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10 No-Nonsense Tree Care Questions to Ask Before Hiring A Tree Care Expert

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The most valuable assets on most landscapes are trees and tree care should be at the top of your maintenance list.  Andy taught us trees are at risk during turf conversions and how you can reduce the risk. Today we are discussing how to make sure you have the most qualified team taking care of your most valuable asset. On a hot day, a large mature tree can lose hundreds of gallons of water from transpiration through its leaves. The same tree will lose almost no water on a cold winter day, and there are many possibilities in between.  Maintaining trees and keeping them healthy is an important part of our sustainability program and will help with water conservation.  A professional tree care provider is often the best solution for long term tree care.  Below are questions you should be asking your tree care provider before you hire them.

Tree care questions.

How Long Have You Been in Business? –  Experience, a strong safety record and longevity in the industry are good indicators of a tree care company’s qualifications.

Do You Have Proof of Proper Insurance for Tree Care?   Comprehensive personal and property damage insurance specifically for higher-risk tree work gives you the broadest protection.  Tree maintenance is dangerous work and you want to be sure your tree care provider has the coverage and is not counting on you to cover any accidents that happen on the job.

Can You Supply a Written Scope of Work?  – Ask for a detailed written proposal including references, before/after pictures of work done on other properties and a schedule of the work to be performed.  More importantly take time to call or see the references.

How Safe are Your Crews and Their Equipment? – Requiring employees to purchase their own climbing gear and personal protective equipment is a recipe for disaster. A professional tree care company provides all of the proper tools so employees can do their job safely. Ongoing training is also critical. Be sure your tree care provider is in full compliance with all national and local safety regulations and takes the extra step to provide their crews with everything they need to minimize risk and injury

Can You Provide Proof of Professional Qualifications Including Licensing and Training for Your Staff? – Active memberships in the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the  Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) ensure your tree care provider has the necessary expertise and most up-to-date knowledge and training.

Do You Have Certified Arborists Who Manage the Tree Care Work? – Arborists are uniquely qualified to fully evaluate a tree’s condition, look for dangerous situations that pose safety risks, and provide recommendations to ensure optimal health and long-term value and proper water management.

Can You Produce Multi-Year Management Plans? – If your property has a large quantity of trees, a proactive program encompassing regular inspections, preventative maintenance, scheduled pruning and timely fertilization can help you manage your property’s trees and minimize safety hazards.  Most homeowners do not have a good understanding of their trees or even the names of the trees.  Having a map and schedule of pruning, irrigation and fertilization will make this easier to manage.

How Can I Get a Handle on My Extensive Tree Population? – Using global positioning technology (GPS), your trees can be inventoried including counts, type, location and condition. With GPS, you can plan, budget and better manage these important assets while minimizing liability.

What About Emergency Services?  – When an emergency does happen, you want a company equipped to respond 24/7 with the necessary manpower and equipment resources to quickly assess property damage and provide timely clean-up.

What Kind of Dangerous Tree Conditions Should I Look For? – Anytime you see clearance issues with buildings or electrical lines, a tree professional should evaluate the situation. Also look for broken, partially attached or dead branches which should be removed to prevent safety hazards. I hope these questions help.  Let me know if I missed any important ones. Richard Restuccia – If you enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to the blog and following me on Twitter @H2oTrends.


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