DON’T Make This Tree Pruning Mistake: Q’s to Ask a Professional

This is the third blog in a three part series. Visit part one (on why tree topping is harmful) and two (on when and how much is appropriate to trim) here.

So, you’re ready to prune your trees?  Not so fast!

Here at TreePeople, we strongly recommend hiring a professional tree trimming service to ensure your trees are healthy and properly pruned. If you’re thinking about hiring a professional, make sure you ask these four questions before they get near your trees!

1. Are you licensed and bonded?

If so, ask to see a copy of their documents. This ensures that they are covered by insurance!

2. Are you ISA certified?  

Ask for their ISA certification number. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certifies arborists – testing them on pruning and other tree care practices. Don’t be afraid to ask if the crew is trained in ISA practices and supervised by a certified arborist while on the job. To see samples of their work, ask for references!

Ready to hire an ISA Certified Arborist? Find one here.

3. Are you a TCIA (Tree Care Industry Association) Accredited company?

The TCIA program is another certification that can help identify a trustworthy service. However, TCIA specializes in accreditation for companies, not individuals. It ensures tree trimming services  have proper tree care knowledge and follow appropriate business practices!

For a full directory of TCIA accredited businesses, visit this website.

Since trees provide homeowners with plenty of benefits, hiring a professional is a worthwhile investment ensuring that your trees will continue to be healthy and happy!

4. Do you top trees?

This is a trick question, but a good one to ask. If they top, don’t hire them. And if they are ISA or TCIA certified and top trees, report them.

And once you do hire them, make sure you get in writing what they are going to do–specifically, “remove branch “A”, remove all dead wood, etc.” Be sure to take plenty of before photos! They should know that you are serious about proper tree pruning.

Ready to learn more? Visit our website to learn all about proper tree care and maintenance!


  1. Regina Krug   •  

    I have a question about Nellie Stevens trees. I know if you cut the top off, it will stunt their growth, but they will fill in circularly. Is there anyway to help the tree to re-energize and return to the 1 foot a year growth? Our landscape company’s pruning made us sick when we saw the cropped tops. Root feeding? Time? Never gain the fast pace height growth capability?

  2. Tia   •  

    I have found that when a tree on my property begins looking gloomy, the best thing to do is trim or prune. Pruning seems very counter intuitive, but trimming the dead excess off of your trees each year around this time can do wonders for your trees and shrubbery! If you need help finding the right tools, you could visit to find a comprehensive guide to finding the right tools to do the job!!

    Happy Trimming!

  3. Greensboro Tree   •  

    I own a tree service company in Greensboro, NC and I’m always telling people how important it is to trim off the dead areas on their trees and shrubs. Not only does it help to make the tree look more visually appealing (which it should because they’re a big part of a landscape) but it maintains the health of the tree! Nobody wants to lose the trees on their property.

  4. Dean Phillips   •  

    I thought it was great how you said that you should make sure that a potential tree service company has a copy of their licensing and bonding documents. My father has been renovating his property so that he can raise its value and sell it. He has a yard with a lot of trees so it may be beneficial for him to hire a company to go through and make sure his trees are properly pruned.

  5. Bree Ward   •  

    I agree when you said that it’s recommended to hire a professional tree service to ensure healthy and properly pruned trees. Thanks for providing the important factors to consider when hiring a tree service. In the event that I will need to prune my trees, I will definitely remember to ask all those questions when hiring one.

  6. Tree Care Utah   •  

    Very good content on what to ask when looking to hire a professional. I agree not everyone company is created equal, and It is smart, (and necessary) to shop around asking these crucial question. Great article, making these first steps so simple. Thank you!

  7. Prince   •  

    Your article is nice and I agree to hire a professional tree service to ensure properly pruned trees.

  8. amanda mckinley   •  

    I can’t believe how many trees i see topped instead of pruned. I enjoy your articles, theyre knowledgeable and to the point! Thanks!

  9. John Worthington   •  

    Very nicely written and very informative. This blog is not only educative but also very fun to read through. I agree that many people do not inquire about their service provider as they should. This is certainly not the way to do things.

  10. Hey there! Thank you for taking the time to create this very well written and informative article. We recently started a tree business and we have already met with a lot of people who tried pruning themselves only to make matters worse. We have always mentioned the importance of hiring a professional and we make sure to provide evidence that we are certified. This was very helpful to us. We look forward to reading more of your articles.

  11. Carmel Lawn Pros   •  

    These questions are spot on. We always tell our Indiana clients not to skip asking these important questions because you wouldn’t want to pay a fee for a team who couldn’t deliver the right results. I’m going to share this list to potential clients so they can also be guided properly. Thanks for this post.

  12. Bloomington Tree Care   •  

    I love this article. Thanks for highlighting these questions. It’s easy to jump right into a tree project without taking the time to knowing who would really handle the project. 🙂 Using this list to ensure we give our clients the tree care they deserve. Thanks!

  13. Daphne Gilpin   •  

    Thanks for the tip to actually ask to see their documents so we can be absolutely sure they’re covered by insurance. My husband and I just moved to a home with a large yard, and we think we’d like to hire a tree care service because neither of us wants to take the time to take care of the trees ourselves. I’m glad I read your article because following your tips will help increase the level of confidence I have in the service that we choose to hire.

  14. Seg   •  

    I appreciate the heads up regarding those companies that top trees, but what is the best approach during a tree removal when the roots have grown across the property line of your neighbor?

  15. Logan Meldrum   •  

    I recently started a small tree removal and tree trimming service, I really appreciate this article because I was unaware of the certifications. Looks like my new goal for next week is to look into getting ISA certified! Thanks a ton! Your article was short yet very informative.

  16. WITreeCare   •  

    Thank you for taking the time to create a list of frequently asked questions and answers. It’s good reminder that us business owners need to keep the clients perspective in mind. We need to make sure that their questions are answered and their concerns heard, first and foremost.

    Please keep up the good work! You do a great job of making a relatively dry subject worth reading about. Thanks!

  17. Amelie Parker   •  

    Hi! This is a very informative & interesting article. Nice to read your blog post first time ever. I really appreciate this post. Thanks for sharing this awesome post.TLC By Ken is also the best Tree care Service provider.

  18. Zach Arthur   •  

    This is a real eye-opener for tree companies and homeowners alike. Tree topping is horrific and should never be used as a trustworthy and reliable way to properly trim trees, thanks for equipping DIYer’s with this information!

  19. Tree Trimming   •  

    Great points, it is extremely important to be licensed and bonded and ISA and TCIA certified.

  20. Skylar Williams   •  

    I had no idea that it was bad to have a tree care company top trees or that it was bad to top trees at all. I have a few dead trees that I need to be carried off and I’ll need an arborist to help me out. I will make sure to ask them if they top trees before hiring one.

  21. Faylinn Byrne   •  

    I really liked your tip about asking to see the professionals documents to make sure they are covered by insurance before letting them work on the trees. I have a couple of pine trees in my backyard that are growing out of control, and with three little children, I do not have the time nor the energy to take care of them. I am so glad I found this article to I can put these ideas and tips into action when I decide on a service to hire to come and look at my trees.

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