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Wed, Sept. 18

Ask the contractor: For expert tree care, it's smart to consult an arborist

Q: We just purchased a home in Williamson Valley and there are several varieties of trees on the land. Some look healthy and others look like they are taking their last breath. We were told by the Realtor that we should hire an arborist to inspect the trees and give us care and maintenance measures. Why should we hire an arborist? Tom and Sally, Williamson Valley

A: An arborist is an individual trained in the art and science of planting, caring for and maintaining individual trees. Arborists are extremely knowledgeable about the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to provide proper tree care. In other words, arborists are certified tree doctors, and we are extremely fortunate to have two of the best right here in Yavapai County; Rick Cober with Carescape and Richard Roy of The Joshua Tree and Landscape Company. Both of these gentlemen have achieved their knowledge through experience and by passing a comprehensive examination developed by some of the nation's leading experts on tree care. Certified arborists must also continue their education to maintain their certification and adhere to a code of ethics.

Hiring an arborist is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Proper tree care is an investment that can lead to substantial returns as well-cared-for trees are attractive and can add considerable value to your property, where on the other hand poorly maintained trees can be a significant liability. Services that arborists can provide to maintain tree health are:

Pruning: An arborist can determine the type of pruning necessary to maintain or improve the health, appearance and safety of trees. Pruning techniques include removing limbs that interfere with utility lines or structures, obstruct streets, are dead, weak or decayed, are diseased or insect-infested, and are damaged by storms.

Tree removal: Although tree removal is a last resort, there are circumstances when it is necessary and an arborist can help decide whether a tree should be removed. Tree removal is determined if a tree is dead or drying, considered an unacceptable risk, causing an obstruction that is impossible to correct through pruning, crowding and causing harm to other more desirable trees and located in an area where new construction requires removal.

Planting: An arborist can recommend what species are appropriate for a particular location. The wrong tree in the wrong location will lead to further problems as a result of limited growing space, insects, diseases or poor growth. It is important to remember "the right tree for the right space." Tree function, form and size, site conditions, soil conditions, drainage, space constraints, human and pet activity, and pest problems are all things that should be considered when planting a tree - not just plopping the tree into the ground and/or selecting a tree just because it has nice foliage.

Tree health: An arborist will offer tree healthcare and/or preventive maintenance to keep trees in good health while reducing insect, disease or site problems. Fertilization and soil recommendations are offered for improved tree health, soil aeration to improve root growth and applications to manage certain insect and disease problems are services offered by an arborist.

Soil conditions: In dense urban areas and new subdivisions, soil is often disturbed, shallow, compacted and subject to drought. Most trees will suffer in these conditions without additional care. An arborist can take soil samples from your yard and test for texture, fertility, salinity and pH and from the results of these tests, you can determine which trees are suited for your property.

Whether or not you already have existing trees on your property or you are considering planting trees, an arborist can assist you with tree selection. Taking into consideration the factors above, you can ensure the trees in your yard and the new ones you plant will grow and function as desired. In order to help your trees reach their full potential, give our local arborists a call. Rick can be reached at 777-8519 and Richard can be reached at 567-4064. Both of these guys love talking about trees and are the best tree huggers we could have.

Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to ycca@cableone.net or through www.ycca.org.

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