From Magnolias to Maples, Here’s Who to Call for Safe Tree Removal

Lawrence Bonk
Written by Lawrence Bonk
Updated March 1, 2022
Man in safety harnesses and helmet cuts down large tree
Photo: Benjamin Clapp / Adobe Stock

Before you can yell “timber!” you need to know who to hire

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Trees can add value to your property and are a beautiful sight. But between problem-causing roots and yards filled with leaves, trees aren’t always a good thing.

Even though you fell in love with that huge, shade-providing tree in your frontyard, leaning, damaged, and diseased trees are unsightly and potentially dangerous to your lawn as well. If you have compared tree care versus tree removal and decided to get rid of unwanted evergreen, you need to hire a pro. But who do you call for tree removal? Your best bet is a licensed and certified arborist.

Benefits of Hiring a Certified Arborist for Tree Removal 

Whether your maple tree has overstayed its welcome or your palm tree is past its prime, knowing who to call for professional tree removal is important. 

Here’s a look at the benefits of hiring a local arborist for tree removal. 

Licensed and Certified 

Even the simplest tree removal jobs have unforeseen obstacles, as roots stretch well beyond the confines of the tree. Luckily, licensed arborists receive yearly training to keep their licenses active, so they can easily handle even the toughest jobs.

Certification indicates a level of experience and expertise as well, and certified arborists have at least three years working in the professional tree care industry and that they have passed a thorough examination. 

Specialized Tools 

Tree removal requires specialized tools, some of which are simply not available to the average homeowner. These tools include chainsaws, felling wedges, and, in some cases, actual cranes. A certified arborist should know their way around any and all tools and instruments needed for tree removal. 

Insurance

This is a big one. Trees are unpredictable. If the tree falls and causes damage to your property, or even your neighbor’s property, during the removal process, liability insurance is a must. Otherwise, the damages come out of your pocket.

Permits

Tree removal requires permits from local regulatory agencies in nearly all cases. Acquiring these permits is annoying at best, so let the professional handle it for you. 

Debris Removal 

Some arborists remove associated debris as part of the overall cost, though some charge an extra fee. Hauling away trunks, large branches, and other big pieces of debris is time-consuming and nearly impossible if you don’t have a truck and related tools.

Can I DIY Tree Removal?

Worker cutting and removing trees from yard
Photo: ChuckS / Adobe Stock

Now that you know who to call for professional tree removal, let’s talk about whether it’s safe for you to do it yourself or not. 

Tree removal is on the expensive side, as the cost to remove trees is $200 to $2,000. This tempts homeowners toward the DIY route—but exercise caution. 

If you have tree removal experience and the tree is on the smaller side, you can possibly remove it yourself with the correct tools and safety gear. If, however, the tree is taller than 30 feet or within 10 feet from power lines, leave it the pros. You don’t want to open yourself up to personal injury, property damage, or even fines and lawsuits.

Can I Hire a General Contractor to Remove Trees?

You may save a few bucks by calling a general contractor or handyperson for tree removal, but it could actually be illegal, as many areas require certified and licensed arborists to perform the task. 

Even if your handyperson has plenty of tree removal experience, and the certification to prove it, licensing and insurance are also concerns. Be ready to ask any potential tree removal specialist the right questions before going ahead with a job. 

How Do Certified Arborists Remove Trees?

Tree removal is an involved process. First, the arborist inspects the area and comes up with a game plan, determining how cuts impact the structure of the tree and sussing out any issues with the root system. 

Next, they’ll climb the tree and manually cut down branches and related pieces. If determined unsafe, they’ll complete this step with rope, a crane, a bucket truck, or other tools. 

This process repeats until most of the branches are gone, as they will keep some for stability. Finally, the arborist descends the tree and cuts away the trunk and stumps.

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