While we all agree that trees are important and that we should do what we can to protect them and ensure their health, few of us truly understand how to go about it. For example, we often confuse the terms “trimming” and “pruning” in arboriculture. Add the term “arborist” to the mix, and we’re definitely lost!
You should be aware that these terms designate specialists in different practices aimed at preventing serious damage and accidents or simply promoting the growth of a tree. These practices include thinning out excess branches and getting rid of any branches that are dead, diseased or damaged. However, depending on the specialty, the health of the trees isn’t always a priority.
How would you like to learn a little more about these professionals before reviewing the criteria that will enable you to choose a tree trimmer or arborist?
Arborists, tree pruners and tree trimmers: cutting through the confusion
What’s an arborist or tree trimmer?
An arborist is a tree specialist. He or she has the proper training to take care of trees, protect them and ensure their optimal development. An arborist is always concerned about the health of a tree and will be your first line of defense when it comes to detecting signs of abnormality or disease and advising you as to the recommended treatment.
An arborist is also called a tree trimmer. Cutting is among the services this specialist provides. Tree trimming consists of removing living and dead branches so that the tree can grow in a healthy manner. Under what circumstances is it recommendable to call on the services of an arborist or a tree trimmer?
- When a tree is at risk of making contact with electrical lines
- When excessively voluminous branches are at risk of causing damage or falling on people or buildings
- When it’s necessary to remove branches that are dead, diseased or damaged in order to save a tree
- When a property owner wishes to increase the amount of natural light on his or her land (which can have a significant influence on the value of the property)
Mature trees, bushes and fruit trees may all need trimming one or more times over the course of their lives.
What does a tree pruner do?
Pruning is another trimming technique, which consists of cutting lateral branches, new shoots and sometimes even the crown of a tree to encourage the growth of shoots or foliage. It promotes the emergence of “suckers,” which will form new branches that will eventually need cutting again. This technique isn’t actually recommendable! While trimming and pruning are both cutting techniques, the resemblance ends there.
While the term “pruning” is often used erroneously to describe trimming work, the objective of pruning isn’t to preserve the health of the tree: instead, it favors the growth of branches that will be cut regularly in order to provide wood to different industries. In other words, pruning weakens the branches. Repeated cutting can eventually make them more liable to fall. Luckily, with the years, the practice of pruning has dwindled to the point that it’s relatively uncommon these days.
How to choose a tree trimmer on the South Shore of Montreal
A reputable, certified tree trimmer is a member of a professional organization, such as the Quebec chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) or another recognized association. This membership guarantees that you’ll receive service that complies with Quebec’s current arboriculture regulations. It also demonstrates the tree trimmer’s commitment to keeping up with the latest techniques, discoveries and other developments in the field.
While we’re on the topic of eligibility, we also recommend verifying that your tree trimmer has a degree in arboriculture or certification from a reputable professional organization. This certification is proof that the person is a professional with all the necessary knowledge to maintain and care for trees. It lets you know that the arborist is reliable.
Just as you would with a building contractor, a plumber or any other construction specialist, don’t hesitate to apply the following rules:
- Ask for written estimates from several different companies and don’t just settle for the lowest offer. You need to consider other criteria, including timeline, skills, cleanup services, payment methods and the hourly rates in the event that the job takes longer than expected.
- Rely on word of mouth. Between friends, family, colleagues and neighbors, you have no shortage of resources when it comes to getting recommendations for a reliable, attentive professional.
- Take a step back and use common sense when confronted by tree trimmers who show up at your door unsolicited, offering their services often at steeply discounted rates.
- From an administrative standpoint, don’t hesitate to ask if the tree trimming company has civil liability coverage against damage to people and property and, depending on your region, workers compensation insurance. It’s a matter of your peace of mind!
- Check with your municipality to find out if it requires these types of companies to hold permits or licenses. If so, the company you choose should be able to provide you with the corresponding documentation.
Last but not least, you should evaluate the tree trimmer’s willingness to follow best practices. What does this mean? It’s an indication of the professional’s commitment to respecting trees and nature. It means that the tree trimmer will avoid certain discouraged practices, such as topping and excessive thinning, as well as felling healthy trees or felling trees without a permit. If you notice that the person clearly goes against these principles and engages in actions that risk damaging or weakening the tree or making the area around it unsafe, you should immediately cross that person’s name off your list.
A good tree trimmer will refuse to enter into any contract that violates these ethics. How can you find out? Ask questions. Would the professional simply start cutting the tree with no further consideration? What tools would the arborist use? Would he or she risk damaging a tree? How many branches would the tree trimmer remove?
Émondage SBP: certified arborist and tree trimmer serving the South Shore
When choosing an arborist, you need to verify a number of different factors. However, for you and your trees, it’s important to call on the services of a tree trimmer that’s conscientious, passionate about the profession and respectful of clients and the environment.
The technicians at Émondage SBP have been working in accordance with this philosophy for more than 15 years and are recognized for their commitment, reliability and competitive prices. If you’re looking for a tree trimmer on the South Shore, look no further. They would be more than happy to help!