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Hiring a tree care professional

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 only be done by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees.
Tree care costs money. But considering that trees can contribute up to 15 percent of your property value, the expense of proper care is one of the best investments you can make.
Follow these dos and don’ts when selecting an arborist:

Steps for selecting an arborist

Look for the “ISA-certified arborist” logo when hiring a tree care professional.
  1. Do some preliminary research online (or in a local phone book) by using search terms such as “tree service,” “tree care professionals” or “tree work.” Legitimate companies will have an established website or Facebook page, which will indicate some degree of permanence. Also check to see if the proprietor is currently a certified arborist (by the International Society of Arboriculture).
  2. Beware of “door-knockers.” Most reputable companies have all the work they can handle without having to go door-to-door. “Door-knockers” are common after storms when less scrupulous individuals see a chance to make quick money.
  3. Never be rushed by bargains, and never pay in advance.
  4. Ask for certificates of insurance, including proof of liability for personal and property damage, and workman’s compensation. Then phone the insurance company to make certain that the policy is current.
  5. Ask for local references. Take a look at some of the work, and if possible, talk with former clients.
  6. Check for certification and to see if the arborist is a member of any tree-related organization.
  7. Have more than one arborist look at your job to provide estimates.
  8. Find out exactly what services the arborist will provide for the fee.
  9. A good arborist rarely ever “tops” a tree or uses climbing spikes if the tree is to remain there.
  10. Beware of an arborist who is eager to remove a living tree. Removal should be a last resort.