The Importance of Trees and Tree Care
Trees provide a multitude of often overlooked benefits to the citizens of Connecticut. Our forests and woodlands are valuable natural resources which produce oxygen, filter air pollution, hold soil from eroding, give food and cover to wildlife, and furnish fuel to heat many of our homes. In more suburban and urban situations, trees can provide the same benefits and, if properly located, can significantly reduce the cost of heating and cooling our buildings. In addition, some studies have found that well-landscaped yards with mature, healthy trees can contribute as much as 10 to 50 per cent to a home's real estate value.
Although fairly self-sufficient, trees occasionally become diseased, grow old and decay, or experience damage due to storms or other types of environmental impacts. Sometimes they become too large or need to be removed for other reasons. When a tree is in trouble, an arborist is the person to call for advice and tree care services.
What Does an Arborist Do?
Arborists are tree care professionals who can help with the selection, maintenance, care and removal of trees and shrubs in residential, commercial and public landscapes. They are trained in all aspects of woody plant health and care, including diagnosis and treatment of diseases, insect infestations and environmental problems. They can safely climb up into tall trees to prune limbs, and will cut, chip and remove all of the brush. They can recommend watering, fertilizing, pesticide applications and other cultural programs to help maintain the long-term health and beauty of landscapes. Arborists are licensed by the State of Connecticut, and are required to stay up-to-date with the rapid advances of tree biology, care and treatment.
Finding an Arborist
During the initial visit, an arborist should walk around the property and discuss your needs and the services he or she can provide. The arborist will be able to answer most of your questions, but may not have all of the answers immediately. Tree health is a complicated field of study, and no one knows it all. A good arborist will collect samples, consult other experts and references when warranted, and base recommendations on the proper diagnostic procedure.
License. The initial visit is also a good time to ask about the arborist's credentials. In the State of Connecticut only licensed arborists may advertise, solicit or contract to prune, cable, fertilize or spray trees on a commercial basis. Ask about the arborist's license.
Insurance Connecticut law also requires all companies with employees to have workman's compensation insurance. Arborists should also have general liability insurance. You can request a copy of their certificate of insurance as proof of coverage.
Professional Affiliations. Ask the arborist about membership in any professional organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture or the Connecticut Tree Protective Association. In addition to providing the opportunity for continuing education, membership in these organizations is an indication of a personal commitment to the science and art of tree care.
References. Ask for a list of people or companies the arborist has worked for in the past. Check with at least a few of these before committing to services.
A Written Proposal. At the close of the visit the arborist should offer to submit a written proposal including:
- An exact description of the work to be performed on each tree
- Pesticide label information, if pesticides are to be used
- Clean-up specifications – including disposition of wood, brush, chips, etc
- A price, including tax
- The date, or range of dates, during which the work will be completed
- The business's name, address and phone number, and the arborist's name and signature
This article was developed and written by the Connecticut Urban Forest Council and the Connecticut Tree Protective Association. Funding was provided through a grant from the Connecticut Urban Forest Council in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Forestry and the USDA Forest Service, State and Private Forestry.