What is Arboriculture?
Arboriculture is the study and care of trees, shrubs, and other woody plant material in the landscape.
What most people think of is trees and don't realize that shrubs are woody plants and included in arboriculture.
You would do well to seek out the involvement of qualified arborist for the installation, care, and maintenance of your ornamental shrubs and trees.
What is an Arborist?
A professional who possesses the technical competence gained through experience and related training to provide for or supervise the management of trees and other woody plants (shrubs and vines) in landscapes.
Most people think an arborist is a person that performs tree removal services. While many arborist fell trees; other arborist specialize in ensuring the safety, health, and preservation of trees and shrubs within a landscape. They may rarely ever use a chain saw and are likely not involved in felling trees.
It's important to seek out competent, qualified arborist. Look for ISA Certified Arborist.
What is an I.S.A. Certified
I.S.A. Certified Arborists are individuals who have achieved a level of knowledge in the art and science of tree care through experience and by passing a comprehensive examination developed by some of the nation’s leading experts on tree care.
What is an
I.S.A. Board Certified Master Arborist?
Anyone who holds an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist Credential has achieved the highest possible level of certification offered by the International Society of Arboriculture. They have reached the top pinnacle of their profession.
Less than 2% of all I.S.A. Certified Arborist in the entire world have obtained this elite credential.
I'm David W. Boggan your local I.S.A. Board Certified Master Arborist."
"I'm a professional consulting arborist. I help trees and shrubs. If you have a problem; you need to call me
Some Straight Talk About Your Trees.
After inspecting over seven thousand trees... My observations and what you need to know.
Urban trees live in a stressful environment surrounded largely by changing conditions that damage and reduce life expectancy. Want your large mature tree to die in three to five years? Simply tunnel, trench, build, or install a new landscape without a proper tree protection plan and you will likely watch it being cut down into small chunks of wood and hauled off to the dump. Then your neighbor or neighborhood becomes "ticked off" and speaks unfavorably about you.
No one needs to worry about what is being said about them when they leave the room because they are held in low esteem over a beloved tree dying.
Now this brings me to a fundamental point. You can't trust contractors to know what is best for your tree. This includes landscape or irrigation contractors. I've seen this unfold too many times. They do the work, get paid and leave for whatever is next. You get stuck with all the consequences. It's your tree and now your problem. They don't have to face walking outside their home every day looking at their majestic tree slowly dying.
Some people are in a state of mental paralysis and don't know who to trust or call.
Many suspect their tree is sick or unsafe and feel overwhelmed because they don't know what to do. I completely understand.
I've had conversations with clients that love their tree(s) but are dreadfully terrified of it falling onto their home. They move themselves and the family "away" from the tree every time it storms. They lay awake at night just waiting for the crashing sound of their tree falling into their bedroom.
There are usually very refreshing answers to these concerns, but I can't help you if you don't call me.
Sound arboricultural tree management systems are needed to help protect and promote tree health.
Urban trees need management. Although it is infrequent; trees require maintenance and inspections. You spend a thousand dollars to replace tires on your vehicle every three or four years yet how much is invested in your tree(s) during that same time frame? Not to mention that large, beautiful tree is as valuable as that shiny new car in the garage. In four years, the tree will be way more valuable than that now used car. People will vacuum the lint out of the dryer motor (which is practically never done) before they spend any money on tree management.
What else can live over 100 years and grow 80+ feet tall and need only a minimal amount of investment over that time period besides a tree?
Less than 20% follow tree mitigation recommendations except for removal and some pruning. Although the smart clients understand. They get it. Maybe it's better to think from the end. If your tree suddenly died today; what would you be willing to pay to have it back? My point is we have to stop taking our trees for granted.
What brings more value and enjoyment; a beautiful stately tree(s) or your lawn? Yet you spend thousands every year on lawn maintenance and ignore your trees that simply can't be replaced. Your trees are much more valuable than the lawn and shrubs.
By ignorance we neglect or love our trees to death.
What kills more urban trees? Insects, lightning, drought, or maybe disease... no its people. Yes, we are to blame for the majority of urban tree death.
