After significant storms, it is not unusual for individuals calling themselves tree specialists to show up at your door looking for work. Owning a truck and a chain saw does not automatically qualify someone as a tree care professional!
Tree Care Company Requirements
Tree care companies must have an annual license to work for customers within the City of Falls Church, ensuring that they have met the City's minimum requirements for bonding and insurance. The current list is here.
The City does not evaluate the quality of private tree work, and does not promote or recommend any particular companies - homeowners should talk to multiple companies and request references.
Hiring a Professional
If pruning involves working above the ground, or using power equipment, it is best to hire a professional arborist, preferably one who is certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). An arborist can determine what type of pruning is necessary to improve the health, appearance, and safety of your trees, and can provide the services of a trained crew, with all of the required safety equipment and liability insurance.
You may contact the City Arborist via email or 703-248-5183 (TTY 711) for information regarding tree removal and tree pruning.
Things to Consider When Selecting a Tree Care Company
ISA Certification (not just membership) and Tree Risk Assessment Qualification. ISA certifications are for individuals only, not companies, and can be confirmed by clicking Find an Arborist at the ISA's public website.
Proof that their insurance and workers' compensation coverage is current.
The quality of their references from previous customers.
Their level of training and attitude toward tree preservation.
Do not hire a tree care company that uses spikes to climb live trees or suggests topping. Topping is the drastic cutting back of healthy branches resulting from complete misunderstanding of how trees grow (experienced tree contractors are often uneducated).Topping leaves large, open wounds that subject the tree to disease and decay, and causes rapid, dense regrowth that is weakly attached to the parent branch.
Get a written estimate listing all work to be completed.
Do not pay for the job until everything agreed upon is completed.