If you own a home in Washington, chances are you will require professional tree care services at some point. Tree work can be a risky endeavor, so all the more reason to be informed about who you hire. Risks to your trees, your property, and the individuals who perform the work can be minimized by hiring a good company.

Commercial tree care gets lumped in with logging as the most dangerous profession in the country. Federal and state and safety laws established by OSHA and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries apply to the trade, yet no state laws regulate who can perform the work. Other professional tradespeople, such as plumbers and electricians,  must be licensed by the state, but with tree workers, virtually anyone can obtain the basic equipment and start doing the work.

ISA certified arborist logoThe best advice is always to work with arborists who are certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). The ISA certification indicates that the credential holder earns continuing educational credits to maintain minimum knowlege of how trees grow and thrive, industry-accepted best practices for tree care, and standards for workplace safety. Click here to locate an ISA Certified Arborist in your area.

You can also look for a company’s affiliation with the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). TCIA will accreditate companies that conduct business in a safe, legal, and ethical manner. Click here to locate an accredited company near you.

To further help you further identify a reputable tree company, consider the following tables that compare characteristics of professional tree service companies with those of “the other guys” who may lack the ability to do the work correctly and safely.

Note: These tables should be seen as a general guide. Not all professional tree care firms will strictly adhere to each of the following practices, although most companies should adhere to most of them. For example, some reputable companies may have a light online presence if most of their business is generated by customer referrals.