What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have a science degree in Ornamental Horticulture. I studied agriculture engineering, arboriculture, botany, chemistry, insects, irrigation system design & maintenance, landscape maintenance, nursery operations, organic chemistry, plant itentification, plant pathology, plant propagation, soils, soil and plant tissue analysis. I held a landscape pest control license for 25 years, and I still take the regular training, though I no longer actually perform pest control work. The ISA Arborist Certification requires 30 hours of continuing education every 3 years. It is not a difficult task, and I usually complete 50 hours or more.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
Since each tree job is unique, it's unlikely that I could price a job without seeing the tree and the site. My price is based on an hourly rate. After seeing the job, I can estimate the time it will take, and based on that, I can prepare a fixed-price proposal for prospective clients. I also charge for travel time and mileage beyond a 25 mile radius. If I need assistants, I have family members help me, or I hire workers through Labor Ready, and I charge to recover the cost of the labor and related expenses.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
My family has a background in agriculture. I started out with an interest in gardening and horticulture. I graduated from California Polytechnic University, Pomona in 1977 with a BS degree in Ornamental Horticulture. As trees are the largest and most valuable plants in the ornamental landscape, I began focusing on them. They need specialized care and skills, and you have to get up in the trees to do the work.
I started in general landscape maintenance, then as an ISA Certified Arborist consultant. In my reports I recommended treatments that no tree services were doing--so I started doing them myself.
What types of customers have you worked with?
My most common type of work is quality tree pruning that meets or exceeds the ANSI A300 pruning standards.
I have also been a consultant on all types of residential properties, and have worked on various phases of the development review process to design around and protect trees on construction sites.
When trees are damaged or lost to a fire or other casualty, I do appraisals for insurance purposes.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
I have been pruning a customer's Brazil pepper twice a year for 22 years. The October pruning in 2015 was the 46th time I have pruned it.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
You go to a professional dentist (DDS) for tooth care. You should call an ISA Certified Arborist for tree care.
Dentist : Teeth----
Arborist : Trees
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
The California state contractor's licence for tree service means that the business complies with the law--not with professional standards of practice. There are no questions on the license exam about trees at all. Professionalism in the tree care industry begins with the ISA Certified Arborist or ISA Certified Tree Worker credential. The credential means that the holder has a scientific knowledge of trees and what they need, and have agreed to both to upholding the professional tree industry standards of care (A-300) and the professional code of ethics. Those who say they are in the tree business, but are not certified, have not demonstrated a bare minimum to show that they care about their customers and their trees. Non-professional uncertified tree cutters do immeasurable damage to ornamental trees every day. Don't be a victim of this ignorant quackery.