Using a Certified Arborist | Tomlinson Bomberger

Using a Certified Arborist Could Mean Life or Death

Category: Tree & Shrub

certified arboristDon’t just trust anyone to care for your trees. Use a tree expert. Those aren’t just our words. You can find them all over the internet, in brochures, and in countless forms of tree care literature by industry organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture  and the Tree Care Industry Association. Trees are one of your property’s most important assets. They not only provide both beauty to your property, but they can drastically affect energy costs as well as impact the value of your property.

The Testing

Want to know what it takes to be a tree expert? To become a Certified Arborist is not an easy task. Applicants are given an exam preparation book of several hundred pages, expected to know the content, and pass with a 70%. The exam is broken up in sections detailing topics such as:

  • Tree Biology (anatomy, physiology)
  • Tree Identification (several hundred plants needing to be identified by leaves, bark, buds, fruit)
  • Soil Science (understanding how chemicals and physical properties influence health)
  • Water Management (irrigation, conservation, drainage)
  • Tree Nutrition (fertilizers, analysis, diagnosis, mathematical equations for treatment)
  • Tree Selection (knowing how matching the tree with the site will impact its health)
  • Installation & Establishment (plant selection, proper planting, early care)
  • Pruning (cuts, branch attachment, mature vs. young pruning)
  • Tree Support & Lightning Protection  (cabling, bracing, lighting cable installation)
  • Diagnosis & Plant Disorders (tree stresses, abiotic disorders, biotic disorders)
  • Plant Health Care (management strategies, natural plant defenses)
  • Tree Assessment & Risk Management (inspection, understanding decay, mitigation options, liabilities)
  • Trees & Construction (damages, preservation)
  • Urban Forestry (planning, regulatory issues, benefits, valuation and appraisal)
  • Tree Worker Safety (laws, communication, equipment, first-aid)
  • Climbing & Working in Trees (gear, ropes, climbing techniques)

As you can see, being an expert is no easy feat. Use caution when selecting someone to care for your trees. It could be a matter of their life or death.



When pruning your trees, choosing the right firm to do this is essential. Don’t just rely on someone’s claims of expertise. Just because someone isn’t scared to climb up into your tree and knows how to use a chainsaw, doesn’t make them an expert. There is a lot of harm a person without proper training can cause to your trees. Improper pruning (wrong branches, too many or too few, make cuts at an incorrect angle or location on the branch, etc.) is common. This not only makes your tree look ugly, but causes health issues that may result in pest and disease problems. Improper pruning can also contribute to premature plant death. Without extensive training, most people don’t even recognize the difference between right and wrong pruning.

spraying for bagworms

Plant Health

When using a plant health care program to address insect, mite, disease, and nutritional needs of your trees, the same is true. Just because someone has a truck outfitted with a sprayer doesn’t mean they know the best thing to do for your trees. In fact, spraying the wrong material (or the right material at the wrong time) can cause more problems for your trees. Not to mention that it’s a complete waste of money!

Tree care is a science that has a lot of variables to be considered. Just because an applicator has passed their state exam to be licensed doesn’t even guarantee they know what’s best for your trees. That is a minimum requirement. A Certified Arborist, or even an applicator trained by one, will understand these important factors to tree health. They treat your trees and plants accordingly. These professionals look at your tree’s health comprehensively to address its health as a whole. A real pro knows that spraying for certain issues is only part of the equation.

For more information on why you should hire a Certified Arborist, check out this publication by the International Society of Arboriculture. If you are ready for us to discuss options for your tree care needs, we’d love if you would contact us.