Working with the Media: A Guide for Volunteer Organizations and Commissions

“When it comes to pruning trees, you get what you pay for,” warns (name of person with title or name of commission). “An honest, fair and experienced arborist may charge a bit more, but in the long run your trees will look better and remain healthier.”

Homeowners should call an arborist if:

  • The tree has dead wood in the structure, or if storm damage, cracks or broken limbs are present.
  • They are planning construction projects and would like to save particular trees.
  • The tree or its roots need to be pruned.

An arborist is a tree specialist trained to work on trees in a proper and safe manner. Most qualified arborists will take out ads in the Yellow Pages, or you can call the county Penn State Extension office and ask for a recommendation.

Hire arborists who are members of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Many arborists are certified by the ISA, which means the arborist has passed a professional skills test and has at least several years of experience.

Beware of doorknockers. Unfamiliar work crews or people who approach a house looking for work should never be hired to work on trees. An advertisement in the Yellow Pages tells you the person has some experience and has been a member of the community. Always get a written estimate for any work you want done.

Ask for proof of insurance. At minimum, tree services should carry liability and workers’ compensation insurance. You can be held responsible if uninsured workers are injured on your property.

Ask for local references. Once a tree professional provides local references, contact the former clients and go inspect the work. Be sure to get bids from two or three arborists.

Have a written contract. Any contract should contain a start and end date, a detailed description of the work to be done, a description of cleanup, including ownership of firewood, whether stump grinding is included, and a total cost estimate, including tax.

Make sure they use correct equipment. Certified arborists never wear climbing spikes to prune trees. They should use ropes, rope harnesses, or a truck equipped with an extendable bucket.

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