Why hire an arborist?

An arborist is a specialist in the art and science of caring for individual trees. Certified arborists [link to certification page] are trained to understand the needs of trees, and to provide the care and maintenance necessary to enhance a trees health, beauty and structural soundness. Arborists may demonstrate their professionalism and commitment to quality tree care through membership in a number of organizations: the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), or the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA).

Hiring an arborist is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Beautiful, healthy trees are an investment with substantial returns in community and ecological benefits; conversely, poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability, even a hazard. An unqualified person may not have proper insurance, leaving a liability burden to the customer that could run into thousands of dollars.

Tree work performed incorrectly may damage not only to the tree itself, but may be potentially dangerous to the person performing the work. Tree work should be performed only by those trained and equipped to work safely and correctly in trees, to ensure a professionals attention to safety and good results.

Services Provided by Arborists


An arborist can determine the pruning that is necessary to maintain or improve the health, appearance, and safety of trees, and how to best accomplish the work. Pruning may be required to:

  • Train or prune young trees to develop strong structure
  • Thin limbs to increase light penetration and air flow through the canopy
  • Remove damaged branches and limbs
  • Remove limbs that interfere with structures or rub together causing wounds
  • Remove large limbs that may be dead, diseased or weak
  • Create better structure to reduce the potential for storm damage
  • Remove excessive weight at the ends of branches
  • Create better shape in a damaged tree


Arborists may recommend appropriate trees for specific circumstances or locations, and may also assist in planting the trees properly. The wrong tree in the wrong location could lead to future problems as a result of limited growing space, insects, diseases, or poor growth. When transplanting very large trees with the aid of equipment such as a tree spade, it is a good idea to consult an arborist to ensure that the tree is dug properly and given the care it needs to recover from the move.

Health Care

Integrated Plant Health Care is a concept of preventive care and maintenance to maintain a trees sound structure and good health. Good care will help the tree better defend itself against insects, disease and problems associated with site conditions, particularly important in urban settings which are stressful to trees. Arborists prescribe health maintenance measures such as

  • Fertilization
  • Seasonal irrigation
  • Cabling or bracing for added support to branches with weak attachment
  • Corrective pruning
  • Aeration to improve root growth
  • A spray or injection program to control certain insects or diseases
  • A preventive health and safety assessment or evaluation

Emergency Tree Services

Natural events such as storms or earthquakes may cause limbs or entire trees to fall, potentially impacting people, other trees, buildings and structures, or cars. Downed trees are tremendously heavy, which makes them dangerous to remove or trim. An arborist can assist in performing the job in a safe manner, while reducing further risk of damage to people or property.

In addition, extreme care must be taken around trees and limbs that may have become entangled in utility lines during a storm or other event. When in contact with live utility wires, trees carry electricity and are potentially very dangerous. For safetys sake, always call your local power provider if you believe that any part of your trees may be in contact with utility lines.


Tree removal is a last resort; there are, however, circumstances when it is warranted. An arborist can help decide whether a tree should be removed, and how to best accomplish the removal in a manner that is safe to people, property and the community. Arborists have the skills and equipment to safely and efficiently remove trees. Removal may be indicated when a tree is

  • Dead or dying
  • Assessed as irreparably hazardous by a qualified arborist
  • Causes hazardous conditions that are impossible to mitigate by other means
  • Causes crowding or harm to other trees
  • Replaced by a more suitable specimen
  • Located in a construction or development site which does not allow for its safe retention

Other Services

Arborists may provide a variety of other tree care services as well, including

  • Installation of lightning protection systems in some regions
  • Protection plans for existing trees on development and construction sites
  • Stump grinding
  • Hazard tree assessment
  • Appraisal of the value of a tree

Resources for further information: