"There is a shortage of skilled staff as we have left the recession, especially in the South East," CTC Recruitment managing director Bruce Blackman said at the ARB Show.
"A lot more companies are looking to recruit, wages are increasing quite substantially and there is more turnover of personnel moving on to higher-paid positions." Arboriculture is also "an industry with a high drop-out rate", adding to the challenge.
"The other trend is local authorities taking arb work back in house," said Blackman. "The winter's storms may have been a factor. If you directly employ a team it's easier to phone them up and say 'go and move that tree'."