How to Choose an Arborist

After hurricanes, tornadoes and ice storms, tree care professionals do an excellent job clearing downed trees and repairing damage. On the other hand, some “tree experts” are expert only at taking money and chopping a tree into pieces. How does a homeowner determine who can be trusted with their trees?

Persons who care about being tree professionals join organizations which provide continuing education about tree care. Some organizations have certification programs which attest to the knowledge of their members.

Professional arborist organizations include:

Georgia Arborist Association. They have an excellent list of certified arborists, some of who do ONLY tree health examinations.

The International Society of Arboriculture

Georgia Forestry Commission list of arborists

Ask a prospective “tree expert” for a list of the local and national professional organizations to which they belong.

When a tree-top is dangling over your bedroom, about to be cut away, it is comforting to know that insurance would cover any mishaps. When choosing a tree care company, ask for proof of their insurance coverage. They should have both liability coverage as well as Workman’s Comp. coverage. It is important to call the insurance company before work starts to make sure the insurance is still in force and that all premiums have been paid.

Tree removal companies will usually come to a site and give a bid on a job. These visits are almost always at no cost to the homeowner. On the other hand, a visit to assess the health of a tree is a consultation and is a professional service for which a fee may be charged. Ask the company if there will be any charges for the visit before they come out.

It is a good idea to ask for a written contract before work begins. The contract should specify details of cleanup and disposal of the wood and limbs that are cut up.

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