Selecting an arborist

An arborist is a specialist in the care of individual trees. Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Hiring an arborist is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Proper tree care is an investment that can lead to substantial returns. Well-cared-for trees are attractive and can add considerable value to your property. Poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability. Pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work. Tree work should be done only by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees.

  1. Membership in professional organizations, such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). Such membership demonstrates a willingness on the part of the arborist to stay up to date on the latest techniques and information.
  2. ISA arborist certification, are experienced professionals who passed an extensive examination covering all aspects of tree care.
  3. Insurance is carried by reputable arborist for personal and property damage, and workers compensation.
  4. Permits and licenses are required by some governmental agencies. Contractors may have to apply for permits and licenses before they begin work.
  5. References are a good way to determine quality of work and service. Tree care is a substantial, long-lasting investment.
  6. More than one estimate is a good idea unless you are comfortable with the arborist.
  7. Don’t always accept the lowest bid. Examine credentials and written specifications of the firms that submitted bids to determine the best combination of price, work to be done, skill, and professionalism.
  8. Be wary of individuals who go door to door and offer bargains for tree work. Most reputable companies are too busy to solicit work in this manner. Improper tree care can take many years to correct and may never be corrected.
  9. Good arborists will only perform accepted practices. For example, practices such as topping a tree, removing an excessive amount of live wood, using climbing spikes on trees that are not being removed, and removing or disfiguring living trees without just cause are unnecessary.
  10. In writing. Reputable arborists have clients sign a contract. Read the contract carefully. Ask questions, such as: When will the work begin and finish? Who is responsible for clean-up? Is this the total price?