Urban Forestry

Selecting 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 which 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.


Steps for Selecting an Arborist

  1. Check in the phone book yellow pages under Trees, Tree Service, or Tree Care. Anyone can list themselves here, but a listing indicates some degree of permanence.
  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 they 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 the former client.
  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 and give 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.

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.

Find an ISA Certified Arborist

Contact Your Local Urban Forester for more information.

Information from the National Arbor Day Foundation and the International Society of Arboriculture(both open in a new window)

National Arborist Association(opens in a new window)

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Forest Management/ Urban Forestry