ISA Board Certified Master Arborist® | Richmond Tree Experts

ISA Board Certified Master Arborist®

ISA Board Certified Master Arborist

The Master Arborist or Board Certified Master Arborist credential identifies professional arborists who have attained the highest level of knowledge in aboriculture offered by the International Society of Arboriculture(ISA) and one of the two top levels in the field. There are several paths to the Board Certified Master Arborist, but typically on average each has been an ISA Certified Arborist a minimum of five years before qualifying for the exam (this can vary depending upon other education and experience). The certification began as a result of the need to distinguish the top few arborists and allow others to identify those with superior credentials. The ISA added specialty certifications of Utility Specialist, for those maintaining vegetation around electric utility wires, Municipal Specialist, for those with additional experience managing public urban trees. The individual that holds the Master Arborist certification at Richmond Tree Experts is Sean Sewell, ISA BCMA# SO-5701B.

The Master Arborist examination is a far more extensive exam than the International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist Exam, and covers a broad scope of both aboriculture management, science and work practices.

The ISA Board Certified Master Arborist exam covers virtually every area of aboriculture (other than consulting), with the following areas covered on exam.


Abiotic Influences Soil Factors, Environmental Factors, Mechanical, Nursery Stock and Planting Practice, Phytotoxic Chemicals, Air Pollution (ozone,Peroxyacyl nitrates (PAN), sulfur dioxide)

Biology Organism, Population Ecology

Biotic Influences Entomology, Pathology, Wildlife considerations

Diagnostic Process Causes of Plant Disorders, Steps in Diagnosis

Diagnostic Tools Field and Laboratory Analysis

Plant Identification and Selection Classification, Plant attributes and characteristics

Soil Sciences Soil Formation, Soil Diagnostics and Testing, Characteristics of Urban Soils, Physical, Chemical, Biology, Water Capacity and Movement, Compaction, Organic Matter, Amendments


Climbing, Rigging, and Removal Equipment, Ropes and Knots, Climbing Techniques and Safety, Principles and Techniques of Rigging, Felling Techniques

Installation Site Selection, Species Selection, Installation Techniques, Rooted cutting, grafted, seedling, Post Planting Care IPM Definition and Philosophy of IPM, Monitoring, Inspection, and Documentation of Problems, Trees, Stress, and Pests, IPM/PHC Practices

Water Management Role of Water in Tree Health, Water Absorption and Movement in Tree, Effects of Water Stress, Turf and Tree Issues with Water Management, Soil Water Limits and Key Points, Water Movement, Irrigation, Reclaimed Water, Hydrogel, Water Quality, Plant Age/Condition/Species and Impact of Water or Irrigation Pruning Theory, Objectives, Types of Pruning, Practice, Pruning Specifications

Soil Treatments Chemical Treatments (Fertilization), Physical Treatments, Biological Treatments

Support & Protection Cabling, Bracing, Guying Established Trees, Lightning Protection, Inspection and Maintenance of Each System


Business Relations Professional Ethics in Arboriculture, Industry Standards, Legal Requirements, Business Operations

Inventory and Management Plans Urban/Rural Inventories, Components of a Landscape or Management Plan, Implementation and Maintenance of Plan Plant Appraisal Methods, Other Considerations

Risk Assessment Components of Tree Risk Assessment, Factors Influencing Tree Risk, Evaluation of Defects, Evaluating the Effects of Decay on the Potential for Failure, Risk Rating Systems, Tree Risk Abatement, Duty and Standard of Care

Safety Electrical, Safe Work Practices, Standards, Laws and Regulations, Tools & Equipment Safety, Emergency Response Procedures, Personal Protection Equipment, Work Site Practices, Communications, Oversight, ID of Hazard Trees, Vehicles

Tree Preservation Tree Preservation Process, Designs to Minimize Impacts to Trees, Preconstruction Treatments, Tree Protection During Construction, Post Construction Care

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