolved and today you will see more arborists using battery powered chainsaws (link to Husqvarna website). These are for the most part more enjoyable and user friendly due to the fact that they do not produce the same level oof noise as a gas powered chainsaw and they also do not emit fumes or have a hot exhaust which can be a burn hazard for the climber.

See Related: What are the main advantages of tree pruning

Climbing equipment

In order to access a tree safely and efficiently a climber will need ropes and a harness along with other hardware to create a complete climbing set-up. There are a variety of techniques and pieces of equipment to access and move around a tree allowing the climber to make the most efficient choice depending on the tree species and whether the climber is pruning, removing or installing a cable system in a tree.

The bare essentials for climbing equipment are;

  • Climbing rope
  • Climbing harness
  • A form of Prusik (rope or mechanical) to hold the climber in position and allow them to progress up the rope (tree)
  • Carabiners to connect the climbing system together and to the climber.
  • A lanyard which is essential when making any cut within the tree as a second point of attachment to the tree for working positioning purposes and as a safety line incase the climber’s main climbing line were to be cut, thus preventing a catastrophic fall.
InTree Media arborist photo shoot for Clogger

Spurs, or no spurs

You may have seen climbers wearing spurs, spikes, climbing irons, gaffs. These are a useful piece of equipment for arborists. However, it is very important to consider that spurs puncture through the bark and cambium layers of a tree leaving multiple holes in the tree which are potential weak spots for pests or diseases to attack the tree cause poor health.

Spurs should only be used when removing a tree as in all other tree care operations it is essential to protect tree health which is where non-invasive climbing techniques are performed using ropes, ascenders and low impact climbing practices to access and move around the tree causing minimal damage.

For those of you that want a more detailed look at equipment specifics check out this article by

climbing spurs used by arborists

Chipper and truck

In order to manage and remove debris from the job site, a truck and chipper make for very effective and efficient tools as they can reduce down very bulk branch, wood material into much more easily manageable and transportable product which can also be reused as a mulch for gardens, yards pathways and other applications helping minimize the “waste” as a result of tree work. If you are looking for Woodchip in your area you maybe interested in an app GetChipDrop, which links residents looking for Woodchip with arborists providing Woodchip or firewood for free.

ATC technician operating woodchipper
Advantage Tree Care high quality tree service company in Victoria BC
Advantage Tree Care truck – tree service company in Victoria BC

Clean up equipment

At Advantage Tree Care, we believe that once the job is complete the way the site is left needs to have the same care and attention that the tree work received. Therefore, it is essential to have effective and efficient clean up equipment such as rakes, blowers, bin, tarps and shovels leaving your Client’s property looking clean and tidy is part of providing high quality, professional tree care services.

Need help taking down a tree on your property?

Advantage Tree Care are your local tree arborists in Greater Victoria BC. For all your tree services needs in Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay, Langford, and Sidney, get in touch with us for a quote.

What Trees are Protected in Victoria BC? 

The purpose of the Tree Protection Bylaws is to provide for the protection and preservation of trees on private property, including those that are undergoing development. If you would like to prune or remove a tree, or work in the protected zone, a permit may be required. 

What classifies as a protected tree?

You may need to apply for a tree permit if you are planning to prune or remove a protected tree on your property. Protected trees include:

  • A tree with a diameter over 30 cm
  • A hedge that contains any single stem with a diameter over 30 cm
  • Garry Oak (Quercus garryana), Arbutus (Arbutus menziesii), Pacific Yew (Taxus brevifolia) or Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) over 50 cm in height measured above natural grade
  • A replacement tree
  • A tree that is protected by a restrictive covenant in favour of the City
  • A tree of any size that is on a slope where the slope grade is greater than 33 per cent over 10 metres
  • A tree of any size that is within 15 metres of the natural boundary of a watercourse

Protected trees in City of Victoria

Trees defined as “Protected” under the City of Victoria bylaw include

  • Arbutus.
  • Garry Oak.
  • Pacific Dogwood.
  • Pacific Yew.

Protected trees in Saanich

Trees defined as “Protected” under the bylaw. 

When a tree is defined as “Protected”, certain rules apply. For example you may require a permit to remove it, and Saanich can only issue permits for certain reasons, as per the Bylaw.

Trees are Protected for various reasons. From the tree type, size or its location, a rough guide of which trees are protected includes:

Trees Protected – when at least 2m tall or 4cm in diameter:

  • Arbutus
  • Garry Oak
  • Pacific Dogwood
  • Pacific Yew

Trees Protected when- diameter at breast height (1.4m) is 30cm or more:

  • Douglas Fir
  • Grand Fir
  • Big Leaf Maple
  • Western Red Cedar

Other ways trees are Protected in Saanich

  • Any other tree with a diameter of 60cm or more.
  • Any replacement tree.
  • Any tree over 10cm in diameter or 5m tall located in a Streamside Permit Area.
  • Any tree planted or retained through a subdivision application, development permit or other permit.
  • Significant Trees as listed in the Bylaw.
  • Any tree with evidence of a nest used by raptors, ospreys or herons.
  • Any tree growing on Saanich-owned property.

