Why and How to Hire an Arborist

Why and How to Hire an Arborist

What does an arborist do? They can protect your existing trees, help you trim and shape for future growth, and guide you in choosing the best trees for the future. For all these reasons, today we’ll discuss why and how to hire an arborist.

Why Should You Hire an Arborist in 2018?

Get A Break From The Summer Sun

Arborist working

A healthy shade canopy can keep your home comfortably cool in summer and allow the sun to warm your home in the winter.

Additionally, maintaining a working knowledge of the deciduous trees on your lot can help when dealing with leaves; many leaves can be chopped for mulch and used to improve soil health, but some tree leaves should be discarded rather than used to amend the soil. 

Talk to a tree doctor to determine how to trim and shape your existing trees, and to help determine which trees to plant in the future.

Avoid The Cold Winter Winds And Snow Hazards

Keeping your windbreak strong and healthy can protect your home not only from freezing winter blasts but also shield your home from large snowdrifts and the accompanying soil moisture left when the snow melts. Each geographic region is different, and weather patterns are certainly shifting. Anyone who owns a large lot or is intent on building a tree canopy or winter weather break needs information from a qualified tree expert.

Fire Concerns

As weather patterns across the globe change, many regions of North America will suffer a greater risk of fire. A professional with the necessary arborist skills can help you place your new trees correctly, address any current trees that may be putting your house at risk, and help you make the best planting decisions for the future.

Arborist at work

Tree disease and damage caused by pests also contribute heavily to mass tree die-off and fire risk. Sadly, many traditional tree planting plans in the past have included mass plantings of one sort of tree in a neighborhood. Unfortunately, this monochromatic planting style has often led to an easy smorgasbord for pests, tree viruses, and fungi.

By working with a professional and planting a variety of trees for shade, spring flowers, and fall color, you can enjoy a beautiful yard with plenty of variety without laying out an easy path for pests to destroy all of your trees.

Flood Tolerance

Recent events in the news have reminded homeowners that heavy and sudden rainfall may put trees and shrubs in your yard at risk of flooding. To keep your yard looking great, a professional with a detailed knowledge of your flooding risk and a verifiable arborist certification is a great contact to have.

Trees killed by flooding will need to be safely removed, and shade trees are a great way to build curb appeal and keep those cooling bills down. Find a certified arborist with a good record in your area and make the right investment in your property.

How To Hire an Arborist

Where Do Arborists Work?

Out on a limb

Arborists are generally employed by tree trimming agencies.

The training to become an arborist is a voluntary process; however, once someone reaches arborist status, there are certifications and qualifications that an arborist must maintain to keep that certification.

You may also find an arborist at a greenhouse or plant nursery. This is generally an ideal situation; not only can you get great guidance on your existing trees, but you can develop a plan for planting trees in the future that will thrive in your current conditions and keep your yard well-shaded, protected from strong winds, and beautiful.

Contact Local Government Agencies

Your local county extension office or state agricultural office can often help you make the best decision regarding your trees and getting professional help. Arborists can perform several services, including:

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    Tree trimming
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    Tree removal
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    Emergency trimming or damage cleanup
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    Planting assistance

If hiring an arborist for a full assessment of the best tree choices for your yard simply isn't an option, be aware that you can probably get free advice from your local government experts on the best trees for your area. Some county extension offices also offer great options for getting small, bare-root trees to use to start a windbreak or hedgerow. Be sure to ask!

Work Local

Hiring an arborist is a bit like hiring a contractor; if you need help patching the plaster in your 100-year-old house, you probably don't want to hire a sheetrock expert. You need a plastering professional.

If your home is located in the Midwest and you want to save your American Elm trees, you need an arborist with expertise on midwestern tree risks. A qualified arborist can give you an honest assessment of the future timeline for your existing trees and how you can keep them healthy.

When trimming an existing tree, it's critically important to leave the tree healthy. If you're trying to remove a dead or diseased limb, be aware that poor trimming techniques can actually put your tree at risk for more damage later. Here is where the skill of an arborist may cost you more at the beginning but save you a lot of heartache and cash in the future.

Get A Real Diagnosis

If you're a fan of doing things yourself, it can be tempting to look upon a dead tree limb as a great excuse to go buy yourself a chainsaw and a new ladder. However, unless you know what killed the branch, you may be setting yourself up to actually kill the tree you're trying to save. A tree diagnosis is critical before anyone starts cutting, and a certified arborist can properly determine what's going on with your tree. You may also be putting yourself at risk; tree branches can be very heavy and they don't always fall where you intend!

Safety First, Last and Always!

A certified arborist will be able to:

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    Assess the cause of branch die-off or leaf drop
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    Determine the best method for cutting off any limbs or trimming the overall shape of the tree
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    Safely get up into the tree, trim what needs removed and leave your tree with enough greenery that it can come back strong
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    Help you keep the tree healthy in the future
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    Prove that their business has enough insurance to not put your homeowner's insurance at risk.

Tree trimming can be extremely dangerous. In addition to the risk of heavy branches falling in the wrong spot, there's the risk of tree branches splitting and tearing in the flesh or living tissue of the tree, putting it at risk of disease.

Additionally, climbing up into trees can be very dangerous; even the most experienced climbers can fall, and climbing with a saw in your hands adds to the risk.

This is a risk that you, as a homeowner hiring a professional, should not have to bear. Hiring a certified arborist means that they are well-trained in all safety gear, have achieved all certification necessary to diagnose the issue and repair, treat or trim your tree, and can work with you to safely shape and trim the tree in the future.


Trees are a terrific addition to your landscape. They can offer you shade, shield you from cold winter winds and even provide you with fruit. However, playing planting roulette with new trees can get costly. Additionally, it's extremely disappointing to know that a new tree died because you planted it at the wrong time or in the wrong spot.

Once you're ready for tree help, consider:

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    Are you looking for shade, spring flowers or fall foliage?
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    How much raking are you willing to do?
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    Do you need to sod your yard, or is the grass established?
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    Is your soil acid or basic?
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    What's your average rainfall?

Tree arborist prices may seem excessive, but if you get to enjoy the right tree in the right spot, professional guidance can save you a lot of money in the future.

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