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Perhaps you have received a leaflet through your door from a local tree surgeon, or maybe you have seen their truck in your street, but how can you choose a reputable company? 
Tree surgeons, also called arborists or arboriculturalists, should be qualified professionals who have the experience and knowledge to handle projects of all sizes. Hiring the wrong company could potentially lead to injury and damage to your property while endangering the health of your trees. 
In this blog, we aim to cover the main points to help you choose a competent and reliable local tree surgeon… 

Why choose a professional tree surgeon? 

Working on trees is dangerous, which is why tree surgeons need to be qualified and possess the right equipment. Professionals will quickly identify the types of trees in your garden and will be able to carry out the work in the safest way possible, including removing all the waste. 
Working on trees is known as arboriculture and requires a high degree of technical competence, supported by training and experience. This is why tree work should only be done by qualified, competent and fully insured arborists. 
Unfortunately, not all tree surgeons are the same, which is why you need to take care when inviting a company onto your property. 

How can you tell if they are competent? 

Anybody can call themselves a tree surgeon and advertise through leaflets or local magazines. Unfortunately, a nice looking advert is no guarantee that their work will be thorough and up to a high standard. 
Here are a few ways you can spot a reputable local tree surgeon: 
They will have certificates from the National Proficiency Tests Council (NPTC) which show that they have been trained and assessed. 
They will often have other academic qualifications in arboriculture. 
They will always use a wide range of safety equipment to protect themselves, you and your property. 
They will be pleased to show you copies of their insurance (employers' and public liability) and qualifications. 
You will receive a written quotation before any work is carried out. 

Contacting a company 

Reputable tree surgeons will not knock on your door offering to do work there and then. They will arrange a convenient time to visit your property and inspect what needs to be done. 
This is an opportunity for you to ask them lots of questions, so you get a feel for them and their business. Good tree surgeons will have a lot of knowledge about tree species, including how and when to work on them. 
Always ask for a no-obligation written quotation, not a verbal estimate as the price might change once they start doing the job. Check that the quotation includes waste disposal and VAT. You might also want to ensure that they will leave your property clean and tidy. 
If you have a wood burner or fire pit, you might wish to keep the logs. Ask about this and it might reduce the cost of the job. If you need a tree to be felled, ask if the stump will be removed too and make sure this is included in the quotation. 
Finally, never pay for work until the job is complete. 

Other things to consider 

Prior to any work, it is important to check whether any of your trees are legally protected. If so, there will be certain legal obligations that must be met before any work can commence. Your local council will be able to check the legal status of your tree 
Please note: before you undertake any tree work, you need to be aware of the bird nesting season. You can find out more by reading our blog post on bird nesting

For more information 

Branching Out Tree and Garden Services has NPTC and Lantra qualified local tree surgeons who cover the North Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire area. If you require professional help and advice, contact us today. 
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