Following the massive snow storms in recent years, tree damage was extensive. As a result, many homeowners have trees that need care. In most cases, hiring an arborist is the best approach. A professional arborist knows how to remove and repair severely damaged trees. Perhaps the best approach is one that utilizes a checklist format, so that comparison of several firms can be made. These are the factors for your checklist:
- Certification. This is very important. Ask the firm if they employ workers that have been certified by the Nebraska Arborists Association or the International Society of Arboriculture. Certification is not required by the city or the State of Nebraska, but is a good measure of competence.
- References. Ask the potential company for addresses of houses with trees that were damaged similarly to yours. Drive by the house and look at the finished work. If possible, chat with clients of the company.
- Insurance. Ask the company for a certificate of insurance. Check the policy to make sure that it is in force currently. Workers compensation, and proof of liability for personal and property damage is important. If the worker makes a mistake and drops a limb through the roof and into your living room, you need protection.
- Claims and Practices. Beware of a tree service that advertises “tree topping” as one of its services. These is not an approved practice, rather is a harmful one. Avoid a tree service whose workers use tree spikes to climb a tree. Climbing spikes open unnecessary wounds and are only acceptable when removing a tree. As well, be cautious of suggestions to “elevate” a tree or “make it look like an umbrella”. These are code words for simply cutting off the lower limbs of at tree, which can cause major structural problems.
- Expense. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Good tree work is not inexpensive. A professional service must pay workers a reasonable wage, purchase good equipment, attend training, purchase insurance, etc. Beware of an estimate that falls well below the average.