As the summer winds down and fall approaches, we look forward to the vivid colors of leaves on deciduous trees against the contrast of large, dark evergreens. This spectacle of color will last around two months, peaking in mid-October in Missouri. This display is admired by many and even sparks weekend tours of the countryside to enjoy breathtaking, panoramic views.
These beautiful and hard-working trees are found in parks and conservation areas, and they likely even live on your property. And just like people, trees benefit from an annual check-up.
As the fall leaves prepare to drop, consider calling your local tree expert for advice. Look no further than an ISA Certified Arborist. These professionals help maintain your investment in your trees, landscape, and home with timely and appropriate care for your trees.
What is the ISA?
Founded in 1924, the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is an international nonprofit organization that serves the tree care industry as a scientific and educational resource. In addition to fostering a better understanding of trees and tree care through research and the education of professionals, the organization provides credentialing for qualified practitioners in the field of arboriculture.
“Through research, technology, and education, the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) promotes the professional practice of arboriculture and fosters a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees,” the ISA website states. “This is our passion and serves as our mission statement.”
ISA Certified Arborists are Knowledgeable, Trained Professionals
Accredited by the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB), the ISA Certified Arborist credential shows that a tree care professional has attained a level of knowledge in areas such as tree biology, diagnosis, maintenance practices, safety, and other subject and practice areas.
Further, certification demonstrates a level of dedication to the field and professional development, as candidates must have a minimum of three years of full-time experience in arboriculture or a combination of education and practical arboricultural experience before they can take the certification exam.
ISA Certified Arborists are tested in 10 areas, including:
- Soil Management
- Identification and Selection
- Installation and Establishment
- Safe Work Practices
- Tree Biology
- Diagnosis and Treatment
- Urban Forestry
- Tree Protection
- Tree Risk Management
An ISA certified arborist meets an experience level in the industry and is required to recertify every three years either by reexamination or with qualified continuing education units (CEUs).
Perhaps more importantly, those who hold the certification operate under a strict code of ethics. This code demands arborists deliver safe and competent services, complying with all acceptable professional standards and policies. This code also requires arborists make a reasonable effort to provide referrals if they are unable to provide assistance.
In short, certified arborists have made a serious commitment to the industry and to those they serve.
What Can My ISA Certified Arborist Do?
Some topics you may want to discuss with an arborist include:
- Fertilization: Fall is a great time to add a slow release fertilizer to your trees and shrubs to help extend their life through the season. Deep Root Fertilization may also be something to consider adding to your annual calendar. This fertilization injection feeds nutrients deep into the tree roots, providing nutrients, stimulating growth, building disease resistance, and has a host of other benefits.
- Insect damage and treatment: Now is the right time to see what pests are currently or have been present on your trees, and to plan for the future. Arborists can help with preventive care and maintenance so trees can better defend themselves against damage from insects and disease.
- Mulching and leaf cleanup: Sometimes we, as homeowners, inadvertently clean up too much debris, robbing our trees of vital nutrients they need that are typically delivered through their dropped leaves. Arborists know what and how much to clean up, when, and how to best provide nutrients trees need. Mulch rings on smaller trees will help keep other vegetation from taking their nourishment and help hold the appropriate amount of moisture.
- Tree damage and dead wood removal: Storms from throughout the year could have damaged trees and may have even gone unnoticed. This can be extremely dangerous if limbs fall and hit a home, vehicle, or power lines. Removing dead limbs or trees now can prevent damage or injury to people and property.
- Tree pruning: An ISA Certified Arborist can help keep your trees growing in a healthy shape and get them ready for a great start to the next season. Removing weak limbs, shaping the canopy, and thinning branches can all help improve a tree’s overall health.
- Cabling and bracing: Sometimes, a tree needs extra support. This procedure applies strong cables to hold weak or damaged branches and limbs in place, supporting the tree where needed to continue a good growth trajectory.
- Planting new trees: Don’t forget that fall is a great time to plant new trees. An ISA Certified Arborist can advise you on what to plant, where, and how to set your trees up for success. They can also get you set up on a maintenance plan to help keep them thriving for years to come.
Your Trees Are Worth It
There’s no arguing that trees add value and protection to your home, but they can be difficult to maintain on your own. DIY solutions are available, but they are time consuming and could even be dangerous if you are not experienced and you don’t have the right tools. Your trees, home and property are with the investment of working with an ISA Certified Arborist.
It’s also important to note that there are a lot of companies that may refer to themselves as “experts,” but without proof – such as with an ISA certification – they could be a liability to both you and your trees. Be sure to ask questions about insurance coverage and verify their coverage not only for property damage but, importantly, for their employees as well.