The Q&A Archives: Rotting hole in Maple Tree

Question: We'd like to find a tree doctor/surgon in the DC metro area who can recommend a course of action for a large maple tree with a large hole in it. Can you recommend the types of certification they should have or some organizations we can call for referrals?

Answer: I would suggest you contact your local Extension Office (phone 301-590-9638). They may have a list of certified arborists in the area.

You can also contact the International Society of Arboriculture at the following web address, which includes a link to a searchable "Certified Arborist List":

When choosing an arborist here are some points to consider:

1) Choose someone who is a member of a professional organization such as the American Society of Arboriculture or the International Society of Arboriculture. This indicates an interest on their part in keeping up to date with the industry and new developments.

2) Ask if they are bonded and insured. This helps protect you and your property in the event of a problem.

3) To be extra sure, ask whom their insurance is with. You can contact the company later and confirm that the policy is current. While most of the industry is reputable, like any industry there are those who are not. Anyone can take out a policy and then cancel it, yet still have a copy to show around.

4) Ask for references in the area. You could contact these individuals to find out such things as: Did they do what they said they would do? Did they clean up the mess when they left? Was the price they quoted the price they charged when the job was done?

Finally, remember that "cheaper" is not usually the best way to go when dealing with the health of a prize tree, or the proper removal of a large specimen hanging over your home!

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