Basic tree care practices like watering and mulching can be properly done by anyone; however, some tree care is best left up to trained professionals. Examples include work that cannot be performed from the ground; work that cannot be performed with hand tools like pruners, loppers, and pole saws; and any work within 10 feet of any kind of overhead utility line. In addition, pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work. This type of work should only be completed by those trained and equipped appropriately.
Check to make sure that the person you are hiring to provide technical expertise or services to care for your trees is a certified arborist. Certified arborists are experienced professionals who have passed an extensive examination covering all aspects of tree care. These individuals are tested and certified by the International Society of Arboriculture.
Please note that not all certified arborists are experienced in all areas of practice, and some areas of practice require additional credentials like state-issued licenses.
How Can An Arborist Help?
Certified arborists provide a variety of tree care services. They can assess the health and condition of your trees; determine the type of pruning necessary to maintain or improve the health, appearance and safety of trees; diagnose diseases and infestation problems and provide solutions and treatments to treat them; recommend alternatives to tree removal if at all possible; remove trees safely and replace removed trees; recommend types of trees that are appropriate for specific locations and plant them; and aid in emergency tree care such as after a storm.
How To Hire an Arborist
- You can locate certified arborists on several online resources including:
- Ask for proof of insurance. A reputable arborist carries personal and property damage insurance as well as workers compensation insurance.
- Check for necessary permits and licenses.
- Ask for references.
- Get more than one estimate and do not always accept the low bid.
- Be wary of individuals who go door to door and offer bargains for performing tree work, as well as those offering business cards with only a cell phone and no physical address for the business. Legitimate businesses want to be found and should provide you with their office location.
- Keep in mind good arborists will perform only accepted practices. For example, topping a tree or using climbing spikes on trees that are not to be removed, without just cause are unnecessary and unacceptable.
- Get the agreement for work to be performed up front and do not hesitate to place all items discussed in the contract including clean up and any accidental damage to additional trees, landscape, driveways and sidewalks.
- Make no payments until the entire job is satisfactorily completed.
Information courtesy of the International Society of Arboriculture.