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Quick Tips for Selecting a Tree Contractor

A common question I get from readers, especially after writing about trees, is if I can recommend a tree professional. I don’t mind telling people whom Minnetrista uses, but I like to  first mention some important tips that should be considered when choosing a tree contractor. Check them out below!

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  1. Make sure they have insurance and ask for proof of it. I think this goes without saying, but accidents happen.  As the property owner you don’t want to be liable for someone else’s mishap.
  2. Use someone that your neighbors, friends, and family use and like. This won’t guarantee a good experience, but it does go a long way and can also provide first hand examples of previous work performed by the contractor in question.
  3. If the contractor hasn’t been recommended by a third party that you trust, ask for references.     
  4. Look for someone that is a certified arborist or its equivalent. This shows that the contractor stays on top of the latest industry standards  For example, in the past it was a common practice to paint pruning wounds.  It was thought that by doing this, the tree was more protected from potential diseases entering the wound. The research that has been done, and helps shape industry standards, actually shows that the paint slows wound closure and increases the likelihood of disease by holding moisture in the wound. If a contractor doesn’t stay on top of the latest industry standards, they might not be doing what is best for the tree. 
  5. Pay for the work only after the job is complete and you are satisfied. It is not an industry standard for the contractor to ask for payment upfront. 
  6. Make sure they have a knowledge base that fits the work. For example, needing a complicated tree removal done that has the potential to cause significant property damage is much different than needing shrubs trimmed. 
  7. Be sure to discuss or include in the contract, if appropriate, the scope of work that will be performed. In other words, know what you are going to be paying for and be sure to avoid vague language such as “trim them up a bit.”
  8. Get multiple quotes from different contractors to better gauge the proper value of the work and compare apples to apples.

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Avoid hiring a tree trimmer that offers “topping” as their only service. Topping is the practice of cutting branches and trunks of trees, leaving only stubs. It is also failing to reduce the branch back to a lateral that is capable of being the terminal lead. Unfortunately, there are many prime examples in downtown Muncie right now. As the industry has gained more knowledge, this practice has strongly fallen out of favor for reducing the height of trees. It’s unhealthy for the tree and tends to create more problems than it solves.

Just remember that trees should have branches, twigs, flowers, and fruit.  If your contractor wants to remove all of that from  your  tree, it is best for the tree for you to go with someone else.