Tips For Hiring Tree Care Professionals

Our trees do need professional care from time to time.  Here are some tips for hiring a qualified company or individual:

  1. Get Informed – Before hiring a company, always get a name, address, telephone number, and references.  Call the telephone number to make sure that it is truly a working number.  Tree service individuals carry varying types of certification.  At a minimum, an individual should have a commercial pesticide applicators license or a pesticide technician’s license but just because they have these documents does not necessarily mean they have the experience or training necessary to properly care for trees.  Additionally, legitimate companies are bonded and should be willing to show you current certificates of liability and workers compensation.  Just because a company has a nicely painted truck with a legitimate-sounding name does not mean it’s a legitimate company.
  2. Estimates – Always get a written estimate prior to agreeing to terms.  An estimate should be very specific as to the species of tree, location of the tree on the property, and every detail of what the company is going to do to the tree.  An estimate that simply says “Prune Front Oak” does not contain enough detail.  Do not immediately hire the first company that gives you an estimate.  Always take the time to get additional estimates from at least two other companies.  Any legitimate company will be willing to provide a free estimate.
  3. Do Your Homework – It is advisable, but not always necessary, that a signed contract states that work is to be done according to ANSI standards. The ANSI standards define techniques for pruning, fertilization, safety, and other categories of tree care.  At the very minimum the homeowner should make themselves aware of the ANSI standards to determine whether the company’s methods are consistent with recommended practices.  These standards can be found online at:
  4. No Topping – It is well known that topping damages trees.  If a company advises topping and is willing to do that to your tree, take it as a warning not to hire them.
  5. No Spikes – A professional would not use spurs or spikes to climb trees.  Spikes wound the tree and often carry diseases from trees previously taken down.
  6. Price – Quality tree care is not cheap.  If an estimate seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

 Source: Travis Harper, Agronomy Specilaist