How Is A Tree Service Different From A Landscaping Service?

 In Inexpensive Tree Care Blog

The Difference Between A Tree Service and a Landscaper

Here’s a question we get a lot at Inexpensive Tree Care in Portland: How is a tree service different from a landscaping service?

It’s a reasonable question. Since there is some overlap in responsibilities and expectations, it’s understandable why there might be confusion. But make no mistake: Tree services and landscaping services have distinct and widely varying roles to play in our urban forest canopy.

Portland’s Urban Forest Canopy

Inexpensive Tree Care takes great pride in helping to preserve and maintain the Portland metro area’s renowned urban forest canopy. In order for that work to be done, we partner with homeowners and property owners to maintain their own mini canopies. Each part adds up to a wonderful whole.

So let’s say homeowners or property owners need tree work done. How do they know which type of business to hire? Simply put: It depends on what kind of work is needed and the expertise required to perform it.

In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the differences between a tree service company and a landscaper. These differences can help everybody determine what will work best for them and their particular situation.

Questions? Contact Inexpensive Tree Care for answers!


Broadly speaking, landscaping work includes mowing lawns, trimming hedges and shrubs, edging, and leaf- and debris-blowing. Landscapers will also perform design work on your hedges and shrubs, fertilize your gardens and flower beds, and set watering schedules.

Many of the services performed by a landscaper (mowing, trimming, edging) can typically be done by a nonprofessional. This is one of the main differences between a landscaper and a tree service, especially those staffed by certified arborists. (More on certified arborists in the tree service section below.)

Landscapers can also help you design the layout of your yard or garden and help set up a system of maintenance that works best for your personal urban canopy. These are all vital services, and do a lot to help make neighborhoods beautiful and distinctive.

We know a lot of landscapers who are our friends and colleagues. Some of them are true artists with vision and the ability to bring it to fruition.

But there are some things that are better left to full tree service companies. For example, you should hire a certified arborist if you need a tree removed or relocated, or if high tree branches need to be pruned or removed. Arborists are far more likely to be part of a tree service company than a landscaping service.

Let’s take a look at this specialized category of urban forest maintenance.

Certified Arborists and Tree Service Companies

Pruning tall trees — or felling them completely — is beyond the scope of most landscapers. This type of work is dangerous and requires not only a certified arborist with lots of experience but (usually) a city permitting process that can be difficult and confusing to navigate. (Click here to see Inexpensive Tree Care’s list of tree service permits.)

It’s unlikely that your friendly neighborhood landscaper knows — or needs to know — the many rules and regulations regarding tree removal. There’s a lot that goes into it: permitted sizes, diameter at breast height (DBH) measurements, the number of trees that can be removed each year, etc. This is the purview of certified arborists, and they usually work for tree service companies.

What is a certified arborist? It’s a person who has obtained certification from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). This process requires some combination of experience, academic degrees, certification exams, and more. Topics studied and credentialed include soil management; safe work practices; tree biology; pruning; diagnosis, treatment and protection; urban forestry and more.

Arborists are Tree Surgeons

As we’ve written about before, arborists are tree surgeons. If you need a tree removed, then you need to call an arborist, not a landscaper. Tree removal and high tree trimming can be extremely dangerous. Arborists control where the tree falls, for example. This ensures the felling doesn’t damage people or property.

Arborists can also diagnose diseased trees and branches, and then perform the work to remove them without damaging the rest of the tree.

When it comes to overlap, it’s more likely that a tree service company’s duties will overlap those of the landscaping company than vice-versa. For example, many tree companies will also perform routine maintenance, such as trimming and pruning small shrubs and trees.

Inexpensive Tree Care in Portland, Oregon, is owned and operated by certified arborist Lorin Fielding. We work hard to earn and keep your trust as your personal, professional tree service.

Contact us today. Let’s get started on a conversation about how best to protect your own little slice of urban forest paradise. We look forward to speaking with you!

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