Large mature trees are like older people in their nineties. Now, someone of that age can't take the physical stress that a young teenager can tolerate. Large trees don't recover from soil compaction, root damage, drought, or tree injury like younger trees. This leads to stress and secondary pest such as insect or disease problems. There is a huge amount of energy needed to keep a large tree living. When seemingly minor injuries occur, it can have long term detrimental effects on large trees. Most early signs of tree stress go undetected by the homeowner. This is a fundamental reason why tree inspections are needed in the urban environment.
If I could give someone some fundamental tree advice it would be this...
Don't wait until your tree looks half dead before seeking help. Many times, it takes years for a tree to visibly show signs of trouble. It might be too late for mitigation recommendations.
Look up into the canopy of your trees. Are there any bare or dead branches? If so...it is reasonable to be concerned about your tree's health.
Any mushrooms around base of tree. Trees can visually look healthy, but appearances can be deceiving.
White to tan dust visible around the trunk of tree. This is the most common sign of a tree “suddenly dying” overnight.
Avoid adding or removing soil from around the tree and its root system. You could easily be a few years away from not having a tree. Don’t be led into a false sense of security. This is a serious problem.
Don't ask the mowing service or tree feeling service what they think about your tree's health or safety. Their conclusions are largely inaccurate and faulty. How do I know? I get called for second opinions.
Have your trees inspected by a competent professional. Even visually healthy trees need inspecting. If you haven't had a tree inspection you need to have this done.
If you think your tree is only worth what it cost to have it removed; don't contact me.
Finally, many people occasionally have nightmares. I have nightmares about friendly people holding chainsaws that are paid good money to prune trees. You honestly need informed guidance before any pruning is performed on your trees. We can't glue the limbs back together after someone has butchered your beloved tree.
“David is the tree whisperer! Very knowledgeable consultant, who also cares deeply about the plants and people he cares for. I highly recommend his services.”
- Carolyn Sherer -
I'm back home! I've spent the last 17 months helping the community of Paradise, California recover from the most destructive fire in California history, I inspected thousands of trees that were affected by the Camp Fire. It was a really great opportunity, and they certainly needed and benefited from my expertise to inspect trees for health and safety concerns. I also had the opportunity to work a fire in the Sequoia National Park and actually be around the Giant Sequoias! Additionally, I spent some time in areas were the Coastal Redwoods grow. Professionally, this was a very big deal. Northern California is beautiful.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 21, 2022
I understand the difficulty of selecting a competent, reliable, anyone for a needed service. I have the same dilemma looking for an accountant, electrician, plumber, and so on.
I know in this day and age we are sadly surrounded by incompetence. Businesses that misrepresent what they can actually perform. People with little to no experience claiming they are experts.
We all have probably been burned by someone in the past and never want that sick feeling of knowing we just wasted our money or even worse were basically "ripped off".
My Iron Clad, No Risk, Money Back Guarantee to You...
If you're reading this it's likely you have a tree concern or problem. Schedule me to come out for a tree consultation.
If I'm not professional, failed to address your tree(s) needs, didn't treat you with respect, or failed to provide you with the service expected; I will gladly refund you your money.
I'm passionate about trees. I'm certainly not perfect but I believe I can make a difference.
Please verify anyone who claims to be a certified arborist.
We have local businesses and individuals who falsely claim to be ISA Certified Arborist.
Report and Avoid business with them.
To check or verify anyone's certification
Call today 205-854-3676 or email me with the form below to set up a Tree Consultation
Birmingham, AL area.
* This is for up to (2) trees. Rate can be higher depending on mileage. I can and often travel out of town.
If your tree is truly valued by you; it's undeniably worth this small investment.
What does a tree consultation include?
It involves me meeting with you and visually inspecting your tree. During the tree inspection, I answer your questions and tree concerns. Recommendations are then made to help your tree.
Being paid for a consultation means I'm not there to sell you something. You will not have to worry about someone selling you a service or tree removal job.
I provide informed, reliable information that can be used to make wise decisions about your tree and its health. Site conditions, tree structure, defects, insect and disease problems are addressed.
I help trees. I do not cut them down. Have the advantage of using my older, more experienced eyes to inspect your trees. I've inspected over seven thousand trees and am the ONLY local ISA Board Certified Master Arborist who is also ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified.
