Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I hire an ISA Certified Arborists®?

Arborists are specialists in the care of individual trees. Healthy trees can add considerable value to your property, while poorly-maintained trees can reduce value and even be a liability.

ISA Certified Arborists® receive extensive training on topics such as tree biology, soil science, tree installation, pruning, tree support and lightning protection, tree assessment and risk management, tree worker safety and plant health.

A certified arborist can be trusted to properly prune or remove large trees, which can be dangerous work. Tree work should only be done by professional tree workers who are properly trained and equipped.

Why should I prune and train young trees?

Young trees often require structural pruning to prevent tree failure when the tree matures. An ISA Certified Arborists® is trained to identify these structural problems and can give options to correct the problem while the tree is young. Once a tree matures the chances of correcting structural deficiencies are greatly reduced.

Where can I find an arborist?

International Society of Arboriculture (or, ISA) provides a tool to help residential and commercial clients find a certified arborist in their area. Visit in order to find an arborist and to learn more about arborists and tree care.

What should I look for in an arborist or tree service?

The State of Florida does not license tree workers, so you will need to do your homework when choosing a tree service to work on your property. A tree cutting or tree removal service should have its own liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. If not, if someone gets hurt on the job the burden of insurance will fall to you.

You’ll want to choose a tree service company that is experienced in the type of work you need done. Not every tree service company has the equipment to safely take on larger projects, such as pruning or removal of large trees, clearing land, grinding large stumps, forestry mulching, or complete stump excavation.

Companies should be willing to provide a free estimate. Ask if the company employs its own workers or if it contracts out (you’ll want to know who is in charge and who will be present on your property to do the work). Make sure you know exactly what is going to be done. (Will they grind the stump? Will they haul away the debris?) The company you choose should also have a proven track record. Ask for references from previous clients and follow up on them.

A reputable tree service will never ask for money up front– you should not be expected to pay for a service before the work is done. And, of course, you should expect good customer service, including professionalism, prompt return of phone calls and a guarantee of satisfaction.

What is so bad about topping?

Topping is the practice of indiscriminately pruning too much off of trees to the point where they appear bare and stubbly. This is a pet peeve of arborists! Despite plenty of evidence against it, this poor practice continues, especially among tree service companies that are not educated themselves on the biology of trees and tree health.

Topping stresses trees, weakens them, leads to decay when branches aren’t severed at a place that can allow the tree to repair itself, and can eventually shorten the life of the tree. Besides, it looks terrible!

Do yourself and your trees a favor and avoid the topping trend! You can learn about the proper way to prune mature trees (insert link: and the proper way to prune young trees (insert link:, or hire an ISA Certified Arborists® to care for your trees in a way that will keep them healthy and beautiful for years and decades to come!