Would you check if a tree surgeon was properly insured and qualified before letting them loose in your garden?
Poor arboriculture could lead to injury or damage to property, leaving you potentially liable (not to mention the damage that could be done to your trees).
But a survey of Which? members found that 37% hadn’t checked if the tree surgeon they employed was suitably insured or qualified to do the work.
A further 46% selected their tree surgeon on a friend’s recommendation.
While it’s good to get an idea of a tree surgeon’s previous work, it’s not a guarantee of quality. In the UK, there are two schemes certifying the competence of arborists – The Arboricultural Association and the International Society of Arboriculture. You can also visit Which? Trusted Traders for trusted tree surgeons.
Five questions to ask your tree surgeon
It’s good to be armed with the right information, so here are five questions to ask your tree surgeon before they get started:
- Are you insured? Companies should be able to show evidence of employers’ and public liability insurance up to £5 million.
- Do you work to a British standard? This should be BS 3998:2010 (Tree work – recommendations).
- What qualifications do you and your staff hold? They must have NPTC certifi cates for chainsaw use.
- Will you provide a written quotation? If they can’t, reject this contractor.
- Are you a member of a professional organisation? Membership does not guarantee work standards, but it does show commitment to the trade.
Your favourite trees
Now on to something completely different. My Which? Gardening colleague Adele Dyer also asked Which? members what trees they’d like to plant if space wasn’t an issue. And more than a third said oak.
When we drill down to just the top 10 trees, oak took half of the votes and was five times more popular than the second-placed apple tree.
What’s your favourite tree? Have you had any problems with tree surgeons, or made a mistake when pruning a tree yourself?