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Hiring an arborist or other professional tree service is something that deserves careful consideration. A qualified arborist has additional training that allows them to do tree work properly and safely, whereas an unqualified person can actually end up causing damage to a tree. Unqualified persons may also lack proper insurance, which could leave customers with a liability burden that could run into the thousands of dollars. When looking for a qualified arborist, take the following points into consideration before hiring or contracting an arborist/tree service.

  1. Lincoln requires that arborists be licensed in order to do tree work within city limits. Call or email Forestry to receive the most current arborist information to find out who is licensed and insured in your area.
  2. Check your telephone directory’s yellow pages under “Tree Service” for a listing of those businesses that do tree work in your area. While anyone can list themselves in the phone book, a listing at least indicates some degree of permanence. Be cautious of any arborist that advertises “topping” as a service. “Topping” is not an approved tree maintenance practice under normal conditions and will seriously damage the tree.
  3. When you call a business, ask if their arborist is certified. The International Society of Arboriculture maintains a list of ISA Certified Arborists throughout the entire country, which you can use to search by city or zip code. The Nebraska Arborists Association also maintains a list of Nebraska state certified arborists. Certification is not required by law, but it does indicate that the arborist has a high degree of knowledge.
  4. If the arborist you are considering is not certified, determine if he/she is a member of any professional organizations, such as the Nebraska Arborists Association, the International Society of Arboriculture, or the National Arborists Association. Membership in these and other professional organizations does not guarantee quality, but does indicate a commitment to their profession.
  5. Ask for certificates of insurance, including proof of liability for personal and property damage and worker’s compensation. Then, contact the insurance company to make sure the policy is current. Under some circumstances, you can be held financially responsible if an uninsured worker is hurt on your property or if the worker damages a neighbor’s property.
  6. Ask for local references. Take a look at some of the work, and if possible, talk with former clients. Experience, education, and a good reputation are signs of a good arborist.
  7. Don’t rush into a decision just because you are promised a discount if you sign an agreement now. Be sure you understand what work is to be done, and for what amount of money. It is not generally a good idea to pay in full until the work is completed.
  8. Most reputable tree care companies have all the work they can handle without going door to door. People who aren’t competent arborists may solicit tree work at your door by pointing out a condition that needs “immediate attention” or the “tree will die.” These kinds of people are most active after storm disasters. If a tree is that close to death, there is probably nothing that you or anyone else can do about it, so this is just a scare tactic to try and get your business.
  9. If possible, get more than one estimate. Good tree work will not be inexpensive by any means, but homeowners should be wary of estimates that fall well below the average. There may be hidden costs, or the arborist may not be fully insured or trained. A good arborist must carry several kinds of insurance as well as pay for expensive and specialized equipment.
  10. A conscientious arborist will not use climbing spikes except when removing a tree. Climbing spikes open unnecessary wounds that could lead to decay.
  11. A good pruning job is often one that cannot be noticed after the work has been done.

Here at Capital Arborist, our staff is composed of professional and licensed tree workers who are committed to providing you with top-notch, reliable tree services. Contact us anytime for more information, or to set up your free consultation.