The Difference Between Landscaper and Tree Service
That brings me to the second concept on my list. Who do you deal with? Trees are not just another bush or flower that your landscaper makes beautiful. A landscaper doesn’t have the appropriate tools in his or her trailer for dealing with trees. A tree service wouldn’t try to repair your irrigation for that matter either.
Mowers, hedge trimmers and leaf blowers are very different from climbing harnesses, chipper trucks and woodchippers. As I mentioned above, finding a company who understands multifamily and has the expertise in their field of arboriculture is ideal.
Two well established designations to help you determine who would be the best fit for your property are the Certified Apartment Supplier (CAS) and the ISA Certified Arborist. The CAS engrains the unique outcomes desired by housing operators. You can learn more here: https://www.naahq.org/educationcareers/credentials/cas/online. The ISA Certified Arborist designation gives ample working knowledge of safety and excellence in tree care. You can learn more about that here: https://www.isaarbor.com/Credentials/Types-ofCredentials/ISA-Certified-Arborist.
At a minimum, your vendor should have a sales staff and a production staff that are at least supervised by an ISA Certified Arborist. Also, the Tree Care Industry Association maintains a designation for Tree Care Specialist: https://www.tcia.org/TCIA/Education_Events/ Education/TCIA_Credentialing_Programs/Tree _Care_Academy/tree_care_specialist.aspx. When vetting a vendor(s) to handle your trees, ask them about these credentials.
Trimming Your Trees
The second part of the expertise theme is that trimming your trees isn’t a standard operation, and often we speak as though that phrase means the same thing to everyone. Pruning to achieve a designated outcome must be scoped properly and written up in such a way that all parties to the contract understand what they are getting. In the 1970s some tree services came up with language like “Class A” or “Type 1” pruning. These terms are meaningless. One company’s “Class A” and another company’s “Type 1” could mean the same thing or something entirely different.
We encourage owners and managers to use absolute descriptions that tell everyone involved what is required. Some examples would be: Prune limbs away from all structures 6 feet. Prune deadwood that is 2 inches or larger in diameter from all tree canopies. Raise lower limbs on the canopy to a height of 12 feet. This way, you don’t end up at the end of a project with the vendor saying, “We trimmed the trees,” but you aren’t happy with the outcome. With a clearly and mutually understood scope, everyone gets what they bargained for.
(to be continued)