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How to Hire an Arborist
Arborists make a career of caring for trees in urban and suburban landscapes. They work for companies commonly referred to as tree experts, tree services, tree care, arborists, tree specialists, and others. Here are few tips for selecting a company to work with your trees:

  • Avoid arborists who advertise they top trees. Ask the arborists if they will top your trees. If they say yes, don't use them.
  • Have more than one arborist look at the job (see 'How to find an arborist'), and get a written proposal specifying the work to be done. Consider paying an arborist to write specifications so you can give them to the prospective companies.
  • Ask for and check local references.
  • Be sure the company has the appropriate licenses, insurance, and certifications. Some communities require special permits, insurance or certifications for all arborists to practice in the community.
  • Ask them what the ANSI A300 pruning standard and the ANSI Z133.1 safety standards are. Ask if their practices will be in compliance with the standard.
  • Ask them what tree book they have read most recently.
  • Ask them what seminar they attended most recently and when was it held.
  • Beware of an arborist who suggests removal of living trees. Removal of living trees is sometimes necessary, but should be considered the last resort after all other options have been considered.
  • Determine if the arborist is certified with the International Society of Arboriculture in Champaign Illinois. Certified arborists must pass a written test and maintain certification by regularly attending classes. Except for registered consulting arborists with the American Society of Consulting Arborists, membership in other organizations is useful, but no tests or training are required for membership. Members simply pay dues to belong.
  • Ask for verification of personal and property liability insurance and worker's compensation (or a waiver of worker's compensation).
  • Low price is a poor gauge of a quality arborist. Often the better ones are more expensive because of more specialized equipment, more professional training, and insurance costs.
  • Know if your state or municipality requires a specific license or certification for providing these services
*From Edward F. Gilman, Associate Professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, University of Florida
So what do you look for when hiring an Arborist?  Here is some great advice on selecting a tree service written by Dr. Edward Gilman of the University of Florida.