Don’t employ a ‘jack-of-all-trades’.
For a top quality job - hire a specialist. Many good gardeners or landscapers may be capable of doing tree surgery, but if you’re thinking of hiring someone, look for a top level arborist to do your trees and look out for someone who does that and only that.
A general gardener or ‘jack-of-all-trades’ may not be properly trained to climb a tree, and therefore not covered by the correct insurance. Anyone can climb a tree, but more than likely a non-specialist will go up there with a ladder; which when they’re running a petrol chainsaw; is incredibly dangerous.
Be careful not to be drawn in by a cheap price, this usually means they are undercutting the professionals to make a quick buck - this will end up costing you more money in the long run. Damage may be caused to your garden or property which you will have to pay to fix; your tree could become diseased or overstressed; you could also end up being prosecuted if the required checks are not carried out to check for Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and Conservation Areas.
Your tree surgeon should be experienced and a NPTC certified climbing arborist, these qualifications are important. Anyone cutting at height, using a rope and harness must have them or they do not have enough training. Without the right qualifications they will not know how to conduct an aerial rescue which is crucial in terms of safety. It is not up to the fire service or ambulance to get them down from a tree – that is the responsibility of the rescue climber.
Check they hold insurance and these certificates as a minimum;
· CS30 – Maintenance of the chainsaw, on site preparation and basic cross cutting
· CS31 – Fell and process small trees
· CS38 – Climb a tree and perform aerial rescue
· CS39 – Use of a chainsaw from a rope and harness
· First Aid at Work
If your ‘tree surgeon’ uses terms like ‘lopping’ or ‘topping’… steer clear! These terms are very old fashioned and are definitely associated ‘cowboys’.
Look for terms such as pruning, crown reduction, thinning, crown lifting, dead wooding etc these are modern, accurate terminology and a good indicator that your tree surgeon knows what they are doing.