Tree Care: Selecting an arborist

I’m on the search for a great arborist this year as the harshness of this past winter left destruction throughout my garden.  It seems as if everywhere I look I find something else that needs to be replaced or (at the very least) needs a lot of love to get back to a healthy state.  Unfortunately, this even applies to the lovely trees that canopy my backyard.

So this means that I’m on the search for a reliable, experienced and trustworthy arborist.  I don’t want to hire someone who is going to end up doing more damage than good!  In case you’re also on that search, I thought I’d share with you the tips that I’ve come across on how to find such a person or company.  Check them out below, hope they help.


  1. Always, always, always hire a certified arborist!  You are looking for someone with experience, education and a good reputation to care for your tree.  Do not be afraid to ask for qualifications from the person actually doing the work.
  2. Beware of those that knock on your door.  Quite often these people are employing scare tactics and are commonly found knocking on doors after storms or pressing issues (like the Emerald Ash Borer that is currently attacking our City’s Ash trees) and they aren’t always qualified.
  3. Ask if workers will be using climbing spikes or spurs.  Responsible companies will not use these on trees unless they are being removed.  Why?  Puncture marks in the bark from the spikes/spurs create potential entry points for pests and disease.
  4. Make sure they have insurance!  You will want to make sure that the company is covered by the Workers Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and don’t be afraid to call and make sure that they are in fact covered by whichever company they tell you is insuring them.  Why?  Under some circumstances property owners can be held financially responsible if an uninsured worker is hurt or a neighbouring property is damaged.
  5. Request references.  A local list is best!
  6. Don’t be rushed into choosing a company based on a ‘bargain’.  It’s always a good idea to get more than one estimate and to keep in mind that the cheapest one isn’t always the best one. (You know that old adage, if it’s seems to good to be true….)
  7.  Be informed!  The joy of the internet and its plethora of resources is that it is really quite easy to educate yourself on proper tree care techniques.

I have also come across a good amount of information  from an organization called Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests or LEAF.  In fact they’ve been a major source for this blog post, and have a phenomenal collection of information about Toronto’s urban forest.  For a list of certified arborists in your area LEAF suggests you contact the International Society of Arboriculture at 1-888-463-2316 or or



  1. […] you have trees on your property, consider hiring an arborist to care for them — these pros can spot signs of poor health early on to prevent tree loss, and […]

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