Tree Pruning Options: Do It Yourself or Hire Someone

Tree Pruning Options: Do It Yourself or Hire Someone

Why pruning trees yourself may not always be best

As spring draws closer, many Tampa Bay area homeowners will finally decide that it’s time to get their trees pruned. If you are someone that falls into this category, but you’ve had little or no experience with tree care, here are four pruning options to consider.

Option #1- Do It Yourself

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year there are approximately 40,000 chainsaw related accidents that require emergency medical attention. Now picture yourself on the top rung of a ladder with a borrowed chainsaw, trying to reach a distant branch. Sound like a good idea to you? Although you may be able to do some light, “cosmetic” pruning on your own, the truth is you likely don’t have the knowledge, the skill or the equipment to safely prune your own trees.

Option #2 – Hire Your Landscape Company

Some landscaping companies supplement their income by doing tree trimming on the side. But buyers beware. Although they have more experience than you do, they usually lack the knowledge required to provide long-term care for your trees. But more importantly, they do not have adequate insurance coverage. Even if they say they carry workmen’s compensation, this coverage applies only to landscaping work. So if your “lawn guy” is seriously injured trimming your trees, his workmen’s compensation claim may well be rejected, because he is covered to do lawn work and not tree trimming. With nowhere else to turn, your landscaper will likely seek compensation from you.

Option #3- Hire The “Two Guys and a Truck” Tree Service Company

A number of businesses in our area call themselves tree service companies, but they are really nothing more than “two guys and a truck” posing as tree care experts. These men can be seen going door-to-door trying to drum up business. They don’t have the proper equipment, so they use spikes to climb live trees. They also lack adequate tree care knowledge, so they engage in unacceptable practices such as tree topping, pruning too much live wood or removing trees for no just cause. And just like landscapers these tree service companies do not have adequate insurance. In fact less than 1 in 9 carry both workmen’s compensation and general liability insurance and that can leave you open to a lawsuit.

Option #4- Hire An Arborist

Choosing an arborist to care for your trees is always your best option. Certified arborists have extensive knowledge in the science of tree care. To be certified by the International Society of Arborculture, an arborist must pass rigorous tree care examinations and complete ongoing continuing education classes. Arborists strictly follow accepted pruning standards, so you can be confident that they will maintain the health and appearance of all your trees. They routinely diagnose tree ailments and remove unwanted or decayed trees. Arborists also provide valuable long-term care services such as planting, fertilization and root pruning. If you have a friend or neighbor that has had some tree work done, ask them to recommend an arborist in your area. If not, just look in the Yellow Pages under the heading “Tree Service” and find an arborist that displays the ISA logo.

Jon Wilbur is an ISA Certified Arborist and Chief Arborist for Pinellas Tree Service, in Clearwater.

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Jon Wilbur

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