This is a verbal tree consultation and anything that needs to be written on business letterhead is extra. Bring a pen with paper. Many clients tell me that I provide a mini seminar on their tree. Remember; I have a money back Guarantee. You simply won't find someone else offering this.
Warning! Be Aware and Do Not Entrust Your Tree to Anyone Unless They Meet the Following (4) Criteria...
There is a lot of confusion and "Hype" surrounding arborist advice. It's almost impossible to know whom to trust. There are (4) foundational criteria you absolutely, positively must have before you chose an arborist to manage or diagnose your tree.
One: Not everyone who calls themselves an arborist is equal. Most are in the tree removal business and this is their primary everyday job. They cut down trees. You need someone with no financial interest in the trees removal. It’s important they are in the business of managing trees not cutting them down.
Two: Does the arborist have actual experience diagnosing and managing trees? Just like you wouldn't call a mortician to save someone's life you don't call a tree removal service to save your tree. You should insist that an individual "not a company" have real-world-experience of actually specializing in tree health care. It's 100% mandatory they can diagnose your tree and its current condition of health.
Three: Are they properly trained and credentialed? This is extremely important. Actually anyone dealing with trees can call themselves an arborist or urban forester. It can be misleading. Choose someone that is an ISA Certified Arborist. This credential demonstrates the individual has the knowledge to perform tree work correctly.
Four: Do they have a guarantee? Do they believe and stand behind their work with a guarantee? Why not?
Informed recommendations should be clear, concise, and results based. Dismiss vague mumblings about tree "having bugs" or "Your tree is going to die". They should explain and answer why your tree has insects and why your tree is going to die. Avoid like the plague someone who just wants to apply fertilizer as some magic potion that solves every tree problem.
(9) Major Reasons Why You Need to Call Me.
Large Stately Tree You Want to Protect and Preserve.
Sick or Unhealthy Tree Problems.
Need to Know if Your Tree is Safe or Poses an Hazardous Risk.
Tree Questions or Second Opinions.
Prior to Any Construction, Any Digging, Any New Landscape, Any Trenching or Any Tunneling near trees.
Prior to New Home or Property Being Purchased to Inspect Trees for Health and Safety.
When Someone Cuts Down, Runs Into, or Damages Your Tree or Landscape.
Before Investing $5K to $100K or more in a New Landscape.
When Your Once Beautiful Landscape becomes Dull and Drab and You Really Don't Know Why or What to Do Next.
Hey David; I have a problem. I don't need you to come to my residence for a consultation. Can you answer my general question if I send you a photo or email concerning a tree, shrub, or landscape problem?
Yes, clients frequently send me photos with questions but please understand I can't provide free consulting information. Although it may seem apparent to the majority of clients; there is a fee for even a short email answering tree or landscape problems.
Why? I could literally spend many hours or even a day or more each week answering questions sent to me. I simply can't afford it. It has taken me 20+ years to acquire my knowledge, experience, and credentials.
The average cost for me to answer a simple and brief tree, shrub, or landscape question is $37.50. More complex answers to tree, shrub, or landscape questions start at $75.00. I can't provide a comprehensive tree consultation or safety assessment with client submitted photos. Client submitted photos are largely limited to big picture" problems that can be seen in photos. I can provide an email consultation (versus a tree question) but they are limited in scope and start at $195.
To start this process simply send me your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and I can determine the cost and send you link for payment.
So... Why Should I call you instead of a tree (felling) service who will come out and look at my tree for free?
The answer is simple. What value do you place in your tree? Who are you going to trust to provide you with competent, informed information? It is crucial to have your tree inspected to detect potential problems before they become life-threatening or hazardous.
You need a trained, experienced professional who knows trees. Someone with no financial interest in the trees removal. It’s important they are in the business of managing trees not cutting them down.
I am the only Board Certified Master Arborist in the entire area. Only approximately 2% of I.S.A. Certified Arborist ever reach this level of certification. I am also the first Tree Risk Assessment Qualified Arborist in the Birmingham, AL area. I've inspected over a thousand trees. This is what I do.
I Help Trees by Providing Informed Decisions and Mitigation Solutions for Tree Problems.