Trees may also have other forms of protection if registered on the Land Title under a Tree or Natural State Covenant. 

Protected trees in Colwood?

  • Arbutus (2m or greater in height OR 4cm or greater in diameter)
  • Garry Oak (2m or greater in height OR 4cm or greater in diameter)
  • Pacific Dogwood (2m or greater in height OR 4cm or greater in diameter)
  • Pacific Yew (2m or greater in height OR 4cm or greater in diameter)
  • Douglas Fir (30cm diameter or more)
  • Grand Fir (30cm diameter or more)
  • Big Leaf Maple (30cm diameter or more)
  • Western Red Cedar (30cm in diameter or more)


  • any tree greater than 60 centimetres in diameter or more at chest height 
  • a retained tree identified on a tree protection plan
  • a replacement tree identified on a tree replacement plan
  • a wildlife tree (with nesting birds or animals – see the FAQ on this page).

Protected trees in Langford

Langford is the only municipality of 13 in the Capital Regional District without a specific tree-protection bylaw. Earlier in 2022, Langford council rejected a motion to develop a tree-­protection bylaw, saying the city’s development permit ­process is already protecting trees and environmentally ­sensitive areas.

Protected trees in North Saanich

The North Saanich Tree Protection Bylaw, which regulates the cutting, removal or damaging of trees on private property, was adopted in 2002. Since then, North Saanich’s urban forest and the challenges it faces have evolved. The District is reviewing its Tree Protection Bylaw to align with current best practices and conditions, while ensuring its responds to our community values. The review will include establishing requirements for replacing protected trees. 

This new draft bylaws 

  • Significant trees: All trees larger than 60 cm in diameter except cottonwood, red alder and willow
  • Trees in sensitive areas: All trees larger than 10 cm in diameter within the steep slope and environmental development permit areas
  • Protected species: Tree species greater than 10 cm in diameter, including: Arbutus, Garry oak, Pacific dogwood, Pacific yew, and shore pine
  • Replacement trees: Trees planted as a requirement of a tree permit


If you live in Victoria, your best source of more information information on this topic is the What You Need to Know About the New Tree Protection Bylaw PDF, created by the City of Victoria

Reach out

If you are concerned about a tree and think it needs to be removed please contact us and we will arrange an onsite visit to provide a free assessment of the situation and offer you practical advice about the most effective way to move forward.

The Advantage Tree Care team offers a number of tree care and arborist services to residents all over Greater Victoria and Saanich. From tree removals and pruning, to health inspections and emergency tree services, we’ve got you covered.

What can an arborist help with?

Advantage Tree Care high quality tree service company in Victoria BC
Advantage Tree Care, tree service company serving all of Greater Victoria

Arborists have a diverse skillset to help with many different tree care challenges, including expertise with working at height from ropes, operating chainsaws, and other machinery. 

Arborists also have a good understanding of tree biology, physics and ecology with extensive tree identification knowledge, and this help us to deliver effective tree care whilst also managing and mitigating risks to people, property and trees.

Here are some of the Arborist and tree care services offered by Advantage Tree Care:

  • Arborist Consulting
  • Tree Diagnostics
  • Tree Health Inspections
  • Tree Pruning
  • Fruit Tree Pruning
  • Tree Removals
  • Stump Grinding and Removal
  • Tree Protection
  • Tree Risk Assessment
  • Tree Valuation
  • Training and Education
  • Emergency Tree Services
  • Commercial Property tree services
  • Specialized care for Protected Trees like Gary Oak, Arbutus, Douglas Fir etc
  • Storm Damage Tree Restoration
  • Tree transplanting (please inquire)
  • Deep Root fertilization

How to get started?

For a quotation and onsite visit, please call 250-508-4445, or visit our contact page to send us a message.

Our friendly, professional approach allows us to work with you to ensure your expectations and requirements are met in a safe and efficient way. For all your arborist tree service needs in Victoria and beyond, give Advantage Tree Care a call. 

What does it take to become an ISA Certified Arborist?

To earn an ISA Certified Arborist credential, you must be trained and knowledgeable in a variety of aspects of arboriculture. ISA Certified Arborists must also adhere to the Code of Ethics that strengthens the credibility and reliability of the workforce. 

To be eligible for the ISA Certified Arborist exam, you must have one or both of the following:

  • Three or more years of full-time, eligible, practical work experience in arboriculture
  • A degree in the field of arboriculture, horticulture, landscape architecture, or forestry from a regionally accredited educational institute

An ISA certification illustrates that an arborist is knowledgeable about a variety of topics and arboriculture. With the certification, they can treat trees for diseases and pests and oversee storm and emergency removal. Trained to be safe and follow a code of ethics, ISA certified arborist provides high-quality care that best suits your yard. 

