How To Hire An Arborist
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How To Hire an Arborist

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. Arborists make a career of caring for trees. Here are several tips for selecting an arborist:

Avoid arborists who routinely top trees. What is topping?
Have more than one arborist look at the job, and get a written bid specifying the work to be done.
Ask for and check local references.
Determine if the arborist is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture, (ISA) or the Tree Care Industry Association, (TCIA). Membership does not guarantee quality, but lack of membership casts doubt on the person's professionalism.
Beware of an arborist who wants to remove a living tree. Removal of live trees is sometimes needed, but should be a last resort.
When possible hire an ISA Certified Arborist. ISA Certified arborists are experienced professionals who have passed an extensive examination covering all aspects of tree care.
When reviewing arborists ads, avoid those that advertise topping or demossing. Look for ads that promote their ISA Certification or membership in ISA or NAA.
Ask for certification of personal and property liability insurance and workman's compensation. Then phone the insurance company to make certain the policy is current.
Low price is a poor gauge of a quality arborist. Often, the better ones are more expensive because of more specialized equipment, more professional help, and insurance costs.

Adapted From: Community Tree Care, By Edward F. Gilman, Professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, University of Florida