Free advice is usually attached with an estimate for some type of service such as tree removal or pruning. I don't fell trees and you never have to worry about a conflict of interest by me telling you your tree needs to be removed and here is a $2,500.00 estimate. If your tree needs to be removed; I will tell you and can also give you advice on who to choose and who to never, ever allow to fell your tree.
Ultimately the decision is yours. Choose wisely.
Fungal Disease on Hackberry Tree.
Construction near Trees
Sight clearing near trees damaging roots.
Sign being grown over by tree.
Trees expand every year causing sign to be covered over by tree.
Large Tree Wound
Lightning Strike Two Years Afterward.
Redheaded Ash Borer
Don't want to see these on your trees.
Newly Planted Hicks Yew
Death from being planted too deeply.
Japenese Cryptomeria Tree
Sick and Dying. Call me...before it's too late.
Natchez Crepe Myrtle
What they are supose to look like...
Sick Oak Tree
New landscape severely affected this beautiful oak tree.
Oak Tree with Disease
Drought of 2016 caused Hypoxylon Canker to spread in oak tree.
Tree removed due to internal decay.
Not all trees with decay should be removed.
Fungus Fruiting Body
Signs of tree disease problems.
Symptoms of borer infestation.
Tree with girlding root.
Should have been identified and removed many years ago.
Who Else Needs Expert Solutions and Advice for Tree Problems?
(8) Extremely Important Reasons You Better Call Me About Your Tree.
1. You need a trained, experienced professional who knows trees.
I'll be blunt. Someone capable of removing or felling a tree does not qualify them as a tree health expert or gives them the ability to diagnose hazardous trees. You need a trained, experienced professional who knows trees. Why would you call a tree removal service and ask them about the health and associated risk of your tree? Remember...they cut trees down. A huge conflict of interest. It's so easy to play the "you better remove your tree before it's too late" fear card. Many people have their trees removed from FREE advice. There is no rewind button. It's the final decision.
I'm the First and until June 2018 the ONLY trained Tree Risk Assessment Qualified Arborist in Birmingham; AL.
2. You need advice from someone who does not make money from the trees removal.
A huge conflict of interest occurs when you call someone for free to come out and look at your tree(s). It’s important they are in the business of managing trees not cutting them down. Someone with no financial interest in the trees removal. If you have been told your tree is dangerous, dying, or dead and needs to be cut down; call me for a second opinion.
3. Don’t ever rely solely on what a contractor tells you about your tree.
Contractors may have good intentions but when your tree is dead; it’s a little late. So many tree deaths are caused by construction or landscape installation near trees. If your tree is truly important to you; the single best advice I can give you is to get me involved as soon as possible. A tree protection plan should be implemented prior to any work being performed. If work has already started, the sooner the better. Too many times I get a call after the damage has occurred and preventive measures could have really benefited the long term health and enjoyment of the tree. Many trees die one to three years after construction and sometimes it can take (5) years or longer. The tree may have won the initial battle (it didn't die overnight) but loses the war from the long term consequences of tree damage.
4. Desperate to know if your tree is safe? A hazardous tree risk assessment is the answer.
Many people struggle with this scenario. They love their tree but are really tormented about if it is safe for them and their family. Maybe it's the neighbors home that is the concern. I've got really good news if this describes your current situation. I can help. Think of how much weight would be lifted off your shoulders and how brighter every day would become if you only knew the answer. I professionally evaluate trees for hazardous conditions. I then make recommendations to help solve these concerns if needed. You will know if your tree is unsafe and what to do about it. Call me today for a professional Tree Risk Assessment. You will be glad that you did.
5. Sick or unhealthy trees require someone that can properly identify and diagnose visual signs and symptoms of unhealthy trees.
This is absolutely crucial to your trees long term health and vitality. If someone does not get this right its like being sick and going to the doctor and getting a prescription for a cold but you really had cancer. That prescription has no ability to help you. Your condition continues to grow worse every day. Misdiagnosis is Malpractice! Don't place your trees life on a "shot in the dark" wild guess! Get an expert to inspect your tree.
6. Your tree has value. Tree appraisals provide a systematic process to determine monetary value of what your tree is worth.
Most people have no idea what their tree is worth. Don't rely solely on what someones insurance company tells you about the value of your tree. If a contractor, neighbor, or even an out of control vehicle damages your tree; it would be wise to get a tree appraisal. Having a tree appraisal before new construction around a tree is also a smart decision. Home owners may want to check their insurance policies to cover large trees in case of loss. Some homeowner policies only cover $500.00 per tree. That's way too little in many circumstances.
