If you own a property with trees, you likely need at least an occasional tree service. Weather, disease, and time can take a beating on your trees, leaving them unhealthy and often vulnerable to falling.
Tree service helps protect both the trees and any nearby buildings or power lines. Unhealthy trees are more likely to fall or drop branches. Regular pruning and other arboriculture services can also help with beauty, longevity, and maintaining your view.
Keeping your trees healthy is a lot easier when you know a good professional arborist or tree services company. Here are some things to ask and look for.
Ask Friends and Family for Tree Service Referrals
You likely have some neighbors, friends, and family members with trees in their yards. If you know someone who has a magnificent pine or fruit tree on their property, you can ask which arborist or tree service company they’ve hired.
Ask your friend what they had done, whether they had a good experience, and if they’d recommend the people they hired. These kinds of word-of-mouth recommendations can give you a good sense of whether the company is trustworthy.
Look for Online Reviews and Testimonials
If you don’t have any neighbors who can recommend an arborist or want to get more opinions on an arborist’s work, you can look at online comments. Reviews rarely tell the whole story, but they can help you see if many customers have the same problems with a company.
Nearly every established company today has a website, Google My Business profile, social media profile, or some other online presence. You can often find reviews or testimonials from past customers there.
Ask About Tree Service Experience
The best arborists are usually very experienced, with years of work and accumulated expertise under their belts. They’ve learned some of their best techniques and practices on the job.
If you have a specific vision or an unusual project, you can ask if the arborist has experience with similar projects. For example, if you want classical pruning for your Japanese Maple, ornamental pruning for your trellis, or shaping for a shrug, you should ask if the company has experience with those kinds of projects.
Ask About Tree Service Training
Removing, pruning, landscaping, transplanting, treating, and evaluating the health of trees often takes expert knowledge and skills. There are also hazards involved, especially if the trees are near homes, buildings, or power lines.
At Tree Harmony Arborists, our founder trained under a senior arborist for many years. He learned about tree health, safety, best pruning practices, crew leadership, and more.
Ask About Insurance and Safety Policies
As we said above, tree service tasks come with safety risks. Because of that risk, your arborist or tree service company should have general and professional liability insurance. They should also have worker’s compensation insurance.
Ask your arborist about their safety practices, policies, and history with safety issues. You will want to hire someone who prioritizes safety for both you and their crew.
Ask What Equipment They Use
Tree service companies use a variety of equipment to climb, trim, and cut trees. One type of equipment they shouldn’t use for most projects, though, is spikes. Spikes leave holes in the trunk, so arborists should only use them if they are taking down a tree.
You should never hire someone who doesn’t provide their crew with basic safety equipment, like hard hats and eye protection.
Get Quotes from Multiple Tree Service Companies
Getting multiple quotes helps you determine what price range is reasonable for your project. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. If it’s much higher than competitors’ quotes, there should be a good reason.
We recommend only accepting written price quotes when you hire an arborist. It’s good to have a record of the agreement so you can avoid unpleasant discussions later.
Expect to Wait for an Appointment
If you’re not in an emergency, you may need to wait weeks or even months to schedule a tree services appointment. Good arborists tend to be very busy in some seasons.
One note: Less-than-reputable tree service companies often come knocking on doors after disasters. If you’re in an emergency, be skeptical of anyone who comes to your door. Instead, call your homeowner’s insurance company and ask which companies they recommend for emergency service.
Consider Choosing an Arborist
While we’ve been using the terms “arborist” and “tree service company” almost interchangeably in this article, they’re not quite the same. An arborist is usually more specialized and has more expertise than a tree service company.
Tree service companies without arborists may be able to remove a dead tree or do basic trimming without issues. However, they won’t necessarily know how to maintain the health of your living trees. They may not have any particular education or experience.
Certified arborists are required to have several years of full-time, practical work experience. They must also pass a rigorous exam and participate in continuing education to stay certified.
Arborists provide preventative care, much like a doctor. They can identify tree diseases and other health issues to help you avoid more difficult problems down the road. With a proactive approach, you can help your trees thrive and live longer.
When you see the term “arborist,” you know you’re looking at a well-educated and experienced tree professional.
Tree Services in the Greater Puget Sound Area
Tree Harmony Arborist utilizes a certified consulting arborist for tree health evaluation, safety and risk assessments, construction impact analysis, vegetation management plans, and permitting with municipalities. We are one of a select group of arborists who are an approved “Tree Service Provider” with the City of Seattle. This requires professional certification, minimum insurance thresholds for property and liability, city and speciality contractor’s licensing, and a good safety history.
We offer a full range of arborist services to clients in Seattle, on Mercer Island, and in the surrounding area. We are a complete team of professionals with expertise in pruning, difficult removals, tree health, and more.
The Tree Harmony team can help with the following services:
- Tree health evaluation
- Restorative pruning
- Pruning for view, clearance, or sunlight
- Tree removal
- Treatment for tree disease
- Nutritional feeding
- Tree transplants
- New tree selection and installation
- Landscape design
- Stump grinding and root removal
Our company often takes on comprehensive arboriculture projects that involve a number of trees. We can work with your individual needs and recommend the best course of action. We offer our services with integrity and joy.
Contact us today for a tree service consultation.