Looking for an arborist? Here’s the questions you need to ask

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Australians love to garden. It’s one of our national pastimes. And spring and summer are the time of year when we get into it and get our gardens ready for that other great national pastime – outdoor living.

But sometimes, the job at hand is a bit more than your average home gardener can handle. Whether removing a tree or a branch or dealing with unhealthy trees that need a kickstart, sometimes the smartest, safest, and most effective thing to do is call in a professional arborist.

Most people have probably had a knock on the door from someone passing themselves off as a professional and providing a quote to take out a tree. But how can you tell whether they are the real deal?

Here are a few things you should ask before engaging the services of an arborist.

  1. Ask for a formal quote. A professional and reputable arborist will have no qualms about providing you with a quote for a job. They do this work every day and will have a good fix on what it’s likely to cost.
  2. Ask for insurance details. If the arborist can’t provide these, then you don’t want them anywhere near your garden. They should be able to provide evidence of workers’ compensation insurance and public liability insurance at an amount that addresses the risk of their work (usually at least $2 million).
  3. Ask about their training and qualifications. Removing trees and branches is a dangerous and specialised activity. People can get injured or killed, trees can be irreparably damaged, and damage can be caused to your property or your neighbours’. The arborist must be able to show you training certificates for chainsaw use appropriate to the task, working near powerlines, working at heights, arboriculture and any other machines that are being used.
  4. Ask for an itemised description of what will be done. Ideally, this will be part of the quiet, but you need to know what the arborist will do with respect to how they approach the job, how they will operate safely, what they will do to clean up afterwards and so forth.
  5. Any service provider worth their salt will be happy to provide you with referees that you can call to discuss satisfaction with past work completed. They may even have a portfolio of work to show you.
  6. Memberships and standards. Does the arborist operate to Australian Standard AS4373 – Pruning of Amenity Trees? Is the arborist a member of a professional arborist’s organisation or similar?

You’re probably quite rightly proud of your garden and your hard work to make it look beautiful. If you need professional help with the finishing touches, make sure you get it right and ensure that you, your neighbours, your arborist and your trees are safe and well looked after. You may pay a bit more, but the peace of mind will be worth it.

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