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Tree Trimming: 10 questions to ask before hiring a professional tree trimmer

An arborist wearing a safety harness trims a palm tree.for the importance of tree trimmingIf you are a homeowner, it’s that time of year for tree trimming. When hiring a professional tree trimmer, you’ll want to get your money’s worth, protect your investment and avoid liability and upset neighbors. Here are 10 questions to ask:

  1. Will they provide an up-to-date certificate of insurance and a copy of their work contract? Ensure they are properly insured and that you will not be liable for damage, accidents or injuries.
  2. What are their credentials? Try to hire a company with an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist, a Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) Accredited Business or one employing a Certified Tree Care Safety Professional (CTSP). If they will be working in proximity to electrical conductors, they will need to be Approved Line-Clearance Arborists.
  3. Can they provide a list of references? Any quality company will be happy to share a list of satisfied customers.
  4. Will they give you a detailed estimate? Get written estimates and understand the scope of the job.
  5. How will the job be approached and what equipment will they use? You don’t want massive power equipment driving over your lawn and flowerbeds causing collateral damage unnecessarily. What is their policy if they damage something, and is that policy acceptable to you? Also, make sure you understand how they will clean up during and after the job.
  6. How long will the project take? Make sure the duration is included in the estimate.
  7. Does the company appear professional? Design of their website and quality of their equipment can give you a sense of their professionalism, and that includes the appearance of the vehicles they use on jobs.
  8. Do they use spikes to climb trees while pruning? Unless you’re removing the trees, demand they not use spikes, which causes unhealthy wounds.
  9. Do they advertise “topping” (removing live sections from the top of the tree)? This is another poor practice, particularly for large, healthy hardwood trees and would indicate that you should continue your search.
  10. Will the crew be using hardhats and other personal protective equipment while on your property? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that personal protective equipment is used for any tree care operation. A reputable tree care service will require their workers to be protected.

The bottom line: it’s important to protect yourself and your property by hiring a tree care professional to trim your trees. It’s equally important to protect yourself and your “tree investment” by asking these top 10 important questions. For more information, including resources to help you find a tree care service, visit www.treesaregood.org.

While the beauty and health of our trees are important to our enjoyment of our living environment, they are significant as well when it comes to selling or purchasing a home. That’s why I always consider the trees and other landscaping when representing my clients in the home search or sale. Please call me at 805.886.9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com and we will discuss your housing and tree trimming needs!

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