Tree Service FAQs

  • Introduction

    The health of the trees on your property is more important than you might think. They provide curb appeal to your home; their roots prevent erosion on your property, and overall, having healthy trees guarantees that your family can enjoy them for life.

    Trimming, pruning, removing pests and diseases, and other tree care services are critical to protecting the trees around your home. When you need tree care, should you hire a tree service company or an arborist? The answer depends on what you're looking for. If you need a basic service such as seasonal trimming, a tree service without an arborist on staff can handle it, but for anything that needs an expert touch, finding a certified arborist is key.
  • Can a landscaper perform tree services?

    Some landscapers may offer this service, but most won’t. Tree trimming and other large lawn services require specific credentials, special equipment, and the correct insurance to cover risks to the workers. Your safest option is to hire a fully licensed, certified tree service professional.

  • How often should trees be trimmed?

    Different trees have different pruning schedules. Young trees need to be shaped more frequently than mature trees. Plan on having a full professional pruning done every two years on younger trees. Mature trees should be trimmed every three to five years. Fruit-bearing trees need to be cut back annually in order to encourage the best production of fruit, while some evergreens can go as many as seven years before needing to be trimmed.

  • What do tree service companies do?

    Tree service companies are trained to care for trees. They handle anything from trimming trees to removing dead limbs, cutting them down and removal, clearing brush, and other services that serve the health of the trees and the needs of their customers.

  • How long does a stump removal take?

    The time varies depending on the size and depth of the stump. Most stumps can be completely removed in 30 minutes to two hours.

  • What is an arborist?

    An arborist is a tree expert with special training and education in the care and nutrition of trees and other woody plants. Unlike tree service companies, arborists can do things like perform surgery to remove diseased parts of trees and advise on the right nutrient mix in a tree's soil.

  • Is stump grinding necessary after a tree removal?

    It isn’t necessary to have a stump ground down. However, if you don’t have this service done, you’ll be left with a stump in your yard, as a tree can’t be cut down flush with the level of the grass. Stump grinders are heavy-duty machinery — don’t attempt it yourself. Call a tree service expert instead if you have stumps in your yard.

  • What is a certified arborist?

    A certified arborist has met the qualifications for certification from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). To become ISA certified, an arborist has to have over three years in the field and pass an exam to demonstrate their expertise in tree care and nutrition.

  • When do I need an arborist?

    When a tree care job needs to take the health of the tree into account, a certified arborist is best suited to handle it. Generally, an arborist will charge more for their services than a standard tree service company because of their experience and credentials.

  • Do tree services work weekends?

    Many tree service companies work weekends or after regular work hours, depending on how much daylight will be left for them to safely work. Tree service pros realize that many people work outside the home and have limited hours in which to have work done.

  • Do tree service jobs require a deposit?

    This happens rarely, if ever. There are generally no reasons for tree services to require money upfront. If the company asks for a deposit before beginning the job, hire a different company.

  • Do you need an arborist to trim a tree?

    If there is suspected dead or diseased wood on a tree or it needs seasonal pruning, it's better for an arborist to handle the job. If the trimming is superficial — for example, to keep smaller branches from obstructing nearby buildings — an experienced tree service can do the job reliably.

  • Do tree service professionals plant trees?

    Most tree service companies only work on trees or tree stumps that are already in your yard. Some companies may offer tree planting as well, but the most likely scenario is that you’ll need to call a specialized tree planting service.

  • What should I ask a tree removal service?

    There are a few questions you need to ask a tree removal service before agreeing to hire them for a job.

    • What are their credentials? Do they have an ISA Certified arborist on staff?
    • Can they provide documentation of their licenses and insurance?
    • Will they provide a written estimate after an inspection?
    • How long will the project take?
    • Will they take safety precautions in accordance with OSHA while they're working?

  • Should neighbors be advised about the project?

    Most professional tree services follow best safety practices. If branches and other debris will be falling, the company will rope off the area so no one else can come in. However, if your home is very close to your neighbor’s house, you may want to let them know the day before the job that they want to be extra careful walking in front of or around your home.

  • What insurance should a tree service have?

    Before hiring a tree service to do a job on their property, verify that the company has insurance for general liability, including accidental damage to your home or other structures on your property, as well as worker's compensation insurance for potential injuries to employees while on the job.

  • Does tree service work require a permit?

    Your city may require permits for certain tree services. They may also prohibit certain projects. For example, your city may not allow trees designated “heritage trees” to be cut down. Call your city or county for more information.

  • How do I to verify that tree service has insurance?

    The simplest way to verify that a tree service company is bonded and/or insured is to request a copy of a certificate of proof before hiring them. If they can't produce proof of insurance, find a service that can.

  • How much does an arborist consultation cost?

    The cost of an arborist consultation depends on the level of examination needed. A simple inspection can cost around $100 while a full health check and analysis of tree condition, soil nutrition, and other factors can cost around $500 or more.

  • Is it customary to tip tree service employees?

    It is not required to tip your tree service professional, and the tree service company probably won’t expect it. However, if you feel the tree service has gone out of their way to make your experience a good one, you may decide to tip each worker, or to give one tip when paying your bill. If you do decide to tip, cash is best.

  • How much is a tree removal service?

    The cost of tree removal varies based on the size of the tree, the difficulty of the project, and other factors such as whether added removal and stump grinding are part of the job. The average cost of tree removal is around $750, with larger jobs reaching the thousands.

  • How much is a tree trimming service?

    The cost of a tree trimming job depends on the size of the tree. The average cost for trimming a medium-sized tree is around $175, a small tree can cost as little as $50, and a large tree can cost over $1,000, depending on the rates of the tree service.

  • What do tree services do with wood?

    Some tree service process the wood they remove from peoples' properties themselves, grinding them and selling wood chips to their customers. Other companies separate the wood by grade and sell them to lumber mills to be processed and sold as lumber for building.

  • I’ve heard about a Level 5 Arborist; what is that?

    A Level 5 Arborist is a designation in the Australian tree care industry describing an arborist who has reached the highest level of accreditation in their field. It's not a recognized title for an arborist outside of Australia, even when ISA-certified arborists in another country reach an equivalent level.

  • How do I become an arborist?

    In order to become an arborist, a person must receive an accredited degree in arboriculture, horticulture, landscape architecture, or forestry. Technically, an arborist without ISA certification can practice, but many jobs in the field go to certified practitioners.

  • How do I become a certified arborist?

    To receive the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certification, an arborist must have experience and pass a certification test. The experience needed depends on relevant education. For example, a person with an associate's degree needs only two years of additional experience, and with a bachelor's degree, it's one additional year.

  • Do tree services need to be licensed?

    In most regions, tree services are not required to be licensed, but this varies from state to state. Many tree service companies decide to seek licensing — or hire licensed practitioners — because it helps their reputation with prospective customers.

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