“The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) is the trade association of more than 2,000 commercial tree care firms and affiliated companies. TCIA develops safety and education programs, standards of tree care practice, and management information for arboriculture firms around the world. Through TCIA’s Accreditation Program, consumers can be assured of hiring a professional, ethical tree care company that has been inspected by TCIA for proper business practices, professional employees, and quality service and customer satisfaction”. (1)
You can read more about TCIA Accreditation at this link: http://www.tcia.org/TCIA/BUSINESS/Accreditation_/TCIA/BUSINESS/Accreditation/Accreditation.aspx
Mead Tree & Turf Care was the first tree care company in Maryland to receive TCIA Accreditation, initially in 2005, and again at 3 year reviews in 2008, 2011, and 2014. The accreditation process has helped our company strive for the highest standards of customer service and safety, and we look forward to providing our customers with the best tree and landscape care possible.
During the winter months, most people are content to be indoors, and don’t give much thought to their yards or trees. However, you might consider inspecting your trees once the leaves have fallen. There are many reasons that winter is an excellent time to prune deciduous trees. The exposed branches make it much easier for an arborist to identify and correct structural problems, and to remove dead or diseased limbs. Pruning in winter is also more environmentally friendly, creating less waste and less damage to yards due to the frozen ground.
Mature trees can be pruned in winter to make them more structurally sound and less prone to future storm damage. Poor branching structure increases the chances of failure during heavy snow fall, ice storms, or windy days. Dead, broken, or diseased branches should also be removed. If removal of a particular limb will destroy the shape of the tree, support cabling can be installed to improve the stability of the limb. Pruning in winter also prepares the tree for a good start up in the spring, as energy stores will not be wasted on unhealthy material. In addition, cut wounds have the opportunity to compartmentalize without the risk of attracting sap-loving insects. Corrective pruning can also be accomplished more easily in the winter. This can include removing branches that aren’t growing as we’d like, interfere with other branches, rub against a building, or overhang a walkway or roof. The result will be a healthier and safer plant.
Young trees should be pruned to provide good structure for future growth. Structure pruning establishes a dominant central stem (reducing or eliminating co-dominance) and branch spacing, reduces stress on weak tight V crotches, removes or reduces rubbing and crossing limbs and dead or diseased limbs. This will result in improved tree health and reduce the overall cost of maintenance pruning throughout the life of the tree. Reducing co-dominant stems may change the aesthetics of an individual tree short term, but this will allow the dominant stem to fill in where the reduction was made. Structural pruning done on small trees during the spring and summer creates holes in the canopy that can be unsightly. However, pruning in the winter gives the tree a chance to fill in holes during spring leaf out. This makes the tree look more balanced and gives it a fuller canopy earlier in the season. Young trees are full of vigor and respond well to structure pruning. Generally pruning cuts in young trees are small, allowing for complete wound closer much faster than larger pruning cuts in mature trees. Structure pruning is best achieved in stages beginning within 1 to 2 years of planting, once the root system has established itself and then in 2 to 3 years and again in 3 to 4 years. Once good structure has been achieved and trees reach maturity the pruning cycle is about 6 to 10 years. When trees are dormant during the winter months, it is an ideal time to inspect and correct young tree structure.
When considering tree care, it is important to protect yourself as a consumer from fraudulent or unqualified companies. Tree care in Maryland is regulated by the state government, and is monitored by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Company owners are required to have a tree expert license, and to adhere to all laws regarding the care and removal of tree. These laws protect your trees from damage, and protect you from financial loss and liability issues. Tree Care encompasses all types of pruning, removal, and chemical work.
The Maryland Tree Expert Law addresses tree care work done for compensation on private or public property in Maryland. The purpose of the law is to provide a layer of consumer protection by licensing qualified and insured tree care companies and individuals. Anyone seeking to practice or advertise tree care services in the State of Maryland must obtain a license from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Without a license, they may not practice or advertise tree care services in the state. To obtain a license, the applicant must possess adequate and related college education plus one year of experience under a LTE or have five years’ experience under a Licensed Tree Expert (LTE), then have passed an exam and carry adequate amounts of liability and property damage insurance. The license is a two year license renewed in December.
There are other ways to assure that the company you hire will provide the quality you expect. Credentials such as an ISA certified arborist on staff, TCIA accreditation, and CTSP certification will help assure that the company has trained personnel, high safety standards, adequate insurance, and dispute resolution policies. A good company should be happy to provide evidence of their credentials. State law also requires companies to provide written estimates and limits the amount of money that may be required in advance as a deposit. Verbal agreements and large prepayment requirements are a sure sign that something is amiss.
Unfortunately, there are still many small tree companies operating without a license. These companies are often those that offer “a great price”, most likely because they do not carry the adequate insurance required to receive licensing, or are not using the proper equipment to do the job safely. Make sure the company you hire is licensed. Go to the Maryland DNR website for more information or to check licensing status: http://dnr.maryland.gov/forests/Pages/programapps/newtreeexpert.aspx