Suddenly, you notice it. The tree overhanging your business or parking lot is standing at a visibly different angle, or there’s a sudden rash of rot, infection, or fungus around its roots. Perhaps some of the main branches in the crown of the tree have gone dead or the trunk is compromised or even hollow. You start wondering about whether it’s safe to park your car beneath it or if the tree will suddenly release a branch on your roof (or, heaven forbid, a person).
Here in the Pacific Northwest, trees can get to be very large, not just in height, but also in diameter. It might seem like taking down something so large is insurmountable. It’s also been so long since you’ve had any commercial tree removal completed (if ever)—what questions should you ask before committing to such a task?
When starting your research, first make sure you have a conversation with each of the companies you speak with. In cases such as these, where the services and prices for tree removal can vary widely, it’s a good idea to gather more than a few quotes. However, beware of selecting the cheapest choice simply because it’s less expensive. It’s not always the best way to go in this instance. The cheapest option could indicate that company might not have insurance or that your tree won’t be examined by a certified arborist. Lots of mistakes could be made, and it may not be the bargain you’d hoped for. Make sure when you’re gathering quotes to ask for detailed estimates and a plan, in case there are city codes you need to follow even for trees on your own property (such as in the City of Portland).
When you’re ready to begin your research, here are five questions to ask a tree service about commercial tree removal:
Imagine the tree service you chose comes all the way out to your home or business and starts the process, only to discover that your tree actually just needs some major branch trimming or that it’s otherwise salvageable. Will that company still decide to remove the tree because it’s the only thing they know how to do?
Check out their website to see if their idea of curbside appeal matches yours. Some companies will sometimes just “top” the trees or cut off the branches with leaves and leave the bare trunk behind. It’s not frequently done, but it’s best to ask what the workers envision as the final product.
Consider asking about bundling their visit with trimming or inspecting other trees at the same time, saving you some time and effort in the short and the long term.
Ask about the whole process, beginning to end. What kind of tools or equipment will they use? Will they leave a stump, or will they take that out too? (More on that later.) Think about logistics while planning this project as well. If your tree is near your business, can they use the parking lot as a staging area? Or will it be easy or difficult to get their crane or lift (if needed) close enough? How long can they expect the project to take? Make sure you understand the process so you can prepare yourself if one of your flower beds is directly underfoot.
Thinking about this ahead of time will help make things go smoothly, no matter which company you decide on. If the company has experience, they’ll have a good idea of how to proceed, and they can tell you if there’s anything you can do to make the process go as quickly as possible.
Be sure to check to see if hauling away the debris is included in your estimate as well. If one quote is much cheaper than the others you’ve gathered, that might be one of the reasons why!
Ask if they have a certified arborist on their payroll. Arborists complete rigorous training in order to uphold industry standards. They’ll complete a more thorough inspection, and the process of removing your tree will be safer overall. The International Society of Arboriculture is the most recognized institution that grants these certifications, and their designation will usually be that of a general certified arborist. Make sure to ask about insurance information as well.
This is something that may catch you by surprise if your tree removal service isn’t widely experienced. For instance, the City of Portland has many codes pertaining to tree trimming and removal, and most of them involve replanting when it’s done, in order to maintain the urban forest. An experienced tree removal company will know which cities or areas will require certain permits and how to handle them. (Incidentally, Mr. Tree Service is located in Portland, Oregon, and we can guide you through those hoops if they come up.)
Will the stump be removed or ground out at the same time as the rest of the tree?
Generally speaking, a stump should be taken out one way or another, unless your tree professional gives you reasons why it shouldn’t be removed (such as erosion control). Usually, they’ll suggest taking the stump out.
If they recommend stump removal, this is pulling out the stump entirely and digging out all of the major roots. The benefits are that when the whole project is done, you’ll be able to plant a new tree in the same spot, and you won’t have to deal with the stump or the (slowly decomposing) roots later. You’ll be able to start fresh with a new tree in a new hole—there just may be some extra filling in of the hole required.
However, if stump grinding is preferred, there’s a tool to shred the stump, leaving some of the roots behind still in the ground. The process is less intense and less invasive but can leave you with a huge pile of woodchips. Of course, those woodchips could be used in your landscaping and in other parts of the property.
Now that you know what questions to ask, come ask us! We want to help you make your landscape at your business something to admire. Mr. Tree technicians are experienced and efficient, licensed, bonded, and insured. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.