Carolina Tree Care Tree Service


We love that you are interested in hiring the right tree service company. ♥ Our alternate name was “The Ultimate Guide to Choosing an Arborist with Confidence.” Catchy, right? Regardless, the fact that you’re here means that you care (and so do we). We care about tree health, the value of your property, tree preservation, and the safety of your surroundings. We care about doing the right thing.

How much do we love trees? Let us count the ways.

  1. Trees are beautiful, and many trees in the Carolinas have significant historical importance.
  2. Trees and health are related. They reduce noise and air pollution and protect soil and water.
  3. Trees are functional. They increase your comfort and decrease your heating and cooling costs by blocking solar energy on hot days and reducing radiant heat loss during cool evenings.

Studies have shown that trees can increase the price of a home by about 7%. Some researchers have even found that mature trees can increase the price of a home in a high-income neighborhood by 10-15%!

When it comes to commercial properties, researchers in one study found that commercial offices with high-quality landscapes had rental rates that were 7% higher than similar properties without high-quality landscapes.

We’re sure you want to protect your investment and do everything you can to help your trees thrive. That’s why hiring the right tree care company is so important! You need pros who have the right instincts, experience, and credentials to care for your trees properly.

So, let’s get started with tips and tricks to selecting the right tree service company for you in the Charlotte or Concord, NC areas.

Download this guide as a PDF!
I Trust My Tree Service Company Because They...

Are TCIA-Accredited

Accredited by a Third-Party Consumer Confidence Verification Program

We can’t stress this enough: beware of shady tree companies. (Sorry! Couldn’t resist.) If you take only one tip from this guide, this would be it: make sure your tree service company is accredited by the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA).

TCIA is a third-party consumer confidence verification program that helps consumers identify qualified tree service companies who conduct business in a safe, legal, and ethical manner.

TCIA accreditation provides an external benchmark to help you figure out whether you’re doing business with the right team. To safeguard consumers, all TCIA-accredited companies have undergone a comprehensive on-site audit of professional and business practices.

TCIA-accredited companies are required to meet strict criteria for professionalism, employee training, state and federal safety regulations, business ethics, and consumer satisfaction.

Carolina Tree Care is a proud tree service member of the Tree Care Industry Association

Key questions to ask:

  1. Is your firm TCIA-accredited? If not, why not?
  2. Has an external party conducted an on-site audit of your company?
  3. Have you evaluated your OSHA, DOT, and HazMat compliance programs?
  4. How will I know that you’re in compliance with industry standards?
I Trust My Tree Service Company Because They...

Employ ISA-Certified Arborists®

Consulting Arborists with Expertise and an Objective Viewpoint

If you’re anything like us, you have a neighbor who loves his (or her) chainsaw and is eager to help you trim, or better yet, remove your trees. If you proceed, do so with extreme caution! For the health of your trees and the safety of all, you should always hire an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified-Arborist.

To earn this credential, your tree care professional must:

  • Be trained and knowledgeable in all aspects of arboriculture
  • Have 3+ years of full-time, practical work experience in arboriculture and/or a degree in arboriculture, horticulture, landscape architecture, or forestry from an accredited educational institute
  • Have passed the ISA certification exam

What’s more, ISA-Certified Arborists adhere to a code of ethics that further strengthens their credibility and reliability. For those of you who are sticklers for detail, the ISA certification is accredited by the American National Standards Institute, meeting and exceeding ISO 17024. Why settle for less?

Carolina Tree Care is a proud tree service member of the ISA International Society of Aboriculture

Key questions to ask:

  1. Is your tree care team led by an ISA-certified arborist?
  2. How recent are your arborists’ certifications?
  3. How often do your arborists acquire continuing education units (CEUs)?

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Present a Clear Plan of Action

From the Initial Consultation to the Estimate to Job Completion, No Surprises

Prior to providing you with a written estimate, a professional tree service company will always consult with you and conduct a thorough analysis — not just of the health and well-being of the trees on your property, but also of your immediate needs and long-term vision.

By asking the right questions and paying close attention to your responses, arborists can understand what you’re trying to achieve and then educate you on the pros and cons of available options. To ensure clarity and mutual understanding, a professional arborist will explain every detail of the proposed solution and give you a chance to ask questions. A written estimate, typically sent via email, will recap that discussion.

One piece of advice: you may want to take pictures of your property before the crews arrive to complete the work. No matter how reputable the firm you select is, contingency planning is never a bad idea.

A Carolina Tree Care professional performing tree care services

Key questions to ask:

  1. How will you approach this job?
  2. How long will this job take?
  3. What equipment will you use?
  4. How do you plan to get equipment into position without damaging my property?
  5. What is your policy if you damage anything on my property?
  6. Does your crew clean up after the job?
I Trust My Tree Service Company Because They...

Have a Passion for the Health of My Trees

Tree Service Professionals Will Diagnose and Treat Insect and Disease Problems

Did you know that North and South Carolina are primarily in USDA plant hardiness zones 7–8? This means that certain types of trees, like the red maple or Korean boxwood, are most likely to thrive in this area based on how cold it’s expected to get each winter.

But the Carolinas are large. Trees that fare well on the Atlantic coast in zone 9 may be quite different than those that thrive in the inland, mountainous regions of zones 5 and 6. Many other factors also influence how well any given tree will perform on your property, including soil composition, root health, the presence of borers and wood-eating insects, and tree diseases, blights, and deadly wilts.

