Posted on: 27 July 2016Share
There's a lot more to tree removal and pruning than just getting a chain saw and felling the tree. Unless you're going to work with both feet on the ground and with no danger to yourself of property, getting a professional is recommended. It is not only safer, it allows you to get your tree cut with minimal damage to your and others' property, all variables considered. The following are the most important questions to ask to get the best service.
1. How will they carry out the job?
Cutting down a tree is a risky affair; it gets riskier with bigger trees, tress near houses or power lines and decayed or storm-beaten trees. You want to ensure that the provider has factored in all the variables to ensure minimal collateral damage during and after the felling.
Ask what kind of equipment will be used and how much damage will be caused, if any, e.g. will they need heavy machinery to be driven through your lawn? You should also know how they'll climb the tree – spikes should only be used if the tree is being removed completely, as they can leave unhealthy and unsightly wounds on the stem if all you wanted was some pruning.
Typically, there will be a reconnaissance visit to plan the entire job, and you want to be there for this. Take this time to let them know locations of sensitive things such as your sprinklers and underground plumbing pipes among others. You should also take photos of your compound prior to the work for record-keeping.
2. What is their policy on insurance and safety?
By very nature, a tree in your compound can be cut with disastrous consequences. This risk is compounded if you're near a power line, if the tree is decaying or if the tree borders someone else's property. Big trees may not follow the expected path once felled, and this could damage your and others' property. You should therefore be interested in the company's policy on collateral damage following the process.
Workers should come with complete safety gear (steel toe boots, harnesses if climbing, helmets, goggles and heavy-duty gloves), otherwise do not allow work to proceed. In addition, they should have insurance in case of injury while on your property, otherwise the liability may fall to you.
3. Will they remove the lumber and stump?
Will they clean up afterwards, and how will the felled tree be disposed of? Unless the tree root system is growing close to your home's foundation or the tree is outgrowing the space it's in, you may not need or want to remove the tree stump. However, if the stump will be removed, you need to ensure that this cost is included in your initial estimate. Also, brace yourself for the expected damage to your compound, since tree roots grow wide. You can also ask them to cut down the tree to usable lumber and trim branches to make firewood if you need it. Find out what costs are associated with the different disposal options for the felled tree parts.