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Teaching Consumers the Value of ISA Certified Tree Care Professionals

As ISA Arborists regularly exchange conversation on business websites like LinkedIn and LISTSERV, the issue foremost on their minds concerns arborists/companies competing with those flying “under the radar.”

Verna Mumby of Mumby’s Arboriculture Consulting in Comox, British Columbia, was a 2011 finalist in the ISA True Professionals of Arboriculture program. She says the general public does not know the training, knowledge, and ethical standards required of ISA Certified Arborists and therefore cannot understand the higher value of their work versus that of non-certified tree workers. A tree risk assessment she once conducted for a small community recreation area concluded that the work should be performed by an ISA Certified Arborist. The volunteer board failed to take her advice.

“They did not get an estimate from a qualified person since they had a logger on the board who would do the work,” said Mumby. “The work completed by the logger left the trees more hazardous than before. His bill was three times more than he estimated. I explained to the board that if they would have hired a Certified Arborist to do the work, they would have saved money and the trees would have been properly worked on.”

To help consumers differentiate Certified from non-certified arborists, Mumby teaches consumers to select qualified, Certified Arborists by asking these questions:
  1. Name a handful of common tree species growing in our area and name two of them in Latin.
  2. Is the use of spurs okay for the trees?
  3. Name one disease that is common to fruit trees in our area?
  4. Is topping okay for the tree?

Mumby provides the correct answers so consumers are aware that some businesses will answer “Yes” to spurring and topping trees just to get the job, even if it’s against accepted best practices.

Mumby uses her website,, and ISA resources for her arborist educational campaign. For more information, visit the TreesAreGood website and look for more suggestions to help consumers hire qualified, Certified Arborists, maintain healthy trees, and save money.