Hiring an Arborist
It is important to seek professional assistance when managing trees. Reputable Tree Care Companies retain expert arborists with adequate training, certifications, and licensing to deliver tree care services. Consulting Arborists work independently from a tree care operation and can provide a deeper level of assessment and compose formal reports that are useful for documenting tree risk, tree protection plans, and other higher-stakes tree scenarios. A Tree Care Company can provide substantial expertise as well and it is up to the property owner to determine which professionals they hire to provide which services. A Tree Care Company will generally provide free estimates for potential tree care work while Consulting Arborists will charge an hourly rate or flat fee for their time.
It is important to have mature trees inspected on a regular basis to catch any structural or health concerns early. Trees that do not have any ongoing health or structural concerns should be inspected once every two to five years, depending on the situation.
- Pruning to mitigate hazardous branches and tree parts.
- Tree removal
- Diagnosing and treating insect and disease issues
- Emergency tree pruning or removal following a tree failure event
- Cabling and bracing to improve the structural integrity of a tree
- Soil aeration and fertility applications to improve root health
Services provided by a Consulting Arborist:
- Tree Risk Assessments
- Diagnosing and advising on insect and disease issues
- Consulting on tree preservation and protection during construction
- Tree value appraisal
- Formal reports documenting a tree assessment and recommendations
- Providing professional opinions detached from the operations of a tree service
Tips on hiring a Tree Care Company or Consulting Arborist:
- Check that the contractor has the necessary and desired licenses and certifications. At the very least, to provide tree work for hire in the state of Maryland a contractor must be a MD Licensed Tree Expert.
- Check to confirm that the contractor is adequately insured.
- For tree removal and pruning work, get estimates from at least three different companies. For large expensive jobs five estimates is often best.
- Do not allow the contractor to use climbing spikes on your tree unless the plan is to remove it.
- Avoid contractors that suggest that a tree ‘needs a haircut’. Always have your contractor explain how any proposed pruning will improve the health or structure of your tree. Always seek to prune as few live and healthy branches from a tree as possible.
- Always be as specific as possible with what the assignment of the contractor is. The number and/or size of branches to be pruned, what material will be hauled off site, and what cleanup activities the contractor will conduct after the job are some of the things you will want to make clear.
- Consider having the company leave woodchips or logs behind for you to use for landscaping or firewood.
- When hiring a Consulting Arborist to assist with the preparation of a Tree Protection Plan you should ensure that they are familiar with the Takoma Park Tree Protection Plan Permit Process
Click here to view the International Society of Arboriculture’s webpage to find local Arborists and check credentials
Click here for more information on Maryland’s Licensed Tree Expert Information