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Choosing a Tree Surgeon By Paul Shouls

It's the time of year when you realize that the trees in your garden are getting too big and with the stormy season approaching, it is time to do something about it.

The trees may be:

Cutting out too much light. Outgrowing the area they were planted in, growing too near houses, sheds, pavements and roads. Loosing branches in the wind creating a potential hazard.

If you have a tree on your property, you have has a duty of care in law to ensure that you take appropriate action to ensure everybody's safety. You may be able to do some low pruning but often a tree surgeon is the best and safest option. So how do you choose a tree surgeon? Here are some tips to help: Where do I find a tree surgeon? By far the best way is by recommendation, and then it's over to the publications like Yellow pages - look under 'tree work', and local magazines but don't assume that all those that advertise offer high quality works. Finally there is the internet. If you Google search 'tree surgeon' and your area, you will find lots of local contractors. How do I know which one to choose? Here are some questions you can ask to help you choose.

Are they qualified? Tree surgeons should have chainsaw certificates and climbing/rescue certificates if climbing. Are they happy to provide copies? Will I get a fixed quotation or just an estimate? An estimate is just that, an estimate; the price may change during the job. Is the quote provided in writing? Is VAT added to the quoted price? What steps will be taken to protect you and your property?


Public liability insurance is a must. Will they provide a copy on request? Do they do a risk assessment? Do they quote a British Standard - if so it should be BS3998. What happens to the branches and timber? Everything should be removed if you want. What about the mess - will they clear up? You should be able to keep your logs at no extra charge. Can they advise about Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and Conservation Areas? (Some trees are protected by law). Who will be responsible for obtaining permission for the work if the trees are protected? Be very cautious if you find people soliciting work door to door. Using only a mobile phone number or can not be traced to a permanent address. And finally: Always get at least 2 quotes. If they insist on cash without a receipt, give them a miss. Never pay until the job is complete! The feel good factor... Do you feel confident about the person you meet? If the answer is yes and you have been given appropriate answers to the questions above, hopefully you will have chosen a good tree surgeon!

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Choosing a Tree Surgeon