Hire certified professionals to care for your trees
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 email@example.com . His web site is www.treeexperts.mb.ca
Secured arborist removing a broken branch in a safe manner.