Trees. We love them as much as you do. And although trees take care of themselves in natural settings, they need our attention and care in urban and suburban environments. Who better to give them that care than an ISA Certified Arborist?
Some of you may recognize this term, but others may be brand new to it, so let’s take some time to understand what an ISA Certified Arborist is, how they can help you take care of your trees, and how to hire one!
What Is an ISA Certified Arborist?
An arborist is an individual who is trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining individual trees. An ISA Certified Arborist gets certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), which is a non-governmental, voluntary process that gives individuals a way to document their base of knowledge.
The ISA is an internal, self-regulating device that operates without a mandate of law. Certification through ISA provides a measurable assessment of an individual’s knowledge and the competence required to ensure proper tree care.
To be certified, an individual must not only pass a comprehensive exam that was developed by the nation’s leading experts on tree care, but they must continue their education to maintain their certification. Continuing education keeps them up-to-date on current trends and research.
Why Hire an ISA Certified Arborist?
When it comes to trees, there are some things you just can’t do by yourself or without the proper training and expertise. ISA Certified Arborists are educated in the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to care for them properly.
This isn’t just about caring for your trees because you love them; it’s about making a worthwhile investment in your property. Substantial financial returns can be seen in higher property values based on curb appeal.
And don’t forget about the money you save on A/C and water bills during the summer because your trees provide great shade and protection to your home and lawn.
It’s also crucial that you understand that pruning or removing trees, especially large trees, can be dangerous. ISA Certified Arborists have been trained and equipped to work safely in trees. They are also knowledgeable about how to keep your trees healthy and treat any disease or infestations.
What Kinds of Services Does an ISA Certified Arborists Provide?
Although pruning is generally defined as trimming or cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, there are a variety of pruning techniques used for a variety of reasons. ISA Certified Arborists understand what type of pruning is necessary to maintain or improve the health, appearance, and safety of trees.
ISA Certified Arborists use pruning techniques to remove:
- Dead, weak, or decayed limbs that pose interfere with utilities or structures
- Branches to maintain proper structure in young trees
- Limbs that obstruct streets or sidewalks
ISA Certified Arborists use pruning techniques to remove:
- Branches to improve tree shape or form
- Diseased or insect-infested limbs
- Branches to increase light penetration and reduce wind resistance within the canopy upon removal (thinning)
- Limbs that are likely to be damaged during storm events
No one wants to have to take down a tree, but some circumstances require it. These instances include a tree that:
- Is dead or dying tree and considered an unacceptable risk
- Is crowding and causing harm to other, more desirable trees
- Causes an obstruction that is impossible to correct through pruning
- Located in an area where new construction
In these instances, calling on an ISA Certified Arborist can be extremely helpful. They can examine the tree and help decide whether it should be removed.
Emergency Tree Care
As we saw after the recent big storm in Dallas, storms can cause massive tree damage. Limbs or entire trees can fall and land on other trees, structures, or cars. Storm-damaged trees are heavy, and they can be dangerous to remove or trim. Bringing in an ISA Certified Arborist can not only help get the job done but can reduce further risk of damage to property.
Choosing the wrong tree to plant in your yard can be detrimental to your landscape and the other trees living in it. ISA Certified Arborists can recommend species that are appropriate for a particular location, which will keep you from having to deal with future problems like limited growing space, insects, diseases, or weak growth. Some ISA Certified Arborists also offer the service of planting the tree for you to give it a great start!
Keeping trees healthy isn’t just about pruning. That’s why many ISA Certified Arborists provide a variety of support services like:
- Plant Health Care Plans
- preventive maintenance to reduce insect, disease, or site problems
- soil modification and fertilization for improved tree health
- adding support to branches with weak attachments using cabling or bracing
- aerating the soil to enhance the tree’s root growth
- installation of lightning protection systems
- treatments to manage specific insect and disease problems
ISA Certified Arborists can even act as consultants and provide legal expert services relating to trees.
How Do I Find and Choose the Right ISA Certified Arborist?
In major metropolitan areas, it isn’t difficult to find someone to take care of your trees. But how do you sort through the riff-raff and find the best ISA Certified Arborist for you? Here are ten tips on how to find the best arborist for your situation.
1. Educate Yourself
Knowing some of the basic principles of tree care will help you better understand what you need as well as make it easier for you to communicate with prospective ISA Certifed Arborists.
If you are looking for more information about tree care, ISA offers online resources that cover the basics of tree care. You could also go to your local garden center, extension agent, or city arborists to ask for more information or to refer you to an ISA Certified Arborist in your area.
See if the ISA Certified Arborist is a member of professional organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA), or the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). Although membership does not prove quality, it does demonstrate a willingness to stay up to date on their field of study.
2. Ask the ISA Certified Arborist or Company for Proof of Insurance
You can even phone the insurance company if you are concerned. You want to make sure that they have personal and property damage coverage as well as workers’ compensation.
Individuals who go door-to-door, offering bargains for performing tree work may not be your best bet. Reputable companies are generally too busy to solicit work in this manner.
3. Reputable ISA Certified Arborists Will Only Perform Industry-Accepted Practices
Removing an excessive amount of live wood, topping a tree, using climbing spikes on a tree that is not being removed, and removing or disfiguring living trees without just cause are improper practices and violate industry standards. If the ISA Certified Arborist you are considering suggests or uses any of these practices, move on.
4. Ask for Required Permits and Licenses.
Often governmental agencies require contractors to apply for permits and a license before they can work. Check their references. Make sure you speak with other individuals or companies that have been provided with services that are similar to what you are requesting.
5. Always Get More Than One Estimate
If you already know and trust the ISA Certified Aborist, this may not be necessary, but generally speaking, getting more than one estimate is worth the investment. Even though it will take more time and you may have to pay for the estimates, do your due diligence.
The low bid may not be the best. For each bid submitted, examine the ISA Certifed arborist’s or company’s credentials and written specifications. Consider the price, work to be done, skill set/level, and professionalism of the company to make a balanced decision. Your trees are worth the investment.
What Should the Estimate Include?
First off, get the estimate in writing. A reputable ISA Certified Arborist will have you sign a contract so that if any questions or problems come up later, you have a legal document to reference. Before you sign the contract, read it carefully. It should contain information about such as:
- When they will begin and complete the work.
- Who is responsible for clean-up.
- The total price or details or what might have to be priced out in addition to the estimate.
- The terms of payment
- An hourly rate for any additional services.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure they answer your questions in writing for future reference and clarity.
We Love Trees, and We’re Here to Help!
Need an ISA Certified Arborist? Look no further! Our team of expert ISA Certified Arborists is happy to walk your property and get you set up with the perfect tree care plan.
Curious about our tree care services? Look through our offerings to get an idea of what we can do for your treescape. Contact our team today to schedule a consultation.