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Looking for an Arborist? Here's How to Hire the Right One

country road lined with trees

If you own a home or other structure, it's inevitable that at some point, you'll need to call an arborist. Tree trimming and removal are often necessary as trees grow taller or become hazardous. If you don't have any knowledge of trees, how to recognize problems and what remedies are available for those problems, the best thing you can do is hire a qualified professional.

  1. Qualifications
  2. Not all arborists are alike. Some professionals may use the same tools and techniques, but offer varying levels of services. Look for an arborist whose qualifications fit your needs. Ask how many years they have worked in the industry, their certifications, what licenses they carry, and if they are insured.
  3. Cutting a tree down can sometimes be unavoidable, but if you're seeking a less drastic option, an arborist who specializes in restoration is your best bet. Modifying the shape of the tree is sometimes a better option than removing or pruning it. If you'd like to still have natural shade while altering your landscape, this might be ideal for you. It's usually best to stay with local services. This will not only give you a better chance at finding affordable services, but it'll ensure that they have experience working in your area.
  4. As with any business transaction, trust is key. Make sure that you've done your research and the arborist has a good reputation with local businesses and homeowners.
  1. Ask Questions
  2. Depending on your needs, you may want to seek the opinion of an arborist with specific expertise. If you have a tree in your yard that might be hazardous, ask if the arborist would recommend removal or if pruning would be less damaging. If you have a tree whose shape is having a negative impact on another aspect of your landscaping, find out if the tree can be modified to maintain its appearance while allowing you to keep it.
  3. A good arborist will be able to answer your questions about the health of the tree, how it grows, and what problems are common with that type. For example, if you're having trouble with growing a certain tree, the arborist should be able to tell you whether it's a problem with growing conditions or if it's something else. Willingness to answer questions is another sign of a professional.
  4. If you want your trees shaped in a specific fashion, let the arborist know beforehand so they'll have time to do thorough research and offer their expertise. This is especially important if there's a possibility that one of your branches will need to be cut. Having a plan in place will help you avoid any future problems with that branch.
  1. Cost vs. Value
  2. It's easy to fall for a low-cost estimate, but don't be fooled - it's not always better to choose the lowest bidder. What you save in money today could cost you in the long run if the arborist isn't capable. Hiring a qualified professional that offers affordable services will not only guarantee quality work but will also save money in the long run by preventing future problems and injuries caused by poorly done tree trimming and removal.
  3. When deciding on a price, you should also consider the value of hiring someone who will be honest about what can and cannot be done. Additionally, figure out a budget you're comfortable with that will provide you with enough options. Lastly, ask if there are any hidden costs in the estimate, so you don't have a surprise coming when they present their final bill. Some of the more common hidden costs might include travel fees, equipment rentals, and disposal expenses.
  4. Being flexible is a good way to review how much your potential contractor charges for additional services. You may want the work completed within a certain time frame or on a specific date, but that could add extra costs to your final bill.
  1. Insurance & Licensing
  2. Before hiring an arborist, it's best to check that they are insured. If you or anyone on your property is injured by the arborist's actions, then you won't have to pay out of pocket for medical bills, since their insurance will cover any accident that occurs while they're working.
  3. Your state may require that the arborist you hire has a specific license, depending on what type of work they are doing. An arborist who is truly professional should be able to provide you with a copy of their current certification. You want to make sure you have a solid understanding of the work being performed and what permits are necessary.
  4. Tree work is dangerous and should only be handled by experienced professionals. Since safety is important, make sure that the arborist provides you with an up-to-date list of the safety equipment they use for all jobs.
  1. Rules And Regulations
  2. Once you've chosen the perfect candidate, find out what rules and regulations they follow. For example, some professional arborists attend training courses that allow them to know how to handle different environments, such as areas surrounded by power lines. Ask your contractor what certifications or training they have for working in specific conditions.
  3. Besides that, they should be aware of potential tree protection legislation for where you live. For example, there may be laws that prohibit tree trimming within a certain number of feet from electrical wires or other power sources. Alternatively, you may not be allowed to cut down certain trees due to their endangered species designation.
  1. Images Of Work Done
  2. It's always a good idea to request images of your contractor's work. Seeing photos of past jobs is an excellent way for you to get a better understanding of the quality of the services they offer. While you're at it, ask for references who will vouch for the contractor's work.
  3. Having visuals can also help you plan ahead in case your contractor recommends future tree care. You'll have time to come up with a budget that covers what will need to be done when the current job is finished. If needed, you can hire additional contractors, so work can be done simultaneously in order to keep costs low.

a tree in a meadow with the light coming through the branches

An arborist is an effective way to get the most out of your outdoor space. By hiring a contractor who will do their job properly, you can guarantee that your trees are healthy and sturdy for years to come. Make sure that you have a good understanding of what your contractor will be doing, and the costs associated with their services. If you're not clear on anything, then ask more questions until you feel confident in their abilities. A beautiful landscape should be a source of pride, and having reliable arborists on your side can help you achieve that goal.