Your Trees Need Pros: What to Check

Jay "Mike" Souder speaks out
Jay “Mike” Souder speaks out

I’ve seen too many poorly serviced trees locally. As a long-time Howard County resident I want to share with my neighbors some reasons to seek out a licensed professional, and what to expect of your tree service provider.

Proper care is essential to tree health. Healthy attractive trees help to define your property and increase its value, by as much as 20 percent according to some studies. Poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability, not only to property value but also in terms of safety.

Hiring a tree service provider is not simply selecting the guy with the lowest price. Look for a true pro — licensed by the state as a tree expert, and ideally also certified as an arborist by the International Society for Arboriculture. Certified arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees. We must meet strict eligibility requirements in order to be licensed and to be certified. Ongoing education and proper insurance coverage is mandatory in order to maintain our credentials.  

A qualified, licensed arborist / tree expert will:

  •  Gladly provide a certificate of insurance and have all license numbers available for verification
  • Always provide a detailed, written proposal
  • Have available references
  •  Be happy to explain how the job will be approached, what equipment will be used, how many workers will be on site, and how much time it will take to complete the job 
  •  Have the proper professional equipment to get the job done safely and effectively 
  •  Be professional, courteous and showing respect for you and your property (for instance planning properly to protect your lawn)
  •  Never use spikes to climb live trees while trimming (this is illegal) 
  •  Not advertise or promote topping trees 
  •  Practice arborists’ standards in providing the correct type of trimming considering the type and location of trees on your property and only remove trees when necessary 

Finally, folks —

Be careful of anyone who approaches you after a storm seeking to provide tree work, or any other “drive by” business seekers. A reputable company with licensed professionals does not need to go door-to-door to obtain clients.

— J.M. Souder, Tree Pros

 MD Tree Expert License #0057

ISA Master Arborist Cert #3155

MDA Pesticide Applicator Cert # 29103  


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