Professional tree care should be provided by an arborist who specializes in the care of individual trees. Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Certified arborists are experienced professionals who have passed an extensive examination covering all aspects of tree care. Arborists are certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and display an official logo as identification.
Professional arborists have a minimum of three years experience in some aspect of tree care and have passed an exam developed by an international panel of experts. The exam extensively covers every aspect of tree care and the individuals must have an acceptable level of knowledge in all areas of arboriculture. Click here to find a list of Certified Arborists in your area.
Tips for Selecting Certified Arborists
Locate certified arborists through the phone directory, Web, and recommendations made by family members, neighbors, friends, and work associates. Then, gauge selections based on the following checklist:
- Certification - Look for professional association memberships with organizations like the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA), the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), and the National Arborist Association (NAA). While membership in any of these organizations is good, only ISA has a certification program, so look for the ISA certified arborist logo.
- Proof of Insurance - Ask for proof of workers compensation and personal and property damage insurance. Verify that each policy is current by calling insurance carriers. This helps protect homeowners from being responsible for injuries or property damages that result from the work.
- Permits - Determine if they know about local, state, and/ or federal laws that require them to get permits before work is performed.
- Customer References - Call each reference and visit their sites to see finished work.
- Quotes - Get written estimates, even if it costs to have an estimate completed. Ensure that estimates include credentials, written scope of work to be performed, and all costs. Compare quotes on the basis of services to be performed and costs for each service. (If a certified arborist only performs consultations, ask for recommendations for certified arborists who actually perform tree maintenance or removal and compare quotes with others.)
- Contracts - Demand that work only start once a contract is signed by both parties. Read contracts carefully before signing. Verify that contracts detail when work will be started and completed, which party is responsible for clean-up, the total price, and the arborist’s hourly rate for additional work approved by the customer.