After a storm, it is common for individuals claiming to be tree specialists to show up at your door offering their services to remove or repair trees. In the words of one city forester: “They seem to come out of the woodwork, people we have never even heard of before.” Unfortunately, many such individuals have little or no training, and sometimes have little interest in removing anything but money from the pocketbooks of unsuspecting residents.
The Arbor Day Foundation urges you to not be a victim. “Make sure you are dealing with a reputable individual or tree care firm when you contemplate repairs or removal of any trees on your property,” warns Matt Harris, chief executive of The Arbor Day Foundation. “Legitimate arborists rarely go door to door to solicit business.”
Here are ten guidelines to help you find qualified tree-care specialists: (special note for victims of large-scale disasters.)
- Make sure they are part of an established business in the community or nearby area, with a listing in the phone book, usually under Tree Service.
- Have them provide you with evidence that they are actually working for the company, rather than moonlighting.
- Ask for current certificates of insurance showing that they are fully insured for property damage, personal liability, and worker compensation.
- Ideally, they should be members of a professional association of arborists such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the National Arborist Association (NAA), or the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA).
- Arborists who have received certification from their professional associations, such as ISA Certified Arborists, will have received training and access to current technical information on tree care, repair, and removal.
- If possible, get more than one estimate to ensure that the price offered is competitive with that offered by others for the same services.
- In case of tree removals, have a clear understanding about who removes the limbs and debris from the property, and whether or not the price includes stump removal and clean up.
- Check to see if the estimate has considered the possible value your tree will have as firewood or chips, either to yourself or if sold to others.
- “Above all, don't be pressured into making a decision,” Harris warns. “Taking the time to select a qualified tree professional can safeguard your trees and save you from the long-term consequences of wrong decisions about what to do about them after a storm.”
- Watch out for madmen with chainsaws.
CUTLINE: Hiring just anyone who shows up at your door may result in fatal damage to your trees. It's best to go with a qualified tree professional.
Many cities require arborists to be licensed and will maintain lists of firms and individuals so registered. You might check with your City Forester or other city officials who care for public trees in your communities. Sometimes this is a function of the city's parks department.
What is The Arbor Day Foundation?
Founded in 1972, The Arbor Day Foundation located at https://www.arborday.org/ inspires people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. We envision a world where trees and forests are abundant, healthy, and sustainable, and highly valued by all people. Through mass-media communications, by providing low-cost trees for planting, and by producing high-quality, easy-to-use educational materials, we work to make tree planting and care something in which nearly everyone can be involved. We also create mechanisms through which the average individual can directly support positive tree conservation and education projects. It is our constant goal to expand a person's desire to plant a tree into a lifelong enthusiasm for tree planting and care, and for positive involvement in conservation issues relating to trees.