Why Hire An Arborist?
An arborist is a specialist in the care of individual trees. Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees, and are trained and equipped to provide proper care. Hiring an arborist is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Proper tree care is an investment which can lead to substantial returns. Well-cared-for trees are attractive and can add considerable value to your property. Poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability. Pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous work. Tree work should only be done by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees.

Selecting the Right Arborist for the Job
There are a variety of things to consider when selecting an arborist which include:
  • Membership in professional organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the Kansas Arborist Association (KAA) and the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) demonstrates a willingness on the part of the arborist to stay up-to-date on the latest techniques and information.
  • Check in the phone directory yellow pages for those arborists who advertise as ISA Certified Arborists or display the official logo of the ISA Certified Arborist. Certified arborists are experienced professionals who have passed an extensive examination covering all aspects of tree care.
  • Ask for proof of insurance and then phone the insurance company if you are not satisfied. A reputable arborist will have personal and property damage insurance as well as workers compensation insurance. Many homeowners have had to pay out large amounts of money for damages caused by an uninsured individual claiming to be a tree expert. You could be held responsible for damages and injuries that occur as a result of the job.
  • Some governmental agencies require contractors to apply for permits and/or to apply for a license before they are able to work. Be sure they comply with any local, state, provincial or national law that governs their work.
  • Ask for references to find out where the company has done work similar to the work you are requesting. Don't hesitate to check references or visit other worksites where the company or individual has done tree work. Remember, tree care is a substantial, long-lasting investment; you would not buy a car without a test drive!
  • Be wary of individuals who go door-to-door and offer bargains for performing tree work. Most reputable companies are too occupied to solicit work in this manner. Improper tree care can take many years to correct itself and in some cases never corrects itself. Are you willing to take that risk with your valuable investment?
  • Good arborists will only perform accepted practices. For example, practices such as topping a tree, removing an excessive amount of live wood, using climbing spikes on trees which are not being removed, and removing or disfiguring living trees without just cause, are unnecessary.
  • Don't always accept the low bid. You should examine the credentials and the written specification of the firms who submitted bids and determine the best combination of price, work to be done, skill and professionalism to protect your substantial investment.
What is a Certified Arborist?
An arborist by definition is an individual who is trained in the art and science of planting, caring for and maintaining individual trees. ISA Arborist Certification is a non-governmental, voluntary process by which individuals can document their base of knowledge. It operates without mandate of law and is an internal, self-regulating device administered by the International Society of Arboriculture. Certification provides a measurable assessment of an individual's knowledge and competence required to provide proper tree care.
  • Certification is not a measure of standards of practice. Certification can attest to the tree knowledge of an individual, but cannot guarantee or ensure quality performance.
  • Certified arborists are individuals who have achieved a level of knowledge in the art and science of tree care through at least three years experience and who have passed a comprehensive examination developed by some of the nation's leading experts on tree care.
  • Certified arborists must also continue their education to maintain their certification. Therefore, they should be up-to-date on the latest techniques in arboriculture.

What are the Benefits of Trees?
Most trees and shrubs in cities or communities are planted to provide beauty or shade. These are two excellent reasons for their use. Woody plants also serve many other purposes, and it often is helpful to consider these other functions when selecting a tree or shrub for the landscape. The benefits of trees can be grouped into the following catagories:
  • Social Benefits
  • Communal Benefits. Trees bring natural elements and wildlife habitats into urban surroundings; all of which incerease the quality of life for residents of the community
  • Environmental Benefits. Trees alter the environment in which we live by moderating climate, improving air quality, conserving water, and harboring wildlife.
  • Economic Benefits. Property values of landscapted homes are 5-20% higher than those of non-landscaped homes.
Tree Hazard Checklist?
Consider these questions:
  • Are there large dead branches in the tree?
  • Are there detached branches hanging in the tree?
  • Does the tree have cavities or rotten wood along the trunk or in major branches?
  • Are mushrooms present at the base of the tree?
  • Are there cracks or splits in the trunk or where branches are attached?
  • Have any branches fallen from the tree?
  • Has the trunk developed a strong lean?
  • Have the roots been broken off, injured, or damaged by lowering the soil level, installing pavement, repairing sidewalks, or digging trenches?
  • Has the site recently been changed by construction, raising the soil level, or installing lawns?
  • Has the tree been topped or otherwise heavily pruned?
  • Dead or Dying tree?
Why Topping Hurts Trees
Topping is perhaps the most harmful tree pruning practice known. Topping is the indiscriminate cutting of tree branches to stubs or lateral branches that are not large enough to assume the terminal role. The most common reason given for topping is to reduce the size of a tree. Home owners often feel that their trees have become too large for their property. In fact, topping will make a tree more hazardous in the long term.
  • Topping stresses trees
  • Topping causes decay
  • Topping creates hazards
  • Topping makes trees ugly