It’s Difficult and Dangerous...
So Who would be an Arborist?
From an early age Dylan Quilter was interested in working with natural materials, particularly wood, and began an apprenticeship in furniture restoration but quickly realised that furniture wasn’t for him. After a summer job working with a tree surgeon, Dylan knew that he had found his true vocation and set about learning everything he could about working with trees.
He joined a large national forestry company called Fountains Forestry where he learned a lot from a strict boss who consistently checked and double checked that Dylan’s work was of the highest standards, ensuring that Dylan understood the value of planning work and attention to detail. During the 6 years at Fountains, Dylan underwent the training and gained the qualifications needed to become a fully qualified Arborist and Tree Surgeon. Most of the work for Dylan was very diverse and included industrial jobs such as clearing trees from fouling power lines, railway banks and train lines; always ensuring the best and most risk-free course of action was taken for the trees, the surroundings and of course the safety of the Arborist.
Dylan worked for other companies along the way as a freelancer or subcontractor and then, around 8 years ago, he set up in business for himself and when he met and married his wife Lydia, they worked together, ultimately re-launching the business which today is known as Odyssey Trees.
These days, Dylan’s work is still diverse and he carries out jobs for many different businesses from the water board, and other utility companies through to transport firms and the environment agency. He also does domestic work for the local people of Wheathampstead and beyond – in fact anything and everything to do with trees and hedges.
Vans, lorries and lots of appropriate tools and machinery need to be looked after and generally maintained on a regular basis. He has a team of qualified support workers that he can call on to assist him on most jobs. Dylan needs to keep abreast of changing legislation and will regularly attend courses for health and safety, updating his skills along the way.
Working with trees is a service industry so there really is no typical day in Dylan’s life, although he is usually up at the crack of dawn, getting his tools together, maybe meeting up with his work force or reviewing a tree in a domestic garden or a set of trees along a railway line etc. in order to prepare a quote for a new job or a risk assessment for job about to start.
Dylan said, ‘The job is inherently dangerous so it’s very important to ensure that you use the correct techniques for every job to negate the risks to zero. It’s not an exact science so great care and preparation are extremely important every time.’
It’s not just cutting down a tree - it’s a start to finish job were the well being of everyone and everything concerned is considered. For example, Dylan will consider; if the tree is diseased, can it be treated and saved? Is it desirable to be saved? Then, if it’s to be removed; are there birds or animals nesting in the trees, which way will the tree fall, should it be taken down little by little, etc. etc?
Every job is different and may contain different hazards, so it really is all about accessing the risk and planning the whole job down to the finest detail, including what will happen to the waste and will the client want the cut tree chipped up and the material and returned or removed, what about the tree stump will it stay in the ground or a or should it be removed. So, with so much to consider, it has to be a fully professional approach, no matter what the size of the job (or tree.) The various tree services that Odyssey Trees offers will cover most issues and problems involving trees and hedges.
Recently Dylan was invited to look at a fruit tree in a Wheathampstead back garden that had become diseased. After a thorough inspection and using his knowledge and skills, Dylan offered the client a few options - leave the tree alone and hope for a natural improvement, treat the canker problem or remove the tree altogether, giving the client time to ponder a decision.
Dylan’s wife, Lydia, handles the admin side of the business, juggling her time whilst caring for her two young children. Lydia will make appointments, prepare quotes and invoices and generally keep everything on track, enabling Dylan to get to each job and carry out the tree work that he loves to do.
Dylan and Lydia are clearly very professional in their approach to business and whilst they have all the insurance, training, skills, knowledge and experience that you would expect from a big company they are still seem keen to offer that small company care and overriding friendliness so often missing from the national firms.