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Why Hire a Consulting Arborist?

Maureen Sexsmith-West ISA Certified Arborist, PR4600A

Photo Source: ISA

The real distinction between a Consulting Arborist and a production company (who may employ Certified Arborists) is that they provide independent technical expertise rather than perform the work. They offer advanced training in problem diagnosis, tree appraisals, risk assessments and management planning. Their opinions are unbiased and fact/science based. They are prepared to defend their findings in court should a law suit be required when disputes over tree ownership, tree values or damage by a third party are involved. A consulting arborist will provide an opinion and a written report that becomes the basis for an action plan. Using the prepared specifications, companies are invited to provide an estimate for the prescribed work and only that work. A Consulting Arborist is often excluded from the estimating process even if they are capable of performing many of the services they are recommending. More often, they are employed to assist with selecting a qualified contractor and to oversee the contract to ensure that the contractors follow the tendered specifications. They should be able to interpret and understand local issues and are familiar with laws pertaining to trees in the community they serve. When should you hire an independent consultant? Services a Consulting Arborist can offer you:

Plant Diagnosis Essentially, they answer the question “What is wrong with my tree?”. The process of diagnosis involves proper identification of the plant species and an estimate of age. There are number of things that can contribute to tree condition. These are divided into two categories: Biotic (living influences such as pests) and Abiotic (non-living influences such as drought stress or poor soils). A consulting arborist will be familiar with local pest and disease issues and will be knowledge of tree biology, plant health care and proper maintenance practices. Once a diagnosis is made, recommendations for treatment are presented. These can include a combination of remedies including changes to watering habits or application of a pest management product. Tree Risk Assessments An Assessment helps determine if a tree, or parts of a tree, is safe. While it is impossible to give a 100% guarantee on anything, an assessment will make predictions based on pre-existing conditions that can contribute to limb or tree failures. Extreme weather can result in issues even the most experienced and qualified professional cannot foresee. A risk assessment serves a management tool, allowing for preventative measures to be put in place to mitigate damage to property or personal injuries. This service is not limited to private residential homes. It is ideal for institutions, municipalities and property management companies, particularly when they do not have a Certified Arborist on staff.

Photo Source: ISA

Tree Appraisals

Ever wonder what a tree is worth? This is question that is most often asked by insurance companies after a tree is damaged. Appraisals can be useful tools when determining real estate values. They are used by homeowners and by municipalities alike. For managers of larger urban forests it can help to increase appreciation for community trees or to help with budget preparation. Landscape Planning and Supervision Landscape projects can be costly. A Consulting Arborist can review your plans to evaluate plant selections and planting plans, identify over planting potential and offer aftercare suggestions. They can oversee installations to ensure trees are healthy at the onset and properly planted. Since they have no potential gain from the number or size of plants being installed, they can be objective. Pre-Construction Tree Protection Planning

Home renovations and landscape projects often conflict with established trees and their extensive root systems. Your Consulting Arborist will help determine the potential impacts and make recommendations to protect established trees in construction zones. Once the damage is done, after care programs can aid in recovery. More questions? Please contact us.


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