Selecting an Arborist or Tree Care Company

In Virginia tree and lawn care companies do not need to be licensed to do business with you. Therefore, having knowledge of what you need to know will help get the job done right.  Below are some point to consider:

Why Hire a Certified Arborist

  • Membership in professional organizations, International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the Tree Care Industry Association, or the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA), demonstrates a willingness on the part of the arborist to stay up-to date on the latest techniques and information.
  • Certified arborists are experienced professionals who have passed an extensive examination covering all aspects of tree care.
  • Check for arborists who advertise as ISA Certified Arborists or display the official logo of the ISA Certified Arborist.

Protect Yourself

  • Good arborists will only perform accepted practices. Examples of unnecessary practices are:
    • topping a tree.
    • removing an excessive amount of live wood.
    • using climbing spikes on trees that are not being removed.
    • removing or disfiguring living trees without just cause.
  • Ask for proof of insurance and then phone the insurance company if you are not satisfied.
  • Some government 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 work sites where the company or individual has done tree work.
  • Unless you know and are comfortable with the arborist, get more than one estimate.
  • 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 the damage, and in some cases, it can never be corrected.
  • Get it in writing. Most reputable arborists will have their clients sign a contract. Be sure to read the contract carefully.
  • Find out who is responsible for disposing of the entire tree, including limbs and debris. Will the stump be removed? You may be able to save money by recycling the wood from your tree.
  • Don't always accept the lowest bid.

For additional information visit the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services page on  Tree Care and Tree Removal .

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