An arborist, by definition, is an individual trained in the art and science of planting, caring for and maintaining 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 that 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 be done only by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees.
Ask for proof of insurance and then call the insurance company if you are not satisfied. A reputable arborist carries personal and property damage insurance as well as workers’ compensation insurance and should be able to provide you with a certificate from there insurance agent.
Ask for references to find out where the company has done work similar to what you are requesting. Don’t hesitate to check references or visit other work sites where the company or individual has done tree work.
Be wary of individuals who go door-to-door and offer bargains for performing tree work. Most reputable companies are too busy to solicit work in this manner.
Keep in mind that good arborists will perform only industry-accepted practices. For example, practices such as topping a tree, removing an excessive amount of live wood, using climbing spikes on trees that are not being removed, and removing or disfiguring living trees without just cause are improper practices and violate industry standards.
Get it in writing. Most reputable arborists have their clients sign a contract. Be sure to read the contract carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, such as:
- When will the work be started and completed?
- Who will be responsible for clean-up?
- Is this the total price?
- What are the terms of payment?