Hiring a Licensed Arborist

When should you hire a professional arborist to do tree work?

Arborists can be hired to perform all types of tree work including: pruning, cabling, bracing, felling trees, treating and diagnosing problems, etc. (treating for pests and diseases (requires a commercial Pesticide applicator license).

Many property owners prefer to work on their property themselves, but without the proper skills and knowledge they may put their property, others and themselves in danger. If you are considering doing any tree work first ask yourself some questions.

If you answer yes to any of the following you should hire a licensed arborist:

  • Is the tree near the power lines?
  • Is the tree near enough to a building or other hazard to cause damage or injury as it falls?

If you answer yes to any of these questions you may want to hire a licensed arborist:

  • Do you have to leave the ground to do the work and need equipment such as a ladder?
  • Do you need to use a chainsaw or power pruner to do the work?
  • Are you looking to get a neighbor to help you out?

If you can answer yes to these questions you could likely do the work yourself safely:

  • Can you work from the ground?
  • Does the work involve only hand pruners or perhaps a pole saw (non-motorized)?
  • Are the plants less then 10 feet tall?
  • Are the plants located on your property?

Why hire a licensed arborist?

State law requires that anyone who is accepting compensation for tree work in the state be licensed and insured. Tree work includes:

  • leaving the ground for pruning or trimming,
  • installing cabling or bracing,
  • diagnosing and evaluating conditions of trees,
  • felling or taking down trees in developed areas.

Licensed arborists have met the required state standards including testing on the arborist's knowledge about all aspects of tree care and maintenance.

If someone is doing tree work on your property and is not licensed or insured, you the homeowner could be liable for any damages or injuries that may occur.

How do I find a licensed arborist to hire?

Check the list of Licensed Arborists

This list was accurate at the time of posting. Please call (207)287-3891 or email the Arborist Program to verify the license status of an arborist.

Tips for selecting an arborist

Get it in writing. Most reputable arborists have their clients sign a contract. Be sure to read the contract carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, such as:

  • When will the work be started and completed?
  • Who will be responsible for clean-up?
  • Is this the total price?
  • What are the terms of payment?
  • If I would like more to be done, what is your hourly rate?

More useful tips for selecting on arborist:

How do I determine if the arborist I've hired has a license?

Ask to see their license. State law requires that all licensed arborists carry their license while working. If an individual cannot produce their license and you want to verify that individual has a valid license use the list of Licensed Arborists.

This list was accurate at the time of posting. Please call (207)287-3891 or email the Arborist Program to verify license the status of an arborist.

Also, remember that the Department licenses individuals, not companies. Companies that run more than one crew must have a licensed arborist on each jobsite where tree work is being done.

How do I determine if the arborist I've hired is insured?

All licensed arborists in Maine are required to sign an affadavit that states they will not perform arboriculture work without adequate insurance. Adequate insurance is defined as general liability insurance that is at least $150,000 per occurence and $300,000 general aggregate.

However, each year only a random sampling of arborists are required to provide the Department with proof of insurance. The Department recommends that you ask to see the Certificate of Liability (insurance) of the arborist (or company employing the arborist) that you intend to hire.