Tips from an arborist on how to hire the best

Know how to hire the best and avoid an inexperienced contractor who might do more damage than good to your landscape.

Know how to hire the best and avoid an inexperienced contractor who might do more damage than good to your landscape.

Spring is on the way, and the long hot days of summer are not far behind. As the daylight portion of the day increases, it provides us a bit more time to check off a few additional things from the “to-do” list – gutters cleaned, lawn mowed and ultimately tree pruning.

Tree pruning is often only noticed when a low tree branch scrapes the roof or the family car when pulling into the drive. These common issues combined with our busy schedules and lack of proper tools (or desire) leads us toward seeking out a tree care professional.

While the local phone book lists many different tree services, these self-proclaimed “experts,” outside of charging money and showing up with a chainsaw, have no expertise in tree physiology, biology, soil-water-relationships, safety regulations, etc. Most are not even familiar with proper pruning techniques.

So how does the informed consumer avoid the novice, uninformed “tree guy” from doing irreparable damage to the most important and valuable part of the landscape?  Hire a professional company that is either accredited or certified by the professional societies within its industry. One of the most important aspects to consider when hiring any professional is the level of education, certification and experience within the field.

Within arboriculture, two of the major professional organizations include the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) and the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Both of these organizations promote the proper care of trees from a scientific standpoint while focusing on ethical and safe tree care practices. Through these websites, you can confirm local arborist credentials and/or begin the search to find higher quality companies to choose from.

Before hiring an arborist, insist they show you proof of liability, and workers compensation insurance. Ask for references and make sure that the company is adhering to ANSI A-300 standards for pruning and the Z133 safety standards. The trees around your home not only provide a nice shady spot in the summertime, but also can increase home values between 5 to 15 percent. You can ensure their proper care by hiring a qualified arborist.

Jacob West is a board certified master arborist with Bartlett Tree Experts. As of Feb. 3, 2012, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.

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