Hiring an Arborist
What is arboriculture? Arboriculture is defined as the cultivation of trees and shrubs, this includes the planting and care of individual trees and trees in small groups.
What is an arborist? An arborist is an individual trained in the care of trees and shrubs. This training can come from formal college education or years of experience. There are several areas of practice for arborists:
Board Certified Master Arborists are recognized by their peers and the public as having reached the highest level of certification offered by ISA. Hiring a BCMA provides tree owners and government decision makers the opportunity to become better informed about proper tree care and their selection of services based on the expertise represented by the credential.
Municipal arborists manage public owned trees in cities and towns and are usually employed by cities, counties or another public agency.
Commercial arborists either own or work for businesses that provide tree care on a fee basis. They can be hired to do work for individuals or public agencies.
Utility arborists manage trees along utility rights-of-way. They can be employed by the utility or contracted to do tree clearance.
Arboricultural consultants are technical experts who diagnose tree problems, do tree appraisals, and provide management programs for individuals, businesses, or public agencies.
Why Hire an Arborist? (Flyer)
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. Pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work.
An arborist is a specialist in the care of individual trees. Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees, and are trained and equipped to provide proper care of trees.
Arborists can provide a variety of services:
- Pruning–The arborist can determine what type of pruning is necessary to maintain or improve the health, appearance and safety of your trees.
- Removal–Although tree removal is a last resort, there are circumstances when it is necessary. An arborist can help decide whether or not a tree should be removed.
- Emergency Tree Care–Storms may cause limbs or entire trees to fail, often landing on homes, cars, other structures or other trees. An arborist can assess the work to be undertaken.
- Planting–Some arborists plant trees and most can recommend what types of trees are appropriate for a specific location.
- Other Services–Many arborists can provide the following services:
- Practice Plant Health Care; a concept of preventative maintenance to keep trees in good health which will help the tree better defend itself against insects, disease and site problems.
- Fertilization of trees.
- Cabling or bracing for added support to branches with weak attachment.
- Aeration to improve root growth.
- Installation of lightning protection systems.
- Spraying or injecting to control certain insect and disease problems.
How Do I Select an Arborist?
There are a variety of things to consider when selecting an arborist which include:
- Look for membership in a professional organization such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) or the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA).
- Check here and here to find an ISA Certified Arborist near you.
- Check here to verify if the arborist has an ISA Certified Arborist credential.
- Ask for proof of insurance (liability and workman’s compensation) and the phone number of the insurance company if you are not satisfied.
- Ask for references to find out where the company has done work similar to the work you are requesting.
- Unless you know and are comfortable with the arborist, get more than one estimate. Be wary of individuals who go door-to-door and offer bargains for performing tree work. Good arborists will only perform accepted practices. For example, practices such as topping a tree or using climbing spikes on live trees are not necessary.
- Don’t only accept the low bid. Compare all of the above to the bids.
We can answer your questions about how to care for your tree, suggestions on species to plant; a list of local arborists and listings of certified arborists. Just drop us a line at the Texas Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.