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Understanding the Difference Between a Commerical Arborist and a Consulting Arborist

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Do you Need a Commercial Arborist or a Consulting Arborist?

Arborist Katy Bigelow shares details on commercial arborists and consulting arborists. As a consulting arborist, she’s worked on a lot of trees. And she’s worked with a lot of commercial arborists. But let’s let Katy help you understand more about the differences in tree care professionals. That way you can make better choices when you hire the right tree service.

Arborist Katy Bigelow on Various Tree Care Professionals

Consulting Arborist, Katy, at Work

Consulting Arborist, Katy, at Work

Proper tree care is an investment that can lead to substantial returns. Well managed trees are attractive and can add considerable value to your property. However, poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability. Therefore you might be starting to see why the decision to hire a tree care company should not be taken lightly.

An arborist by definition is…

An arborist by definition is an individual who is trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining individual trees. Moreover, certified arborists achieve a high level of knowledge in science of tree care. And that means at least three years experience. Plus, they must pass a comprehensive examination developed by some of the nation’s leading tree care experts. As well, they must continue their education to maintain their certification.

Commercial arborist or Consulting arborist?

There is a real difference between a commercial arborist and a consulting arborist.
To begin, most commercial tree care companies provide a wide range of arboriculture services. These may include tree care work such as tree pruning, removal, fertilization, problem diagnosis, and other tree care tasks.

On the other hand, most consulting arborists provide a wide range of consulting arboriculture services. These include services such as hazard tree assessment, tree appraisal, expert witness testimony, problem diagnosis, management plan recommendations, and other consulting tasks.

The main difference between consulting and commercial arborists…

Commercial Arborist Removing Tree

Commercial Arborist Removing Tree

The main difference between the two tree services is:

A consulting arborist will spend typically more time on a tree or site assessment. And a consulting arborist may perform diagnostic testing. As well, they usually go into much greater detail than a commercial arborist. So the consultant’s “product” is usually a report of findings and recommendations.

The commercial arborist is a tree care professional who specializes in the physical care of your trees.
That means the commercial arborist’s “product” is composed of services. And these services include  pruning, removal, cabling or other treatment performed for a tree.

And a final note on tree care from Katy…

If you have tree concerns, I suggest you think about why it may be valuable to hire someone to talk about the problems they see.  Moreover, consider why you might want to hire someone who doesn’t have a vested interest in getting you to pay for services like pruning.

Don’t tree care companies have consulting arborists on staff?

While some consultants are affiliated with a tree care service, most are not.

Here on Bainbridge Island where my work is focused (and outside of large cities) it may be hard to find a consultant who is not affiliated with a tree care company. But, in my opinion, it may be worth your time to investigate your options.

Need more help and information about Consulting Arborists?

You can find out more information about consulting arborists by visiting the American Society of Consulting Arborists or the Pacific Northwest chapter of the ISA.

And if you’d like to learn more about Katy, visit her website here.

3 comments on “Understanding the Difference Between a Commerical Arborist and a Consulting Arborist

  1. Santa Clarita on

    I didn’t even realize there was such a thing as a consulting arborist. I guess I assumed all arborists consult in what’s best for the trees. I just learned something new!

  2. Oscar Morrison on

    It’s good to know that there are distinctions between different types of arborists, like how commercial arborists will focus more on the physical care of the tree and consulting arborists will do more to diagnose the tree. I’ve been getting worried about the tree in my front yard as it’s been growing closer to the powerlines on my street. I want the tree to stay alive and well, so I’ll probably hire someone to come take a look and see what we can do to keep it healthy.

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