The Difference Between an Estimate, Assessment, and Consultation?

Understanding Estimates, Assessments, and Consultations for Tree Care

Have you ever wondered about the differences between an estimate, assessment, and consultation when it comes to tree care? These terms often pop up when you’re considering tree services, but they serve distinct purposes. Let’s break down what each entails and how they contribute to your tree’s health and safety.


An estimate is a complimentary service offered by tree care professionals to provide you with an idea of the work needed and its associated costs. During an estimate, an arborist conducts a visual examination of your trees. They assess factors like tree health, potential risks, disease presence, and any maintenance requirements. Based on this evaluation, they suggest suitable tree care practices or procedures. If tree removal is necessary, they’ll offer advice on proper removal techniques and potential replacements. An estimate is a starting point to help you understand what’s needed and its projected expense.


A tree risk assessment is a more detailed evaluation of your trees’ condition and potential hazards. Unlike an estimate, an assessment typically comes with a fee. An experienced arborists with the Tree Risk Assessment Certification, will examine tree structural stability, identifying weak branches, leaning trunks, or root issues that could lead to damage or failure. This in-depth inspection is often requested by insurance providers or undertaken when safety concerns arise. It’s a proactive measure to mitigate risks and ensure the well-being of your property.


Consulting a certified arborist is like seeking expert advice for your tree care needs. Arboricultural consultations involve engaging a knowledgeable tree care professional for guidance on various tree-related matters. If you’re planning construction or development projects that could affect trees, a consultation helps you understand how to preserve and protect them during the process. This involves strategies like root protection, proper pruning, and adhering to local regulations. Essentially, a consultation empowers you with specialized insights to make informed decisions about tree management and preservation.

It’s worth noting that both assessments and consultations entail comprehensive inspections and require a deep understanding of trees’ biology and health. While assessments focus more on risk evaluation, consultations provide a broader perspective on tree care, especially in the context of development or property maintenance.

In all cases, partnering with certified arborists ensures the health and safety of your trees. They possess the expertise needed to accurately assess your trees’ condition, offer reliable advice, and execute tree care tasks effectively. Whether it’s obtaining an estimate, conducting an assessment, or seeking consultation, involving professionals guarantees optimal tree care and management.

Resistography: Revealing Tree Health and Stability

Resistography: Revealing Tree Health and Stability

When it comes to tree care and assessment, the tool known as a resistograph plays a significant role in gauging the health and stability of trees. Arborists and foresters utilize resistography to gain insightful information about the internal condition of trees without causing extensive damage.

How Does Resistography Work?

A resistograph is essentially a handheld drill equipped with a special bit and a data collection system. Certified Arborists employ this tool by gently drilling a small hole into the tree. As the drill advances, the resistograph measures the resistance encountered. This data is then visualized on a graph referred to as a “resistogram.” Peaks and valleys on the resistogram provide insights into the density and quality of the tree’s internal material. This technique is particularly useful in identifying hidden problems like decay, cavities, or hollow areas that may not be visible externally.

The Applications of Resistography:

Tree Health Assessment:Resistography is an invaluable asset in assessing the internal condition of trees accurately, especially when a visual examination alone falls short. It unveils concealed issues that might impact the tree’s health and structural stability, such as decay or hollow spaces. This information is essential in determining the overall well-being of a tree.

Tree Risk Evaluation:

Particularly in urban settings or near structures, understanding tree risks is crucial. Resistography helps identify hidden defects that might weaken a tree’s stability, aiding in assessing potential dangers related to branch or tree failure. This insight guides decisions regarding tree management, including pruning, support systems, or even removal if the situation demands.

In essence, a resistograph test is a powerful tool for evaluating tree health, mitigating risks, and preserving trees. By offering intricate internal information, it empowers professionals to make informed choices concerning tree care, maintenance, and safety measures, ultimately contributing to the vitality and longevity of trees.


Ensuring Tree Safety: Understanding Tree Risk Assessment

Ensuring Tree Safety: Understanding Tree Risk Assessment

Whether prompted by insurance requests or simply a desire for preparedness, turning to tree experts is the smart move. Nurturing your trees with regular care like pruning and health treatments can significantly reduce risks. But when uncertainty lingers, it might be time for a Tree Risk Assessment, best conducted by an ISA Certified Arborist.

What’s a Tree Risk Assessment?

Imagine a tree doctor who evaluates your trees to pinpoint any potential threats to you or your property. That’s exactly what a Tree Risk Assessment entails, carried out by a certified Arborist with TRAQ (Tree Risk Assessment Qualification). This assessment considers various factors: tree structure, soil conditions, defects, wind exposure, and overall tree health. Visual and physical tests help determine the risk factor of each tree, forming the basis for recommendations to ensure safety.

Breaking Down the Assessment Process

A Tree Risk Assessment follows a two-part evaluation: visual and physical.

Visual Inspection: Arborists identify trees needing assessment and note significant targets within the potential fall zone – areas where a tree or its parts might land if they fail. Key targets, such as your home or structures, are considered. The tree itself is examined for defects, referring to structural weaknesses or damages. Arborists analyze defects, factoring in potential loads like strong winds or snow accumulation.

Physical Evaluation: A health check follows, with Arborists looking for signs of disease, decay, or overall tree vitality. This might involve soil and bark sampling. The tree’s location, wind exposure, flooding risk, and other environmental factors are also weighed.

Analyzing and Rating Risk

The collected data guides Arborists in evaluating risk levels. The likelihood of failure, potential impact, and severity of consequences shape the risk rating, categorized as extreme, high, moderate, or low.

Mitigating Risks and Planning Ahead

After the assessment, a risk mitigation plan comes into play. Mitigation aims to minimize risk and may involve pruning, bracing, dead wood removal, or even tree removal if necessary. Some scenarios may require a comprehensive report for insurance purposes, incorporating assessment findings. Future evaluation intervals can also be recommended.

Trusted Guidance from Certified Arborists

When an Arborist employed by a tree service performs the assessment, they often provide estimates for suggested mitigation work. Remember, overpruning or improper actions can be detrimental. That’s why relying on an ISA Certified Arborist brings peace of mind, knowing that the evaluation and recommendations align with industry expertise.

In a world where nature and safety coexist, Tree Risk Assessments stand as guardians, ensuring that our leafy companions remain a source of beauty and tranquility without posing risks to us or our surroundings.