Hire cer­ti­fied pro­fes­sion­als to care for your trees

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - HOMES - MICHAEL ALLEN

EVERY few years I write a Tree Care col­umn about hir­ing ar­borists to do your tree work. This spring I have had a num­ber of in­quiries about get­ting in touch with an ar­borist to do home and gar­den tree work. The Man­i­toba gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions have strict stan­dards for the train­ing of ar­borists. Gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions re­quire all com­mer­cial, mu­nic­i­pal and gov­ern­ment ar­borists be li­censed. In or­der to ob­tain that li­cence, ar­borists must have passed a gov­ern­ment ap­proved train­ing pro­gram. In ad­di­tion, each ar­borist must carry a min­i­mum $2 mil­lion gen­eral-busi­ness li­a­bil­ity in­sur­ance.

Get three quotes

HOME­OWN­ERS of­ten rely on ar­borist re­fer­rals from their friends or fam­ily. You can also look up a tree-ser­vice com­pany in the Yel­low Pages or on­line. Ob­tain at least three quo­ta­tions from com­pa­nies if you are un­cer­tain which one to choose. From my ex­pe­ri­ence talk­ing with prop­erty own­ers, very few talk to more than one ar­borist. There seems to be a re­luc­tance to find the best bid from more than one com­pany. Be sure to ver­ify that the com­pa­nies from which you are get­ting quotes have a cur­rent valid li­cence, which is lo­cated on the ar­borist’s Man­i­toba Ar­borist Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Card. It is your right to ask to see that li­cence. It should show the li­cence ex­piry date be­side the ar­borist’s li­cence num­ber. BE­FORE you call an ar­borist, make a de­tailed list of all the work you want done. Be as spe­cific as you can in your in­struc­tions. This same list must be shown to each of the ar­borists from whom you are ob­tain­ing quo­ta­tions. If a tree has to be re­moved be sure it is clearly marked on the trunk with coloured paint or se­cured flag­ging tape. Men­tion this in your in­struc­tions for work to be done.

Here is a com­mon sce­nario: you are look­ing for prun­ing work for a tree on your con­tract­ing-out list; how­ever, an ar­borist says the tree should be re­moved. Be sure to ask all of the other ar­borists if they be­lieve that tree needs to be re­moved be­fore you agree to en­ter into the con­tract. If in doubt con­tact me. Sound, healthy trees are of­ten re­moved be­cause peo­ple are re­luc­tant to ques­tion the in­tegrity or mo­tives of an ar­borist, or a non-li­censed tree cut­ter. There are a num­ber of peo­ple op­er­at­ing in south­ern Man­i­toba as com­mer­cial busi­nesses that do not have an ap­proved and valid gov­ern­ment li­cence and in­sur­ance. In my opin­ion, they are not ar­borists.

Hire cer­ti­fied pes­ti­cide ap­pli­ca­tors

AP­PLI­CA­TORS who spray trees and shrubs for dis­eases and pests must have a valid Man­i­toba Pes­ti­cide Ap­pli­ca­tor li­cence.

Hire cer­ti­fied ar­borists

MOST tree-ser­vice firms do good prun­ing and re­moval work. Some are li­censed to spray and fer­til­ize trees. Not all com­pa­nies have staff trained in un­der­stand­ing spe­cific plant health care treat­ments re­lated to cer­tain pests and dis­eases. I would start with those li­censed firms that ad­ver­tise their pro­fes­sional qual­i­fi­ca­tions stat­ing they have one or more cer­ti­fied In­ter­na­tional So­ci­ety of Ar­bori­cul­ture (I.S.A.) ar­borists on staff. The I.S.A. is a pro­fes­sional group that ad­vo­cates the high­est stan­dards of train­ing and state-ofthe-art tree care for the in­ter­na­tional tree-ser­vice com­mu­nity.

There is no le­gal re­quire­ment for an ar­borist to be a mem­ber of I.S.A. The I.S.A. re­quires mem­ber ar­borists to up­grade their ed­u­ca­tion in tree care an­nu­ally in or­der to keep their cer­ti­fied ar­borist des­ig­na­tion. If you do not have ref­er­ences for any one par­tic­u­lar tree-ser­vice com­pany you could talk to each of the com­pa­nies dis­play­ing their cer­ti­fied I.S.A. ar­borist des­ig­na­tion in their ad about your prob­lem. Most ad­ver­tise on­line.

A com­pany may be a mem­ber of the I.S.A., but it might not em­ploy any cer­ti­fied I.S.A. ar­borists. Be sure you are deal­ing with cer­ti­fied I.S.A. ar­borists when some­one comes out to in­spect your trees and quote on the work you want done.

If you are un­cer­tain about the pro­fes­sional rep­u­ta­tion of a com­pany, you can also call the Bet­ter Busi­ness Bureau. If you have any con­cerns about the process of hir­ing ar­borists you can al­ways get in touch with me. Michael Allen is a con­sult­ing ur­ban forester and cer­ti­fied I.S.A. ar­borist and owner of Vibur­num Tree Ex­perts who has been in the tree busi­ness for over 45 years. He makes house and gar­den vis­its to as­sess tree and shrub prob­lems. He can be con­tacted by call­ing 831-6503 or by e-mail at vibur­numtrees@shaw.ca . His web site is www.tree­ex­perts.mb.ca

MICHAEL ALLEN / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS

Se­cured ar­borist re­mov­ing a bro­ken branch in a safe man­ner.

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