Treeworks – Getting a professional job done

This page looks at the qualifications and experience a competent tree surgery company should possess before being given access to your private garden. I would like to start by explaining the difference between a “tree surgeon” and an “arborist”. The proper Arborist has a great deal of knowledge ranging from a detailed understanding of tree species and diseases to the appropriate type and timing of surgery to ensure the trees remain healthy with a pleasing aesthetic form. Surgery can vary from crown thins, reductions to crown lifts, all of these should be discussed with you as part of your quote meeting. An Arborist has recognised qualifications such as an Extended Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture with NPTC certificates explained below. A “tree surgeon” is a broad term used to describe both arborists and those in the industry with no formal qualifications at all. It is worth remembering that you responding to an advert in the Yellow pages does not ensure that the person who turns up on your doorstep has any more knowledge about trees than you do!!

A tree surgeon, climbing

For businesses like RJ Tree Services we find it very depressing to witness the consequences of poor surgery by bogus tree surgeons. I have experienced the “cold call” on my own doorstep by self proclaimed tree surgeons who could not even correctly name the species of tree in my front garden let alone have the knowledge to claim is was dying and in danger of collapse! We advise you never to accept such pressurised doorstep quotes ,we like to have appointments so issues can be discussed with an envelope left with you to post a quote sheet back to the office at your convenience. The consequences of poor treeworks can scar your gardens beauty for many years.

How to check a tree surgeon?

When you invite a quote for treeworks it is so important to check the validity of the person entering your private property. Just as we expect gas and electrician technicians to be qualified and insured so must all tree surgeons. You must be shown valid Arborist NPTC and Public/Employers Insurance Liability certificates. A common trick by bogus tree surgeons is to promise that such certificates will appear on the day of works, if an accident does happen to persons or property on your land it can be a very expensive experience for you!. NPTC licenses are in categories of Felling trees (CS31), Climbing trees and performing aerial rescue (CS38) and Operating a chainsaw from a rope and harness (CS39). With tree surgery being considered by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as one of the most dangerous professions such qualifications and experience (minimum of 2 years to develop safe practical skills) are essential for safe work in your garden.

A tree surgeon with Safety Gear
Health and Safety Issues

Working in trees is a high risk activity so both the climbing and groundworks operatives must be an integrated team. A clear hierarchy of responsibility operates on each job with workers wearing protective chainsaw trousers, reinforced work boots and a visor helmet with ear muffs Attention is always necessary to create a safe working environment, we ask customers to keep children and pets away from the working area to ensure we maintain a 100% accident free record. A good “rule of thumb” is to make eye contact with ground workers before entering the work area in your garden, quite often complex rigging systems are in use to lower limbs in a safe controlled manner using systems you will not be familiar with.

Environmental responsibility

As well as conducting appropriate surgery to your trees the waste should be disposed off in a responsible manner. Ask your tree what they do with the woodchip and timber from your garden. Professional arborists usually use an industrial chipper unit on site rather than piling the branches into the back of a truck or van. Woodchip can be recycled in many ways including use for landscapers and as a fuel at biomass power stations!

In conclusion we advise you to be careful in selecting your tree surgeon for garden works, take your time in deciding what, when and importantly who should remove or shape your trees.