Frequently Asked Questions

What is an ISA Certified Arborist?

ISA Certified Arborists have passed a standardized industry test and had a minimum of one year of on-the-job experience. ISA Certified Arborist are individuals who have shown they know about the art and science of tree care through both experience and by passing a comprehensive examination developed by some of the nations leading experts on tree care. Certified Arborists must also continue their education to maintain their certification.

What does ISA stand for?

ISA stands for International Society of Arboriculture. Through research, technology, and education, the International Society of Arboriculture promotes the professional practice of arboriculture and fosters a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees. Find out more info at:

MYTH: Topping trees makes them safer because a short tree is a safe tree.

FACT: Topping trees damages the trees defense system, destroys the normal aesthetic beauty, and changes the structure of the trunk, and tree, forever. Topped trees are trees that have been cut back using large cuts at points designed to make the tree smaller without enhancing or forethought to the future structural integrity and growth response. Trees that have been topped actually become UNSAFE, or increasingly hazardous, over time. Topped trees have to rely on using stored energy because the canopy is gone. The leaves are the food factories. Many trees resprout profusely after topping in an attempt to regain their canopy. This uses up stored energy that could otherwise be used on wood decay resistance and wood strength. The resprouts from topping cuts can result in many competing branches all with weak attachments. A topped tree is more prone to attack by pests and pathogens because its normal state of being has been so disrupted (it’s stressed) and doesn’t have enough vigor and vitality to fight off disease.

Is the big tree next to my house dangerous?

This depends on many factors. Not all tree species have the same wood strength, and ability to wall off decay. What species is your tree? Is your tree in a current state of good health? Has there been any root zone construction or disturbance in the last 5-10 years? Are there dead branches and/or signs of wood decay fungus, like mushrooms? If you have concerns, then call us. We can identify potential risks and outline choices to reduce, and mitigate any hazardous situations.

What should I know about stump grinding?

A stump grinder is a 3-ft wide self propelled machine with spinning teeth that grinds away a stump turning it into wood chips. Stump grinding can remove a stump to below the ground surface so that grass or mulch can then be applied to a more uniform ground surface. Stump grinding is also necessary when replanting needs to occur in the same location, Trees removed, for example in sidewalk planting strips should be replaced with a new tree. For tree species prone to resprouting, stump grinding can remove the living stump to 8-12-inches below ground usually stopping any resprouting. But not all stumps can be accessed by a stump grinder and not all stumps need to be ground out. A stump can be cut at ground level and then covered with mulch. Allowed to break down over time, stumps and roots provide nutrients as they break down, acting like slow release fertilizer. Contact us for a free estimate.

Why would I want to convert my tree into a wildlife snag?

In the urban environment, very few dead trees, large downed logs or old root balls are left to provide structural habitat and forage features for wildlife species. A wildlife snag is some portion of standing trunk left when a tree is removed. Instead of cutting the tree all the way down to ground level, a 10-25-ft portion of trunk is left. Avid bird watchers please note – wildlife snags are bird magnets!

Can I cut branches from my neighbor’s tree that overhang onto my property?

Yes, by law you have the right to prune limbs that overhang over the property line. Only up to the property line and you can’t go onto the neighbor’s property or cut the tree so severely that it destroys the tree. We find it best to talk with your neighbor first and explain the situation and what you would like to have done. This way as arborists we can make proper cuts by not having to leave stubs and good neighbor relations stay intact.

Why do the tops of my White Birch trees look like they are dying?

If your birch tree looks like it is dying from the top down it could be from a serious pest called the Bronze Birch Borer, Anxius Anxius gory. This insect has greatly expanded its range in Washington and the birch tree is the primary host of the borer. Chlorotic leaves and sparse upper branches are some of the first symptoms. Lumpy bark and half moon-shaped beetle exit holes can be seen under close examination. The tunnels created by the beetles under the bark girdle the branches and could kill that portion and eventually the whole tree. The bronze birch borer larvae attacks trees that are weakened from other factors such as bad site condisions, weather, old age or prior insect attacks. To prevent beetle infestations one should keep trees healthy with a regular schedule for fertilization (low nitrogen)and watering. Mulch is very beneficial because it moderates soil temperature and moisture levels as well as a slow release fertilizer. Also prune out any sick or dying limbs, which should then be burned or chipped up to kill any larvae inside.