Tree Trimmers and Pruners

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About the Job

Using sophisticated climbing and rigging techniques, cut away dead or excess branches from trees or shrubs to maintain right-of-way for roads, sidewalks, or utilities, or to improve appearance, health, and value of tree. Prune or treat trees or shrubs using handsaws, hand pruners, clippers, and power pruners. Works off the ground in the tree canopy and may use truck-mounted lifts.

It is also Called

  • Vine Pruner
  • Trimmer
  • Tree Worker
  • Tree Trimmer Helper
  • Tree Trimmer
  • Tree Surgeon
  • Tree Specialist
  • Tree Expert
  • Tree Doctor
  • Tree Climber
View All

What They Do

  • Install lightning protection on trees.
  • Split logs or wooden blocks into bolts, pickets, posts, or stakes, using hand tools such as ax wedges, sledgehammers, and mallets.
  • Scrape decayed matter from cavities in trees and fill holes with cement to promote healing and to prevent further deterioration.
  • Harvest tanbark by cutting rings and slits in bark and stripping bark from trees, using spuds or axes.
  • Apply tar or other protective substances to cut surfaces to seal surfaces, and to protect them from fungi and insects.
  • Water, root-feed, and fertilize trees.
  • Plan and develop budgets for tree work, and estimate the monetary value of trees.
  • Spray trees to treat diseased or unhealthy trees, including mixing chemicals and calibrating spray equipment.
  • Transplant and remove trees and shrubs, and prepare trees for moving.
  • Trim jagged stumps, using saws or pruning shears.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: R.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Realistic interests.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Support and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.

Education Required

These occupations usually require a high school diploma.


In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $32,660 with most people making between $17,070 and $54,690


avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 1,950 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 2,080 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 13 openings due to growth and about 37 replacement openings for approximately 50 total annual openings.

Pennsylvania Department of Education