What is an arborist?
Be aware that the credentials of someone calling themselves an arborist can vary widely. Don’t just hire someone with a chain saw who knocks on your door!
An arborist is a professional who cares for trees and other woody plants by pruning, fertilizing, monitoring for insects and diseases, consulting on tree related issues, and occasionally planting, transplanting and removing trees.
Beware of the fly-by-night “individuals” who call themselves arborists. “With hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars at stake, not to mention the integrity and appearance of your property and your personal safety, make sure that you take your time in deciding which company you should hire,” warns Peter Gerstenberger, director of safety and education for TCIA. “Disreputable companies are renowned for ripping gutters off, breaking fences and bird baths, and even dropping trees on houses. Then they typically fold up and leave, never to be seen again.”
We are TCIA Accredited
What should I ask when I meet my arborist?
- When meeting with your arborist for the first time, ask to see current certificates of liability and workers’ compensation insurance, if applicable.
- Ask for references, and check on the quality of their work. Don’t be rushed by a bargain, don’t pay in advance, get estimates in writing and insist on a written work order. Get additional estimates or opinion of the needed work.
- Insist on a signed contract as to cost, dates when work is to be performed, and exactly what is to be done.
- Ask about ANSI Standards. A professional arborist will be aware of the current safety, pruning, fertilizing, and cabling standards.
- Insist that climbing spikes are used only if the tree is to be cut down; spikes damage the tree.
What if I don’t want to hire a professional?
Care for your trees needs to be done by skilled, trained and insured professionals, both for the health and beauty of your trees and for your safety and financial well-being. If you live on a farm and have wide open space, it might be okay for you to drop a tree on your own, but in an urban environment it should only be done by a professional. For your safety, do not perform tree work that is above your shoulders. Taken from published reports, TCIA maintains a monthly list of Accident Briefs that outlines the sad details of homeowners getting severely injured or killed when attempting their own tree work. If you are at all uncertain about what could happen by attempting your own tree work, contact a qualified tree care professional for help.
For your financial protection, hire a company that is professional and has a guarantee not to damage your property. Studies published in the Journal of Arboriculture have demonstrated that it is actually cheaper to regularly prune trees rather than neglecting them, and cleaning up the resulting damage! And no matter when you’re hiring them, be aware that if the tree care company doesn’t have insurance or is not a legal company – you, the homeowner – could be held responsible as a contractor.
Winter Time is the best time for Pruning and Removals
When Should I Hire an Arborist? Bonus Tip: Break with tradition and shop in the off-season.
Spring and summer are typically when our thoughts turn to the yard and the trees, but shopping for tree care in the winter offers several potential benefits:
- Many reputable companies offer modest price discounts on winter work. They do this to provide employment to their loyal help and it is the best time for your trees.
You can get the service when you need it. The best service providers typically have huge backlogs of work in the summer, but can respond to your needs more quickly in the off season. Better Yet, you can still call during the summer (when you’re thinking about it) to get on their winter schedule and take advantage of the benefits.
Winter is a good time to look at and work on most trees. The tree architecture is highly visible, and there are no leaves to add to the cleanup time.
To speak with one of our ISA Certified Arborist, give us a call 608-838-8522 or visit our website at CapCityTree.com for more info.