How to Hire an Arborist
Proper pruning is important for strong, vigorous, long-lived trees. When trees are young, we recommend that you train them to encourage a strong and beautiful structure. Homeowners can learn to prune their own young trees with minimal risk of damage to their tree or injury to themselves. But as trees get larger, we recommend hiring a qualified arborist for this task who will keep trees growing strong without risk of injury to yourself or damage to your tree or property. Reputable arborists have the education, experience and equipment to care for your trees safely, and can provide specific recommendations for your tree and your specific situation.
Most arborists prune trees by climbing into them. This enables them to move around the canopy and inspect the branches. They will be safely tied into the tree and can lower pruned branches without damaging property. Sometimes arborists choose to prune a tree from a lift truck, but it is not required in most situations and can add to the expense.
Quality tree care is not inexpensive, but pays off in healthier, safer trees. Use these guidelines to make sure you are getting quality work.
Guidelines for hiring an arborist
- Find out how long the company has been in business.
- Ask if they follow the standards recommended by the International Society of Arboriculture Tree Pruning Guidelines, ANSI A300 Pruning Standards, and ANSI Z133 Safety Requirements.
- Ask for verification of appropriate professional certification such as by the International Society of Arboriculture for arborists and tree workers.
- Ask for certificates of insurance, including proof of liability for person and property damage, and workman’s compensation.
- Ask for proof of state contractor’s license and check status with the State Contractors License Board.
- Ask for at least three local references, and contact them. Drive by and look at the trees, a properly pruned tree will look like a nice tree, with small pruning wounds (less than 3″ across is best) which may or may not be noticeable. A poorly pruned tree may have large pruning wounds or large branches cut off (topped). These large cuts are more likely to be infected by decay organisms leading to structurally weak trees.
- Have more than one professional look at the job and give estimates.