Hiring a Professional Tree Care Provider

Around our homes or along the streets, trees are one of our most valuable assets. They are also a long-term investment. Like any investment, trees require careful decisions and the occasional advice and service of a professional.

In the tree world, arborists are the professionals that can safeguard your trees and save you from the long-term consequences of neglect or improper care.

Tips for Hiring a Professional

  • Call Vancouver Urban Forestry at (360) 487-8328 to see if a permit is required for the job.
  • A Street Tree Worker License is required to perform major pruning on street trees. View the list of companies possessing a current valid Street Tree Worker License
  • Solicit bids from at least three qualified tree care providers. Require a written job proposal and estimate. The lowest bid is not always the best.
  • Consider hiring an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist. An ISA certified arborist is a professional that has demonstrated a minimum level of knowledge. ISA arborists also stay current on new research through continuing education. You can find an ISA certified arborist by calling 1-888-ISA-TREE (1-888-472-8733) or visiting the ISA website.
  • Verify the individual's City of Vancouver Business License by calling (360) 487-8410.
  • Verify the individual's Washington State Department of Labor and Industries registration by calling 1-800-547-8367 or visiting the State's website. You can also check if the contractor is the subject of any customer complaints through these resources.
  • Ensure that the contractor is bonded and insured.
  • Specify no climbing spurs to be used while climbing trees that are to be preserved.
  • Specify NO TOPPING. Topping is not an acceptable tree care practice. Topping will cripple the tree's ability to produce food, which will send the tree into stress-induced shock. The tree will respond by vigorously producing suckers and watersprouts. Not only will the tree now be bushy and ugly, but also the new branches will be very weakly attached and potentially hazardous in the future. Never hire anyone that suggests topping your tree. A good arborist can reduce the size of the tree's crown using approved pruning cuts without topping.
  • Ask to see a copy of the appropriate American National Standards Institute pruning standards to which the arborist will adhering. ANSI A300 standards are the accepted national guidelines for professional tree care.
  • Ask for references.
  • Ask questions: What qualifications do you have as an arborist? Do you know the City's requirements concerning proper pruning, tree removals, planting, root pruning and pesticide application?