Tree care is dangerous work and choosing a certified arborist is prudent both for your own safety and for the health of your trees. When large trees need to be pruned, never let someone use climbing spikes. Never, ever trust a drive-by tree service with a pick-up truck and a chainsaw.

Tree care should always be provided by a certified arborist. Arborists are trained in the identification, diagnosis and care of trees. They understand how to provide proper tree care safely.

Tips for selecting a certified arborist.

  • Look for the ISA Certified Arborist logo.
  • Make sure arborists are aware about any permits they may need to get before performing work.
  • Ask for proof of workers’ compensation and personal and property damage insurance. Verify that each policy is current by calling insurance carriers. This helps protect you from liability related to injuries or property damages that may result from tree work.
  • Call references and visit their sites to see finished work.
  • Get written estimates, even there is a charge to have an estimate completed.
  • Ensure that estimates include credentials, written scope of work, and all costs.
  • Compare quotes on the basis of services to be performed and costs for each service.
  • If a certified arborist only performs consultations, ask for recommendations for arborists who do the work themselves. Then, compare quotes with each other.

How to find a certified arborist?

There are a number of ways to find a certified arborist in Georgia.  Either through reliable word of mouth or through the web page listings of either the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) or the Georgia Arborist Association (GAA).

When conducting your search for a certified arborist it is important to know what type of arborist service you are considering as there are a number of services that a certified arborist may provide – from appraisals and assessments to pruning and/or removals. The ISA’s website,” has arranged their Certified arborist directory search portal by country (they are international) then state, city or zip code, and nearness of location.  Once you have narrowed the list you may have to contact a number of them to see what services they provide. Should your search come up empty you may need to expand your search criteria to include the nearest larger city and pare the listing down from there.

The GAA’s website,” also has a listing for arborists although not all individuals listed are ISA certified arborists. You will need to narrow your search under the “advanced search” box by selecting your county.  All Certified arborists will have an ISA code under their name with the services they provide listed in the adjacent column.  Again, if you don’t see the service you are seeking you will have to contact the arborist directly.

Some homeowners will be searching for a certified arborist who is not attached to a tree care company and can provide an unbiased assessment of their tree’s condition and.  This may be difficult and may involve contacting arborist directly to determine if they provide the specific service you are seeking.  Sometimes, when you do find an arborist not attached to a tree care company, they work for a county or municipality and do not conduct assessments on private property.

The Georgia Forestry Commission does not maintain a list of arborists for private hire.

Tips on contracting with an arborist.

When you are ready to select an arborist make sure to have a signed contract and ensure that work only starts after a contract is signed by both parties.

Read contracts carefully before signing. Make sure contracts say:

  • when work will start and end
  • which party is responsible for cleanup
  • the total price
  • the certified arborist’s hourly rate for additional work approved by the customer

Homeowner Resources

Check out these resources for maintaining your trees.

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
1. GA Tree Owners Manual

From Planting to Maintenance

5. How to Plant Trees – A Homeowner’s Guide

“How do I plant a tree?” This is a common question, and tree planting and establishment guidelines have changed considerably over the past 20 years. Learning how to plant a tree and following proper practices when planting trees can lead to long term benefits from well established plants.

Assessing Soil Water Resource Space

Trees require high quality resources in the correct proportions to perform best. Water, and the soil volume which holds water, are critical to great tree growth.

Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives Research

Take care of the forest, and it will take care of you. As research is being conducted and becoming available, findings reinforce what much of the urban forestry community already knows — that trees have a positive impact on human health. Check out research on why Healthy Trees make Healthy Lives.

External Website
Homeowner’s Role in Maintaining the Urban Forest

Download this guide to get tips on maintaining trees, selecting an arborist and a homeowner tree survey checklist.

How to Water Your Trees

Summer heat often prompts us to wonder how our trees can survive when too little rain falls to keep the grass alive. There are important tips to follow for proper watering and maintenance.

Managing Storm Damaged Trees: Do’s and Don’ts

Check out this resource for the Do’s and Don’ts on how to manage damaged trees from a storm. Includes: how to hire a professional for clean up, chainsaw safety, pruning and maintenance for damaged trees and more.

Planting Container Trees

Containerized trees may come in many different sizes but and are usually available in 1,3,5,7 10 or 15 gallon-sized containers. Ideally, the size diameter of the container should be 8-10 inches for every inch of trunk diameter measured at 6” above the ground.

Proper Tree Mulching

Mulch is organic material placed on the soil’s surface around trees and plants to enhance their growing conditions. Mulch helps maintain soil temperature and moisture, reduce water loss from soil, reduce weed competition, improve soil structure, and give landscapes a clean appearance. Often overlooked, spreading mulch around your trees is one of the easiest and most beneficial techniques that can have great impact on the health and vitality of your trees.

Save Energy – Plant Trees!

This video provides insights into the value of planting trees.

Storm Damaged Trees – Pruning Decision Guide

Right after a hurricane, communities and homeowners need to decide what to do with storm-damaged trees. Although damaged trees may seem to be dying, some trees can be restored, others will need to be removed, and still others will not require any special treatment and can be left alone.

Trees and Drought

Drought is a main contributing factor to shade tree decline. Extended drought can influence the health of shade trees by the loss of absorbing roots.