A visit to your property by a certified arborist to inspect, identify, and evaluate all trees and shrubs.
A HISTORY is taken. Problems identified in the past. Past treatments. Previous disruptions of the growing environment.
SYMPTOMS and SIGNS of disease, pest infestation, mechanical or abiotic injury are noted.
A DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS is made, listing possible reasons for observed abnormalities.
A MANAGEMENT PLAN is formulated.
A written report is submitted, with recommendations of further evaluations or treatments.
An invoice accompanies the written report. The charge for a problem-focused consultation is $100. For a complete landscape consultation, the charge is $150. There may be a mileage and travel time increment for consultations outside the Midland area.
WHY IS THERE A CHARGE FOR THIS SERVICE? The simplest reason is that you are paying for the time and expertise of a certified arborist. We have been unable to find a certified arborist who is able to offer his time and travel for free. Just as any professional charges for his time and expertise, so does a certified arborist.
An experienced, board certified master arborist will make one or more visits to your property to examine all the trees and shrubs, identifying the species and condition, observing any evidence of previous disease, pests, or abiotic injury. History is obtained regarding the symptoms observed and any pertinent activities near the trees (trenching, excavation, chemical spills, etc.) Research is done as needed to ascertain the problems observed and the appropriate treatments, if any. The arborist will consult with experts at MSU when needed. A written report is then prepared, with diagnoses and recommendations for care. In addition to the time and fuel spent traveling to your property, the arborist spends 30 to 60 minutes at your property and then 30 to 60 minutes preparing the written report to be sent to you. In some cases, significant additional time is spent discussing the findings with other experts and doing research in order to provide the consumer with the best and most up-to-date information.
The charge is for the expertise and time and other expenses involved. It is also a means of having an honest and objective assessment of what treatments are needed. Companies which offer free consultations may have to sell an unnecessary treatment to cover the cost of their time and expense investment. We will never recommend or try to sell you a service that is not really needed. And with the recommendations we give you, you can shop around for the best price for treatments if you desire.
WHAT ABOUT COMPANIES THAT OFFER “FREE ESTIMATES” ?
We offer free estimates. If there is no travel and time investment and no written report to prepare and no arborist expertise needed, we can give you an estimate of how much it would cost to fertilize your trees or to provide IPM services for the year.
But beware of a company that offers free diagnostic services, especially if the person doing the services is not a certified arborist. Just being a certified pesticide applicator or a horticulturalist or a landscaper or an employee of a lawn or landscape company does not qualify a person to make diagnoses and treatment recommendations for tree care. A qualified tree consultant will have I.S.A. certification as a certified arborist or perhaps the highest certification as a BCMA, board certified master arborist. He or she may be a member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists. The charge for a consultation will usually be $100 to $150 or more. There may be a charge for mileage, especially if it is out of the usual service area.
Companies exist to make money, so if they offer something free, they have to have a way to cover their costs and that may be done by selling services which are not really necessary. Many lawn and tree care services and landscape services offer a program of several sprays and treatments. They come and spray everything several times and “fertilize” trees and shrubs, often applying too many pesticides, without proper timing or specific need. This is a “shotgun” or "one size fits all" approach to tree care which pollutes the environment with too many pesticides and kills many of the beneficial insects, while ignoring the specific timing, techniques and materials needed to treat many tree problems.