When to Call an Arborist and When to Do It Yourself

Maintaining the health and beauty of your trees is a rewarding endeavor, but knowing when to take matters into your own hands and when to call in a professional arborist is crucial. Proper tree care not only enhances the aesthetics of your property but also ensures the safety and longevity of your trees. In this guide, we’ll explore different scenarios, offering insights into when a DIY approach is suitable and when it’s time to enlist the expertise of an arborist.

The DIY Approach: Knowing Your Limits

1. Routine Pruning and Trimming: DIY-Friendly

Keeping your trees well-pruned is essential for their overall health and appearance. Minor pruning tasks, such as removing dead or small branches, can often be handled by homeowners. Use the right tools—sharp, clean pruning shears for smaller branches and a pruning saw for larger ones. Remember to follow proper pruning techniques to avoid causing harm to the tree.

2. Mulching and Watering: Homeowner Responsibilities

Mulching around the base of your trees and providing adequate water are routine tasks that homeowners can manage without professional assistance. Mulch helps retain moisture, regulates soil temperature, and prevents weed growth. Be mindful not to overmulch, as this can lead to issues like root rot. Regular watering, especially during dry periods, is vital for tree health.

3. Inspecting for Pests and Diseases: Early Detection DIY

Regularly inspecting your trees for signs of pests or diseases is crucial for early intervention. Look for abnormal leaf discoloration, wilting, or the presence of pests. If you notice any issues, research appropriate treatments or consult with local gardening experts for guidance. Early detection and prompt action can often prevent larger problems.

4. Supporting Young Trees: DIY Staking

Young trees may benefit from staking to provide support against strong winds or other environmental stressors. Proper staking techniques can often be implemented by homeowners using stakes and ties. However, it’s essential not to leave stakes in place for too long, as this can hinder the natural development of the tree.

When to Call an Arborist

1. Large Tree Removal: Arborist Expertise Required

Removing large trees is a complex and potentially hazardous task that should be left to trained professionals. Arborists have the skills, equipment, and experience to safely and efficiently fell trees, minimizing the risk of damage to property and ensuring the safety of people nearby.

2. Disease Diagnosis and Treatment: Arborist Consultation

If you suspect your tree is suffering from a disease, calling in an arborist is crucial for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Arborists have the knowledge to identify specific diseases, prescribe the right treatments, and ensure the overall health of your trees.

3. Dangerous Branch Removal: Arborist Expertise Required

When dealing with large or overhanging branches that pose a risk to property or safety, it’s best to enlist the help of an arborist. They have the equipment, such as cranes and harnesses, to safely remove hazardous branches without causing further damage.

4. Tree Transplanting: Arborist Specialization

Transplanting mature trees is a delicate process that requires specialized knowledge and equipment. Arborists can assess the viability of tree relocation, carefully plan the transplanting process, and provide post-transplant care to ensure the tree’s survival.

5. Emergency Situations: Immediate Arborist Response

In the aftermath of storms or severe weather events, fallen trees or branches can pose imminent dangers. Arborists are equipped to respond quickly to emergency situations, providing prompt removal of debris and ensuring the safety of your property.


In the realm of tree care, striking the right balance between DIY efforts and professional arborist services is essential. While routine tasks and minor issues can often be handled by homeowners, recognizing the limits of your expertise is crucial to prevent accidents and further damage. For complex tasks, potential hazards, or situations requiring specialized knowledge, consulting with a certified arborist is the wisest course of action. By doing so, you not only protect your trees but also contribute to the overall well-being of your property and the environment. Responsible tree care is a partnership between homeowners and arborists, working together to ensure the health and beauty of our green companions.