Arboriculture is the science of caring for trees, shrubs and other woody plants in landscape settings; whether that is in an urban or rural area. An Arborist is a specialist who is trained in arboriculture, with the knowledge and equipment to carry out the appropriate work required. There are a number of things to consider when selecting a firm to carry out tree work for you, so it's worth spending time to choose the right one; as well cared for trees and hedges are attractive, enhance the look of your garden and can add considerable value to your property.
Selecting the right firm for the job
Are they qualified? What arboricultural qualifications do they have? If their representative has a business card, his/her qualifications should be on it. Ask them what they are, if they aren't on the card ask them if they have any qualifications at all. You wouldn't use a firm of builders, plumbers, electricians or other trades who weren't qualified - why is a tree firm any different?
Are they aware of British Standard BS 3998 2010 Tree Work - Recommendations? Do they work to this as a minimum standard? Are they aware of British Standard BS 5837 (2012) Trees in Relation to Design, Demolition and Construction?
Do they have National Proficiency Training Council (NPTC) photocards or certificates, to show they are legally allowed to use chainsaws on the ground or in the tree? Ask them to show them to you.
Ask to see proof of their insurance and phone their insurer if you are still uncertain; a good firm will have Public Liability Insurance up to at least £5,000,000. You could be held responsible for damage and/or injury resulting from work carried out on your property by an uninsured firm.
Ask for references from customers for whom the firm has done similar work, to that which you want them to undertake for you. Visit previous work sites and speak to their customers and see their standard of work for yourself.
Obtain more than one quote for the work, though don't always accept the lowest; examine the detail and specification of works they have provided.
A properly prepared, written quote that states the work you have agreed to and at what price; is much better than a verbal one given at the site visit or over the phone later on.
Don't assume a landscaping firm which advertises that it also does tree work; will be able to do the same standard of work to your trees as it did to your garden.
Be suspicious of people offering advice on your trees door-to-door and bargain price tree work to go with it, reputable firms don't act in this way. Also be wary of firms advertised via fliers pushed through your letterbox, saying that they will be "in your area soon". Often these only have a mobile phone number and no address, you will have no way of tracking them down if something goes wrong.
Reputable tree firms and the arborists whom they employ, will only carry out work which is good practice. For example: an arborist would never use spikes to climb a tree which wasn't being removed, as this is injurious to the tree. It can create entry points for pathogens such as fungi, bacteria, insects and viruses and is highly disfiguring; on smooth barked trees particularly. 'Topping' and 'Lopping' trees are bad practice and shouldn't be carried out; removing an excessive amount of the live crown of a tree, by over thinning or excessive crown lifting, is also poor pruning.
Pruning and removing trees, particularly large trees, can be dangerous work; it has the potential to be extremely costly and have tragic consequences if carried out improperly. Tree work should only be done by those trained and equipped to work safely in trees.
You are the one who will have to live with a tree left unsightly, unsafe or unhealthy; after the firm which carried out the work has gone.
I have many satisfied clients throughout the area, for whom I’ve worked over many years; covering a wide range of tree and hedge trimming work.
I'm always happy to give advice on tree care and maintenance. For a free quotation, you can contact me at
14 Carlton Approach, Wetherby, LS22 6XH | Telephone 01937 584327 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org