Knock, knock… Who’s really there?
What do you really know about the person trusted with your landscape?
When you hire a landscape professional to install trees or shrubs what questions do you ask? The obvious questions would be focused around appropriate trees or shrubs for your conditions,the size of the plant at maturity, or even disease resistance. Have you ever thought to ask how that professional plants trees and shrubs?
Check out your professionals qualifications
As an ISA Certified Arborist, and a Plant Health Care professional I can’t tell you how many times a homeowner has told me, ” well a landscaper planted it”. In response I usually state, What exactly is required to represent yourself as a landscaper? A sign on a truck? This is true, anyone can make the claim that they can install a tree or a shrub. What is truly important is do they have the experience and knowledge of how to handle the tree from the nursery to your property, then to install that plant so that it will live to its fullest potential with your site conditions. There is more to consider than just digging a hole and putting the tree in it. My suggestion is to be sure to ask the important questions about your professionals qualifications.
Ask the important questions
So what are the important questions to ask before hiring a landscape professional? I’m glad you asked. The first thing that is important to find out would be, what is their experience? If they don’t have the ability to select a tree or shrub for your site, and then properly install that plant, then nothing else really matters. So ask them what plant would be well suited for your conditions. Also ask them how they would install the plant. This makes a huge difference of how the plant is handled, and how it is planted. Every homeowner who has trees and shrubs planted should be aware that there are set standards for working with plants. These are industry minimal standards that must be met for the tree or shrub to thrive in the average landscape. Your landscape professional should be aware of these standards, but not only that, they should make them a part of their daily protocol when they offer planting or transplanting services.
Standards? What standards?
Your selected landscape professional shouldn’t look at you like a deer in the headlights when you mention planting standards. These Industry standards are called “ANSI A300 (Part 6) – 2012 Transplanting (includes Planting)” or just ANSI A300 Part 6 Standards. These guidelines layout the minimum standards to properly plant trees and shrubs, and your selected professional should be following them. If not, then I’ll be waiting for your call to diagnose why your plant is failing. So be smart and select a professional that follows ANSI A300 Part 6 standards. You have more then just money invested in your planting. In addition to money you are investing time for the tree or shrub to mature, and time can’t be replaced, so lets do it right the first time.
Now the rest of the questions…
Now that we have addressed the most important question, and we know that our professional is capable of installing your tree or shrub, or not, we can now ask the other questions. I would suggest asking the following.
- Are you licensed or certified?
- What references can you provide?
- Do you have proof of insurance and bonding?
- When can you start and finish the project?
- Will you provide a contract with details of the work and final price?
Beyond these questions I would suggest googling the company name and do social media searches to discover what others are saying about this company or individual before you commit to any contract for services. Do your due diligence and check out who is possibly going to work for you. Landscape plants can be a huge investment, lets avoid wasting time and money, do the research and ask the questions, then follow your gut feeling with what you have found out. Be smart and only work with true professional.