Arboriculture with a natural future

Consumer Advice

Your trees are the most valuable plants in your garden. Poor advice or poor quality tree surgery and pruning damages trees both short and long term. Bad advice can also be catastrophic for your trees. Defects failing that could have been prevented can lead to incidents that you will be liable for. James Pinder recommends the following tips to avoid getting "stung by a Rogue".

There are several things to bear in mind when employing a tree consultant or tree work contractor:

  • Are they insured? - ask for proof! Does the policy cover what they are proposing to do and the staff on site?
  • Are they qualified? - NPTC qualifications only cover basic practical skills. They are not a measure of individual knowledge of specific tree health problems and correct use of equipment.
  • Reputation? - Ask your local tree officer, the arboricultural association or friends if the intended company have a good or bad reputation in your area.
  • Do and can they display a level of expertise in the procedure you intend to use them for?
  • Documents? - Do they relate to what they are doing? Photo ID?
  • Any reputable contractor or consultant can show documents.
  • Use a kown local contractor who's work you have seen if at all possible.

Things to avoid:

  • Anyone who knocks your door offering "to prune or fell your trees because it is diseased". Especially now Ash Die back (Chalara fraxinea) is spreading across the UK not to mention many other pest and diseases rogues will use to get you to part with your money.
  • Anyone who appears to be an opportunist or rogue - this is often obvious if they are not appropriatley dressed for the task.
  • Anyone forcing you to commit there and then. Shut the door and ring for help.
  • Anyone alledging its causing damage without checking with a recognised arborist or professional in the the chosen field.
  • Elevated pricing for straight forward jobs. Check with friends and colleagues to see what they have paid.
  • Anyone who can't answer your questions about your trees and shrubs. Most professionals will be able to answer a whole range of detailed questions without fuss or fluster.
  • Someone offering to "do it right now" for best price. Tree work is a hazardous occupation and all work requires appropriate time to plan and assess jobs.


  • Get written quotes.
  • Keep a record of all information supplied.
  • Check credentials.
  • Ask a friend to be with you if they offer a quote at a later date and you feel intimidated.