Looking for a qualified Arborist in Victoria, Saanich, Sidney, or Langford? Give ATC a call. We’re here to help. Call, email, or message us and we’ll get right back to you.

Learn more about tree services offered by Advantage Tree Care

Why work with an ISA certified Arborist?

By choosing an ISA certified arborist (like Advantage Tree Care), it means that you’ve got quality workmanship and experience on your side as well as extensive theoretical and practical knowledge of tree health, safety, and management.

1. Safety

There are a number of elements to operating a safe worksite. On top of the relevant insurance, risk assessments and work safety procedures, we understand that one of the most important factors to a safe work site is a happy and healthy team.

2. Rigorous Training Standards

Certified arborists are skilled, educated, and are held accountable to ISA industry work standards. As a company we are always keeping up with current techniques and training to ensure a healthier and safer workplace for our team and clients

3. Specialized Equipment

As ISA Arborists we have specialized equipment which allows us to be dynamic and versatile when it comes to handling a variety of technically challenging jobs. This equipment also helps with risk assessments and identifying potential hazards prior to starting each job

At Advantage Tree Care we have a variety of tree care services available for residential and commercial customers, including tree pruning, stump removal, and emergency tree services. Get in touch with your local Arborists in Victoria for a quotation.

What does an Arborist do?

Tree lopper, tree topper, tree cutter, tree surgeon, are some commonly used terms people use to describe an arborist. However, these terms are not an accurate representation of what an arborist is or what an arborist does. 

So, what exactly is an Arborist?

An arborist practices arboriculture. Arbor is Latin for “tree” and culture comes from the Latin cultus which means “to care”. Tree care. 

Arborists are tree care professionals, who blend art, technique and science together in order to deliver effective tree care whilst also managing and mitigating risks to people, property and trees. Arborists typically work in the urban environment and are the people who balance the relationship between humans and trees.

Arborist is an overarching term that describes a variety of job roles. In order to practice as an arborist one has to have a good understanding of tree biology, physics and ecology with extensive tree identification knowledge. An arborist also needs to have in-depth skills and experience with working at height from ropes, operating chainsaws and other machinery. 

Arborists hard at work
Arborists discussing project with homeowner

The Climbing Arborist

Depending on an individual’s preference there are several avenues through which to specialize in arboriculture. For example a climbing arborist would refer to someone who has developed knowledge in tree biology and tree physics and has trained in various tree climbing techniques, using ropes to safely access and work within a tree canopy whilst operating a chainsaw. 

They would also have a good grounding in physics with an understanding of how to safely and efficiently rig large sections of wood using ropes and pulleys to mitigate damage to people and property.

The Consulting Arborist

A consulting arborist may have chosen to study more in-depth into tree biology, soil ecology, tree health and disease and tree risk assessments, they would know how to operate tools such as a resistograph to identify decay in wood and would generally be more desk based carrying out tree surveys and preparing reports. 

Advantage Tree Care is a certified ISA Climbing and Consulting Arborist serving the Greater Victoria area. Speak with a local arborist today and tell us about your tree care project.

Consulting Arborist
consulting arborists

So what does a typical day for a climbing arborist look like? 

For starters there is no typical day, one aspect of being an arborist is that nothing is certain, things change and you need to be adaptable. Nonetheless there is a general flow to a day starting with identifying the day’s jobs and the necessary tools, equipment and skills needed to perform those jobs. We will arrive at the job-site and set up a safe working zone which would include laying out cones along the street where machinery is parked. 

Tailgate – walk-through

On every job site it is essential that a “tailgate” meeting is held, where the team come together to talk and walk through the job, laying out a plan of action and performing a hazard risk assessment as well as identifying an emergency action plan in the event of an on site accident. Safety and communication are paramount when working as an arborist for both the team and client management.  

Clear and Constant Communication

Communication with the client is integral to a successful day at work. It is not always the climbing arborist on site who has previously spoken with the client and quotes the job. Therefore, it is important to build rapport with the client ensuring that their expectations are understood and that they are clear on the work to be performed. Sometimes this can involve walking round the yard with the client discussing particular nuances of the site.

Arborists getting ready for work
Getting prepared for a big job

Preparing for Work

During this time the other crew onsite will have prepped tools, climbing gear and moved any property such as bird feeders that may be in the way of the trees to be worked on. It is now time for the climbing arborist to perform a visual tree risk assessment before they start climbing into the tree to carry out the work. 

This assessment identifies if there are any specific risks to the climber for example hanging branches that may fall as they ascend the tree or if there is decay or weak points in the tree that would influence how the tree work will be carried out. 

Are we Pruning, or Removing?

When it comes to a climbing arborist there are two higher level categories of tree work, tree pruning or tree removal and under each of these categories there is a wider variety of techniques, practices and sciences behind how they are carried out depending on the tree species, its health and the job description. 

What to learn more?

Learn more about tree removals or tree pruning, or check out some of our latest work on our portfolio page. If you have any questions about out tree care services, send us a message via our contact page