Contact a Tree Professional
Who can I contact to give advice on or carry out work on a tree?
It is important that advice given in respect of trees is correct and from reliable professionals. If you need specialist arboricultural services, it may help to understand the difference between arboricultural consultants and contractors.
Good tree management is about more than just tree work. It is about assessing trees knowledgably, and only then implementing the minimum amount of tree work really necessary. This principle is set out in the British Standard BS 3998: 2010 Tree Work – Recommendations, and in the Tree Council’s publication ‘Amenity Trees & Woodlands: A Guide to their Management in Ireland’.
A competent Arboricultural Consultant is a tree professional who, through relevant education, training and experience, has gained recognised qualifications and expertise in providing management advice about trees. A consultant will usually be independent of contracting (tree surgery) work interests and will be qualified in arboriculture to an equivalent degree level of an architect or engineer. Consultants provide reports on the condition and management of important landscape trees and may recommend and specify tree work where it is required. The work recommended by the consultant can then be tendered for by several contractors. Specific subjects on which arboricultural consultants will commonly advise include tree health, assessing trees for hazard and where appropriate specifying remedial work, investigating cases where trees are alleged to be involved in structural damage to buildings, investigating accidents caused by tree failure, providing advice in relation to planning and tree preservation law, providing advice in relation to trees and development, designing arboricultural features and formulating tree and woodland management plans. Arboricultural consultants can assist law firms, insurance companies, utilities, land developers, local authorities, landscape planners and architects, homeowners, individuals and organisations requiring authoritative knowledge and perspective on trees.
Competent Tree Work Contractors (colloquially known as ‘tree surgeons’) must at least have NPTC (National Proficiency Tests Council) Certificates of Competence indicating that they have been trained and assessed in the practical work operations which they undertake, such as tree pruning and felling. Managers and foremen will often have additional craft level qualifications in arboriculture, such as the ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) Certified Arborist, or higher technical certificates or diplomas. Services typically provided by a tree work contractor are tree maintenance including pruning, shaping, reducing, bracing or fertilising operations, tree felling and dismantling and removal of dangerous trees or trees in confined spaces, stump removal, high hedge cutting, pest and disease identification and control, tree planting and transplanting. Contractors will use specialist safety equipment and risk management procedures to protect you, your property and themselves. It is essential that contractors hold adequate public and employer’s liability insurance. Contractors may provide ‘free estimates’ and also some preliminary advice.
The main professional body for the arboriculture industry in Ireland & the UK is the Arboricultural Association (www.trees.org.uk). The Irish Branch of this organisation can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also seek the services of a tree professional by checking out the Golden Pages telephone directory under the heading of ‘Tree Services’.