Groundsmen who do tree cutting, more commonly known as tree trimmers or pruners, cut away dead branches, prune excess foliage and perform other tasks to improve the appearance and health of trees. No minimum education is necessary because most of these workers learn their skills on the job. However, formal training in horticulture, tree culture or landscape design can improve employability and salaries.
Groundsmen who do tree cutting typically work outdoors in the spring, summer and fall, in all types of weather. They have a higher than normal rate of workplace illness and injury since they are exposed to chemicals such as pesticides, and power tools such as chainsaws. Using proper procedures and protective clothing, such as gloves, goggles and earplugs can minimize the danger. As of May 2009, the median salary was $30,310 annually, with a range of $20,450 to $47,650. This breaks down to $14.57 per hour, with a range of $9.83 to $22.91. This information is the most current from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS.
The major employers of groundsmen who do tree cutting are buildings and dwelling services, which provided landscaping services to facilities that do not have in-house groundsmen. They employed 86 percent of the total 37,830 jobs at a mean $14.82 per hour or $30,830 per year. The highest paying positions were with the federal government, whose groundsmen took care of trees in such varied environments as national monuments and office gardens. Salaries here were at a mean $24.53 per hour or $51,010 per year.
The state with the best pay for groundsmen who do tree cutting is Alaska, where salaries were a mean $33.53 per hour or $69,740 per year, for 90 positions. Still among the top five for pay was Connecticut, with a lower mean of $19.83 per hour or $41,250 per year but with better employment at 620 jobs. For cities, the highest paying employers were in Barnstable Town, Mass., with mean compensation at $25.41 per hour or $52,850 per year.
Employment for groundsmen who do tree cutting is expected to increase by 26 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the BLS. This is much greater than average for all positions. Because good landscaping is important to attracting customers and motivating employees, many organizations recognize the need for groundsmen. Individual homeowners are also becoming too busy to maintain their own trees. Prospects are best in areas with mild climates, where tree trimming can continue all year long.