There are many tree companies in the mid-Michigan region. Some are services that offer tree trimming, bracing and removal. Others offer IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and Plant Health Care. Some are landscapers who offer installation of trees and shrubs as well as design services.
How can the consumer who needs services decide who to hire? Angies list, Better Business Bureau and other consumer information companies can offer personal testimony and satisfaction information. But how can a homeowner know that a company provides current best practices and is adequately insured?
CERTIFICATION. Certified Arborists have completed the certification process of the International Society of Arboriculture. They will be aware of current best practices and must attend continuing education hours to maintain certification. High ethical standards are expected of these certified professionals, giving the consumer confidence that quality work will be provided. The highest certification for an arborist is to attain the level of Board Certified Master Arborist. A certified arborist will carry and readily show the customer a credential that confirms current certification number like this: MI-0610B. Arborists may have additional specialty certification in Tree Risk Appraisal, Tree Value Appraisal, etc.
Landscape professionals may have CGIP certification as a Certified Green Industry Professional. Other specialty certifications may also be held.
Certification as a commercial pesticide applicator is needed for a company to apply pesticides. This indicates that the holder has passed the MDA test proving knowledge of safe handling of pesticides. It does not indicate any special knowledge of trees and tree problems.
EDUCATION. Some tree care professionals have college degrees in horticulture or forestry. Most quality tree professionals attend educational seminars to keep up to date and to maintain certification.
PRACTICES. A quality practitioner will evaluate the situation and carefully tailor a plan of action specific to the situation. A "One size fits all" approach is not scientific or specific and will not result in quality care. Multiple cover sprays applied to entire landscapes are to be avoided.
Specific practices are discussed below regarding pruning, bracing, removal.
INSURANCE. See below.
Other Tree Companies (for services that we do not provide)
PRUNING AND REMOVAL. These are a few companies which offer services such as pruning, cabling, removal, lightning protection, bracing, stump grinding, etc.
Arbor Expert (989) 839-2614 mainly Midland Area (Certified Arborist) pruning, cabling, bracing and removal
Advanced Arborist (989) 486-1924 (Certified Arborist) pruning, cabling bracing and removal
Kindy Tree Service (989) 633-9960 mainly Midland Area. Tree Removal.
Truedell's Northern Tree Care (989) 781-8733 mainly Saginaw Area (Certified Arborists) pruning, specialty pruning and removal, cabling, bracing.
Jack's Tree Service (989) 752-6626 (pruning and removal)
Garpiel Landscaping (989) 797-4749. Tri-Cities and beyond. Landscape Plant Health Care. Landscape Design and Installation.
When contracting with any company, it is important to ask for a detailed proposal for what work is to be done, identifying the trees to be worked on by species (or common name) and location. And ask for proof of insurance, (see below.) The company should have a business name, not just an individual's name, like "call Stan, the tree specialist". A company which is reluctant to provide a detailed proposal or show you proof of insurance proving their company is insured for liability and workman's compensation coverage is not a company that you want to do business with.
If trees are to be removed, be sure to clearly mark the trees so that there can be no mistakes. We have seen the wrong trees removed, an action that cannot be undone. Climbing spurs may be used on trees which are to be removed.
PRUNING and/or CABLING
The proposal should identify the trees to be pruned by location and species (or common name) and what type of pruning is to be done. Trees which have to be climbed for pruning or cabling should NEVER be climbed with climbing spurs. Oak trees and elm trees should not be pruned during the spring and summer months unless it is for cleanup of storm damage. If oaks or elms are pruned in the warm months, the wounds should be sealed.
You have a right to see proof of liability insurance. Do not just accept verbal assurance that a company is "fully insured." Most reputable companies will have a copy of their insurance declarations sheet to show to you or give to you. Look for at least one million dollar liability coverage and workman's compensation coverage.