When to Hire an Arborist

Mon, July 27, 2015 11:48 AM | Anonymous

As people plan for September when we begin distributing trees again, we are often asked what trees are best to select and where to place them. While the shade tree staff can give general guidelines, we like to refer to our ask the arborist forum or inform customers that a certified arborist will be at the workshops. Instead of referring to a landscaper with tree related questions, we encourage customers to contact a certified arborist. Sometimes there is confusion between a landscaper and an arborist so we thought we’d explain when it is best to hire an arborist versus a landscaper.

In our last blog, we briefly discussed what an arborist is and the different certifications they can obtain. We mentioned some of the areas that arborist are trained in such as pruning, pest and disease management, tree removal, and the proper selection and planting of a tree. Arborists specialize in tree care and are knowledgeable about the specific needs of trees. Hiring an arborist to help care for your trees can lead to significant returns. Not only do well-tended trees increase property value, but well-cared for trees can also prevent damage to your property (fallen limbs, uprooted trees) during Arizona thunderstorms.

While the difference between a landscaper and arborist may seem obvious, it is important to know when to hire one versus the other. Conventional landscaping includes services such as landscape design and installation, lawn care, lawn irrigation installation and maintenance, garden care, and shrub pruning. Arboriculture, however, involves caring specifically for trees such as tree selection and placement, tree planting, tree removal, pruning, cabling, stump grinding, and other emergency care services. Landscapers may not be equipped with the training and tools needed to properly care for your trees. Pruning large trees can be difficult and dangerous and it is important to hire a properly trained person, such as a certified arborist. Not only can improper pruning damage your trees but a homeowner can potentially be liable for personal damage to a landscaper if they do not carry liability insurance.

So when is hiring an arborist a good idea? As a rule of thumb, if the services required revolve around tree care, consult an arborist. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) provides online resources to find an arborist and to verify an arborist’s certification (pictured below). While the online search tools are not inclusive of all the arborists in your area, it is a good starting point to locate or verify one. Some landscaping services might offer a certified arborist on staff or be able to recommend one to you.


While landscapers and arborists differ in their specialties, taking advantage of their complementary services can ensure that you properly care for your yard.  And remember, you can always post your own questions to our volunteer certified arborist here. 










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