More Things Your Arborist Won’t Tell You

Find out what to look for in a reliable tree service.

By Michelle Crouch
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    1) Don’t just ask if I have liability insurance and workers’ comp, ask to see a copy of the certificate and perhaps even call the company. Then if the arborist falls the wrong way, you’ll remain lawsuit free.

    Plus: 13 Things Your Arborist Won't Tell You

    2) If I call you and say, “Mrs. Jones, I’m really sorry, but can we reschedule? We’ve had an emergency, and we’re taking a tree off a roof,” that may be true. Or I might have just snagged a job for that day that pays a lot more.

    3) Yes, you do need to water your trees. People think they have these giant root systems that go way down to the water table, but most roots are in the top 12 to 18 inches of soil. Trees need about an inch of water a week during dry periods.

    4) One thing that gets my goat is when people say, “I’m calling everyone in the book to get the cheapest price.” I usually jack the price up when I hear that.

    5) Your arborist wants to sell you fertilizer without doing soil testing first? Bad sign.

    6) A lot of you hire so-called tree experts who are really just a guy with a chainsaw and a pickup truck. You think you got a great deal, but the work is atrocious and you won’t even realize it until the tree has already started to decay.

    7) I’ve been bitten by plenty of “happy and friendly” dogs. So if I ask you to leave your dog inside, please respect that.

    8) If I come for an appointment between April and October, I probably don’t have time to go over to your neighbor’s or daughter’s house and talk to them too. If you have a friend who needs my advice, mention it when you’re scheduling me.

    9) If the branches of your tree are dying back from the tips, especially at the top, your tree is probably already a goner. Another bad sign: The tree goes straight down into the ground like a telephone pole, instead of flaring out at the bottom.

    10) Real arborists never talk about “feeding” your trees. Trees make their own food, arborists manage a tree’s soil.

    Plus: 13 Things Your Arborist Won't Tell You

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    Your Comments

    • Bjfisher5227

      This advice was most timely for my husband and me as we recently purchased a home that has 2 dozen trees that need the attention of an arborist.  Thanks for this section of Readers Digest magazine.