Questions to Ask Your Tree Care Company

1. Do they have insurance?

A. General liability to protect your property if it’s damaged.

  • There are many hazards in tree work, do not hire someone without the proper protection. You can ask for a certificate of insurance.

B. Worker’s compensation to protect their employees.

  • Worker’s compensation is very expensive for tree care companies and Texas is the only state that doesn’t require it to be carried. If one of their workers is injured on your property, you don’t want the employee coming after you because the accident happened on your property.
  • It’s also just good form to protect your employees.

2. Education & Training

A. Is the crew trained and knowledgeable on how to work on your trees?

B. Is just the crew leader trained or is everybody trained?

C. Are there any certified arborists on the crew?

D. Is anyone on the crew CPR certified or trained in rescue efforts?

E. Will you be able to communicate with all crew members?

  • Many crews are Hispanic only, which is fine unless none of them can speak any English. Will you be able to make changes to your job by asking the crew members?

F. Do they have a certified arborist on staff at all?

  • There are two main certifications for tree care. “Certified Arborist” and “Master Certified Arborist” from ISA. The “certified arborist certification” is not extremely difficult to get and if you have anybody working on your trees, the company you choose should at least have one on staff because it demonstrates a level of commitment and shows that they care

G. The point of all these questions is that the sales arborist might be very knowledgeable about trees, but he won’t necessarily be the one to work on them. If the crews aren’t properly trained, then you are still getting poor quality work on your trees

3. Proper Pruning

A. Will they lion’s tail your tree?

  • Lion’s tailing is when they strip all the lower green off and leave the green at the tips of the branches. This will make your tree structurally unstable as all the weight is at the end of the branch, and the tree will respond by putting more weight on the end of the branch.

B. Does the crew understand how your tree will respond to the pruning you want done?

  • Trees are living things and respond to pruning in certain ways. Pruning the proper way allows us to satisfy human requirements such as roof clearance or sunlight to the turf, while keeping the tree structurally stable, healthy, and looking as natural as possible.

C. Do they understand how to prune a tree for structural stability?

  • Pruning for structure keeps large branches from breaking and falling unexpectedly.
Scott Geer

Scott Geer

Scott Geer has a master's degree in forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University and is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist.® He is also a graduate of the American Society of Consulting Arborists Academy.