A Day in the Life of a Consulting Arborist

Tuesday, 31 July, 2018

Arborist Elizabeth Hannon 1

In our latest instalment of ‘A Day in the Life of...’ we get the down low (and the up high) on the fascinating profession of consulting arboriculture. Our arborists carry out tree assessments, reporting, consultation and provide recommendations for tree removal and retention. We caught up with Elizabeth Hannon, Consulting Arborist at Eco Logical Australia, to see what a typical day in her neck of the woods looks like!

8.30am – I am not able to work in the rain so that means I start my day by checking the weather forecasts. If the day is going ahead, I research the site by looking at the vegetation communities and expanse of the site.

9.00am – journey to site.  From Tahmoor to Newcastle - my work takes me all over Sydney and beyond!

10:00am – arrive on site.  Most of the time I am onsite by myself so I orientate myself using maps and information provided by the client. I also check for locked gates, unfriendly dogs and scope out the site for possible hindrances to the day. I use a satellite navigation system to map the location of the trees, so this is the first piece of equipment I get up and running.

If I am meeting with clients, I’ll introduce myself and discuss the project. We’ll touch on what stage the project is at and what is required from me. Client meetings are important to clarify anything that is not understood. 


11:00am – start the survey. I begin by measuring the height and diameter of the trunk of the tree. I use a clinometer to measure the height of the trees. The diameter of the trunk is taken using a diameter tape. By measuring the diameter of the trunk you can determine how much of a protection area the tree needs on a construction site.

I then look at the trees species and how it is contributing to the location. Other things to consider are if the tree has some heritage significance, if it’s usually found in that location or if it’s a weed… I’m lucky I don’t find a lot of weeds!

Next I assess how healthy the tree is and look for anything unusual that might cause problems with keeping it. I also look at what is proposed for the site and how much impact it will have on the trees.

1:00pm – lunch. Depends on where I am but I bring lunch most days because it just might be that I’m in the middle of nowhere!

2:00pm – 5.00pm – continue with the survey.  I have found joining Eco Logical that I go to sites where there are enormous amounts of trees and you must keep plugging away.  Each site is different, sometimes it’s a suburban backyard or it might be the length of a railway line or it might be an acreage for a development.  The vegetation is always different, and it keeps you on your toes!

I use my arboricultural experience in such different settings, such as government and private enterprise, but my overriding passion is how important trees are for our physical and mental wellbeing. I’m glad I’m in an occupation where I get to work so closely with them.