7. Have trees inspected before buying a home or purchasing property to build a home.
I've seen this happen many times and it is a very frustrating circumstance when it occurs. The best thing you can do is to have trees inspected before purchasing a home or property. If a tree has problems they can be identified prior to the final decision to buy. This gives you the needed information to either look elsewhere or request the tree have recommended work performed or even be removed prior to purchasing.
8. Don't EVER allow a tree service to top your tree. It's Aboricultural Dyslexia! There is no cure because after over two decades of telling them its wrong; we can't seem to get these guys to stop.
We haven't developed a glue to reattach awful pruning cuts and it actually can take years to correct (if ever) a tree that has been topped. Large older trees may actually die from being severely topped. Topping is when branches of a tree are cut off indiscriminately. It looks lolly popped or a large amount of a tree canopy is removed and rounded over.
Okay David; You Got My Attention. My Tree Is Important To Me. What Should I Do Next?
Call 854-3676 or send contact form below and set up an appointment to have me come out and inspect your tree.
How Does This Work?
After talking with us the majority of clients will either need a Tree Consultation or Hazardous Tree Risk Assessment.
General tree concerns can be addressed with a Tree Consultation. This includes planting, pruning, site conditions, irrigation, tree preservation during construction, fertilization, tree conflict issues, sick tree symptoms, insect or disease identification, and treatment options. Questions on whether a tree should be removed or retained.
A Tree Consultation consist of meeting the client on their property to visually inspect the tree and discuss history of tree and any signs or symptoms of tree stress. Questions or concerns about the tree will be addressed along with verbal recommendations to help the tree. This usually takes approximately (45) minutes.
I provide you with important information about your trees health and current condition. I will also visually look for tree defects and other seemingly hidden problems that can seriously affect your tree. If any tree defects or hazardous conditions exist; a Hazardous Tree Risk Assessment will be recommended. Sometimes a lab analysis is required for disease identification.
What if my main concern is tree safety. I'm worried about tree or tree branches falling and damaging property, structures, or harming someone.
A Hazardous Tree Risk Assessment is needed when you have questions about tree safety. Is my tree going to fall on my house or neighbors property? You have a level of responsibility for the safety of people and property near your trees. Hazardous Tree Risk Assessments are a systematic process that involves identifying, analyzing, and evaluating tree risk.
Important - Only trained professionals should evaluate your tree.
Hazardous Tree Risk Assessments include meeting the client to discuss tree, inspection of tree with arborist tools, and a written report with conclusions about the safety of tree. It also includes tree mitigation recommendations.
Unlike Tree Consultations; Hazardous Tree Risk Assessments involve measurements and a much more thorough investigation of the tree.
Birmingham Alabama's First
ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified Arborist
1. $ Limited Visual Tree Risk Assessment Level 1 in accordance with ANSI A300 Part 9.The least thorough tree risk assessment. Very useful when a client has a population of trees where a basic tree risk assessment level 2 for every tree is cost prohibitive. Usually intended as a means to identify trees with obvious defects that have an imminent or probable likelihood of failure. A written field report is included.
2. $$ Basic Tree Risk Assessment Level 2 in accordance with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A300 Part 9. The most common tree risk assessment. Visual Tree Risk Inspection Assessment Level 2 includes a 360 degree visual inspection of the tree, trunk flare, above ground roots, and site conditions around the tree in relation to what the tree or parts of the tree may damage if they were to fall. Inspection Level 2 assessment will include the identification of conditions indicating the probable presence of structural defects. After gathering tree information and consulting with client or owners agent; recommendations will be made for additional assessment data, mitigation, monitoring and follow-up. A written report is included.
3. $$$ Advanced Tree Risk Assessment Level 3 in accordance with ANSI A300 Part 9. This assessment uses instruments (such as the Resistograph) to determine the degree of decay within a tree. This augments the Visual Tree Risk Inspection assessment Level 2 to help determine the safety of a tree and provides needed additional information for mitigation, monitoring, and follow-up inspections. We can always make better decisions with more information. A written report is included.