What Do You Say When Someone Calls For Something that You Know You Won't Do to The Tree?

climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
Obviously we all know there's things that homeowners sometimes want to do to trees that isn't healthy or appropriate, like topping etc.

If someone calls saying they would like an estimate to top a tree, etc. do you explain to them on the phone that you don't top trees nor recommend topping, but that you can come out and go over with them what appropriate pruning options are available etc.?

Essentially to weed out those that already have their mind made up and are going to do what they want and those that value your input and advice, etc.?

That's what I usually have done. For the topping example, typically what I say is "We won't nor do we recommend topping a healthy tree (no diseased or decayed top, etc.) because topping can create health and structural issues and isn't good for the tree."
 

Birdyman88

Well-Known Member
Location
Arlington
If someone calls saying they would like an estimate to top a tree, etc. do you explain to them on the phone that you don't top trees nor recommend topping, but that you can come out and go over with them what appropriate pruning options are available etc.?
That's a good answer. I always like to throw in the fact that it's not worth the potential damage to my reputation in the case someone who knew anything about tree trimming actually sees it, particularly my competitors. You can get into more detail if the customer seems open minded.
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
Depends on the customer, and what they’re asking. Topping is a common practice around here, many companies do it. We don’t. If someone calls to ask to have a tree topped, I ask what they mean, what exactly they’re looking for. Sometimes they want a removal, sometimes a light pruning - people have no idea what they’re asking.

If they really do want the tree topped, usually because “it’s too big and dangerous” I’ll offer to look at it anyway and will explain how much more dangerous it will be if we do top it. And I’ll send a fact sheet on topping from our state university, to show the customer I really do know what I’m talking about.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
I’m a little bit more like reach on this one, BUT first I try to tease out if they want the tree topped for a view. 99% of the time this is exactly the case then I try to get onsite and offer alternatives that we can do without a permit.
I keep a copy of the counties critical areas code in my bid book. It specifically states no topping.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
A few lines that include my personal standards and ethics as well as my professional ethics as a Certified Arborist and current accepted trade standards.

If that's too obtuse for a client I say something along the lines of asking to have paint on rust and expect good results.

Most of the time clients have only seen bad practices and don't know any better
 

27RMT0N

Well-Known Member
Location
WA
I keep a copy of the counties critical areas code in my bid book. It specifically states no topping.

I do the same. The other big thing people often want that is specifically not allowed within the 200-foot waterfront zone is just limbing up trees (usually fir/cedar) between the house and water. There are specific rules about maintaining a certain percentage of screening at shoreline properties and most people have no idea those rules exist.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
I do the same. The other big thing people often want that is specifically not allowed within the 200-foot waterfront zone is just limbing up trees (usually fir/cedar) between the house and water. There are specific rules about maintaining a certain percentage of screening at shoreline properties and most people have no idea those rules exist.
Whoa! Around here they don’t give a f…. I’d love a copy if you can email it to me
 

flushcut

Well-Known Member
Location
Delavan, WI
I do the same. The other big thing people often want that is specifically not allowed within the 200-foot waterfront zone is just limbing up trees (usually fir/cedar) between the house and water. There are specific rules about maintaining a certain percentage of screening at shoreline properties and most people have no idea those rules exist.
200'!! Around here it's 35'.
 

27RMT0N

Well-Known Member
Location
WA
Ok, so I should have been more clear. 200' is the overall 'tree protection zone' where rules apply, but within that it is broken down into a few other distances with various rules about allowable removals, pruning, etc.
 

flushcut

Well-Known Member
Location
Delavan, WI
Ok, so I should have been more clear. 200' is the overall 'tree protection zone' where rules apply, but within that it is broken down into a few other distances with various rules about allowable removals, pruning, etc.
Pruning or removing invasive stuff is fine but tree removal and stump removal needs a permit with erosion control permit with silt fencing in the 35' zone. And usually takes two to three months to get the permits. It's a pain in the ass dealing with custies that want lake views but they moved here from Chicago for the trees. Idiots I tell you.
 

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