Arthur Ratliff Tree & Stump Removal

Frequently Asked Questions

What to Know When Working with Our Tree Care Team

What is a certified arborist?
Most of the time when people use the term "certified arborist" they are referring to a certification which can be earned through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). "Through research, technology, and education, the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) promotes the professional practice of arboriculture and fosters a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees. This is our passion and serves as our mission statement."
Why should I trim my trees?

There are three main reasons why you should keep your trees trimmed:

  • Beauty - Trimming your trees can enhance the aesthetic of your landscape. Whether you’re working with just a front yard or multiple acres of land, good-looking trees can improve your property value.
  • Health - structural pruning can correct the growth of a tree to prevent future structural problems. Removing dead limbs can also improve the health of a tree.
  • Safety - Properly maintained trees are significantly less likely to drop branches during storms, and you can avoid potential damage to structures or lines by trimming trees to provide proper clearances.
How do I know if my tree is dead or dying?
The easiest way to tell if a tree is dead or dying is to look at the leaves. If its not leafed out and other trees are, then it is most likely dead. If the leaves are curling or turning brown and falling off when everything around it is green, then it may be dying. Keep in mind that some trees are late to leaf out and drop leaves early (especially black walnuts), so if its early spring or early fall it can be hard to tell. Another sign to look for is bark that is loose or falling off. This can be a sign of isolated damage or it can be a sign that the tree is dead or dying.
What is the best time of year to trim/prune trees?
It depends on the type of pruning that you are doing. If you are pruning dead limbs, then this can be done anytime throughout the year, but is best to do while the tree is leafed out, so that we can easily tell what limbs are dead. If you are pruning live limbs, then the best time is late November to February. This is the dormant season for deciduous trees and is also best for conifers because insects are less active and it is before the spring growth. It is especially critical for live limbs on red oak trees to be pruned during the dormant season to prevent the spread of oak wilt (a fungus that can kill red oak trees). Many deciduous trees can be trimmed anytime of year without negative effects as long as the trimming is minimal.
When should a tree be trimmed vs. when should it be removed entirely?
When a tree has declined to the point that pruning or treatment won’t save it, then it should be removed. Another consideration is hazard. When a tree poses a hazard to the safety of people or property and that hazard can’t be mitigated by trimming or installing cables or braces, then it should be removed.
Is tree removal covered under my homeowners insurance?
Tree removal is not generally covered by homeowners insurance unless the tree has fallen on the house or other property such as a fence or car. At that point, homeowners insurance will generally cover the cost of removing the fallen part of the tree and sometimes the entire tree if it has been damaged to the point where it has become a hazard.
Illustration of Missouri treeIllustration of Missouri pine trees
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