Rain, hail, thunderstorms, and strong, tornadic winds.
60 degrees and sunny one day, 100 degrees and humid the next.
The wild weather of St. Louis has struck again.
The week of July 5th, the St. Louis area was hit with one of the quickest and biggest storms our area has seen in a long time. It was sad to see so many mature and historical trees uprooted and laid over due to the strong, whipping winds and heavy downpours. The trees took a beating and sometimes, people get injured cleaning up the aftermath.
You may be dealing with the mess of trees and tree limbs on the ground, but do not forget about the trees that survived the storm. Those trees still suffered. Strong winds or even a short microburst can strip away leaves from branches or cause a large limb to break and hang there. The best proactive decision you can make to protect both your trees and the structures around them is to hire a professional tree care company. Anyone with a chainsaw, ladder, truck and trailer can be considered a tree trimmer. But, it takes years of training and experience to properly handle tree maintenance and pruning. Certified Arborists have the skills and knowledge required in dealing with tree health, as it is necessary to avoid unnecessary work and damage to trees.
Insurance & Licensing
There is a big difference in general liability and workers' compensation when comparing a tree care company to a landscape company. Just because you hire a licensed company does not mean they have the right coverage to perform tree work. Do your own research! Not only should you request a copy of their insurance, but you should actually call the insurance company to verify their coverage with the scope of work they will be performing on your trees. Many landscape companies performing tree care do not have the proper coverage and safety protocols.
What kind of insurance should they have?
Tree Care companies should carry Commercial General Liability insurance with a recommended coverage of $2 million. This should also include auto liability insurance and workers' comp. Missouri state law requires tree companies to carry workers' comp insurance when we have more than 5 employees. Either way, for the customer's protection, always hire a company with workers' comp.
How To Find a Good, Reputable Company
Ask around. A family member, neighbor, friend, Facebook, and NextDoor are good references for finding a reputable tree care company.
Read Reviews! Many customers will leave reviews on Facebook, Google, and Yelp.
Do Your Research. Sites like TreesAreGood.org, ISA, and TCIA are great sites to find out who's certified and accredited.
Certified Arborists must obtain so many years of field experience and classroom instruction before taking and passing the exam to officially become a Certified Arborist. They also must earn CEU's (Continued Education Units) to renew and hold that certification. So, the training and learning never stop. There are many different levels of certification through ISA and TCIA. All levels of the training cover tree health, pruning, soil management, diagnosis and treatment of disease, safe work practices, and many more.
Get more than one bid, but understand the difference between the lowest and the highest price. Just because you received the lowest/cheapest bid, does not mean you will receive a quality job. Every company and every estimate is written and drafted differently. Receiving multiple bids will give you some very valuable information. Review and compare each bid. Ask questions to understand the price difference between the cheapest vs. the highest priced estimate.
The tree care industry is not a cheap industry. It costs many companies $200-$500 an hour just to operate. There are multiple things to consider when a sales arborist is conducting an estimate, such as:
- The number of workers required to complete the job
- The ease of difficulty of access to the property
- Are there power lines and other hazardous obstacles in the way
A good proposal will be legible, detailed, and specific to the scope of work being performed.
Questions to ask:
How will they access the tree that is going to be pruned?
How will your yard look when they are done?
Will they blow the sawdust off the roof or will they walk away during their final clean-up?
The most common question is, "When is my project going to be scheduled?" Well, unless it is an emergency, it may take six to eight weeks or more to schedule the work. Most reputable tree care companies should be busy during the peak of the season. The best advice here is to assess your trees and landscaping around your home in advance. Decide what it is you would like to have done. Set a budget and a timeline. Then, call in advance to book an appointment with a sales arborist. Set the expectations of when you would like to have your project completed after you have discussed it with the salesperson. The best rule of thumb is: do not expect your project to be completed within 1 to 2 weeks, so plan your project ahead of time.