How to Hire an Arborist

What Does an Arborist Do?

Arborists are tree care professionals licensed by the State of Connecticut who can help with the selection, maintenance, care and removal of trees and shrubs in residential, commercial and public landscapes. They are trained in all aspects of woody plant health and care, including diagnosis and treatment of diseases, insect infestations and environmental problems. They can safely climb up into tall trees to prune limbs, and will cut, chip and remove all of the brush. They can recommend watering, fertilizing, pesticide applications, and other cultural programs to help maintain the long-term health and beauty of landscapes. As arborists are licensed by the State of Connecticut, they are required to stay up-to-date with the latest advances in tree biology, care and treatment.

How Do You Find an Arborist?

Start by asking your friends and neighbors if they have had recent dealings with a tree care professional, and who they recommend. Although word of mouth may be the best of advertising, arborists are also listed in the “yellow pages” under TREES. You can also find registered arborist businesses in Connecticut by using our Find an Arborist Business‘ link.

Call and arrange for visits by more than one company, so that you can compare their knowledge, experience, services, and charges.

What Should You Expect from the Initial Visit and Diagnosis?

During the initial visit, an arborist will walk around the property and discuss your needs and the services that he or she can provide. The arborist should be able to answer most of your questions, but may not have all of the answers immediately. Tree health is a complicated field of study.  No one knows it all. A good arborist will collect samples, consult other experts and references when warranted, and base recommendations on the results of proper diagnostic procedures.

Other Considerations

The initial visit is also a good time to ask about the arborist’s credentials. In the State of Connecticut only licensed arborists may advertise, solicit or contract to prune, cable, fertilize, or spray trees on a commercial basis. It is OK to ask to see proof that the arborist is properly licensed by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.


Connecticut law also requires all companies with employees to have workman’s compensation insurance. Arborists should also have general liability insurance. Request a copy of their certificate of insurance as proof of coverage.

Professional Affiliations

Ask the arborist about membership in any professional organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture, the Tree Care Industry Association or the Connecticut Tree Protective Association. In addition to providing the opportunity for continuing education, membership in these organizations is an indication of a personal commitment to the science and art of tree care.


Ask for a list of people or companies the arborist has worked for in the past. Check with at least a few of these before committing to services.

A Written Proposal

At the close of the visit, ask the arborist to submit a written proposal including:

  • An exact description of the work to be performed on each tree
  • Pesticide label information, if pesticides are to be used
  • Clean-up specifications – including disposition of wood, brush, chips, etc.
  • A price, including tax
  • The date, or range of dates, during which the work will be completed
  • The business’s name, address and phone number, and the arborist’s name, license number and signature