You may want to start by having a certified arborist conduct an inventory of your trees. How many trees do you have, and where are they located on your property? Are they enhancing your landscape and valuable to you? What is their overall tree health? If overall tree health is in decline, are they worth saving?

From emerald ash borers to cankerworms and more, an arborist will understand the plant health factors specific to your area and inspect your trees for signs of stress, decay, or deterioration.

signs of emerald ash borer

Key questions to ask:

  1. How often should I have you inspect my trees and why?
  2. Do you routinely conduct root collar inspections?
  3. How would a tree inventory benefit me?
  4. What signs of tree diseases have you seen in this area? Do you see these diseases escalating or declining?
  5. What signs would the leaves on my trees exhibit if there was an infestation?
  6. How often do you recommend tree injections to your customers? Which do you typically perform and why?
Tree Health May Improve the Quality of Your Health
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Are Fully Insured

So You Don’t Need to Worry About It

Here at Carolina Tree Care, we’re not big fans of fear-based marketing; however, we would be careless not to at least mention that caring for trees is a dangerous occupation.

When you combine extreme heights, chainsaws, unstable tree limbs, utility lines, and outdoor working conditions (think: wind, heat, rain, soggy soil), it’s no wonder that tree care is one of the most dangerous industries in our country.

The good news is that with proper safety procedures, vigorous training, and the right types/level of insurance in place, you don’t need to worry.

If you’re dealing with a TCIA-certified company and/or ISA-certified arborists, the associations have already done a lot of the leg work for you. North Carolina law requires that all businesses which regularly employ 3+ employees obtain workers’ compensation insurance or qualify as self-insured. It’s 4+ employees in South Carolina. In both states, there may be exceptions.

To be safe, always ask for insurance documentation and feel free to call the insurance provider to ensure the policies have not expired. Without insurance, as we’re sure you know, you’ll be on the hook. And you don’t want that.

A Carolina Tree Care professional performing tree crown cleaning work

Key questions to ask:

  1. What type of insurance do you carry? (Look for general liability, automotive, umbrella, and workers compensation.)
  2. Does your insurance have a working height clause?
    1. To what height are you covered?
    2. Will you be performing work in higher conditions on my property?
  3. Are you willing to share your Certificate of Insurance with me?
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Are Concerned About the Safety of the Community

Working Hard to Protect Crews, Property Owners, and the General Public at All Times

Dangerous tree work can make people anxious. Homeowners worry about their houses, fences, kids, and pets. Commercial property owners and managers are concerned about their buildings, tenants, pedestrians, and nearby vehicles. A professional tree service company will proactively share with you how they plan to mitigate all hazards, ensure safety, and get the job done properly.

To have the greatest possible safety assurance, you should always hire TCIA-Certified Tree Care Safety Professionals (CTSPs). The TCIA offers the only safety credentialing program in the industry that is designed to address the specific safety challenges that tree service companies face. CTSPs are trained in safety leadership as well as incident and hazard control and prevention — providing you with the highest degree of confidence possible.

Tree safety continues long after a crew has left your property. By hiring a CTSP, you will have greater confidence that your property is maintained as effectively as possible to withstand all weather conditions.

Carolina Tree Care offers safety training for North Carolina tree service professionals

Key questions to ask:

  1. Do you have TCIA-Certified Tree Care Safety Professionals on staff?
  2. How many hours of safety training does each team member receive each year?
  3. Have you had any OSHA or DOT violations in the past few years?
  4. Are your employees subject to background checks?
  5. Are your employees subject to pre -employment and random drug testing?
I Trust My Tree Service Company Because They...

Focus on the Training of Their Crews

Providing Rigorous, Ongoing Safety Training to New Hires as Well as Seasoned Employees

Did you know that you should never operate a chainsaw one-handed? Or use a chipper while wearing a full-body harness? Well, you don’t actually need to know these rules, but your tree care professionals do.

To remain at the forefront of the industry, companies must provide formalized training throughout the year to educate and reinforce the critical concepts of tree care and safety. For most crews, this is a combination of continuing education credits, in-field/hands-on training and offsite classroom-oriented coursework. Sample topics may include:

  • Tree biology, anatomy, physiology
  • Tree identification, plant classification
  • Soil science: physical, chemical, and biological properties
  • Water management and irrigation
  • Tree nutrition and fertilization
  • Pruning methods and wound dressing
  • Plant growth regulators
  • Tree support (cabling, bracing)
  • Plant health care and management
  • Disease diagnosis and disorders
  • Tree inspection and risk assessment
  • Urban forestry, valuation
  • Regulatory and legal issues
  • Worker/equipment safety/hazards

Carolina Tree Care offers safety training, hazard training, and arborist training programs

Key questions to ask:

  1. Do you have formalized training practices and procedures?
  2. How do you ensure your employees are adequately trained and qualified?
  3. What type of training do you provide to new employees?
  4. What ongoing training do you provide to seasoned employees?
  5. On average, how many hours of training per year do your employees receive? Is this recorded and tracked?
  6. Are your training records available for review?
Crew Members Undergo Rigorous Training
I Trust My Tree Service Company Because They...

Offer Value That Matches Their Pricing

Operate with Integrity and Adhere to the Adage “You Get What You Pay For”

Plant Amnesty is an organization that has a stated mission to “end the senseless torture and mutilation of trees and shrubs due to mal-pruning.” Their site features a series of bad pruning photos with names such as “bad hair day,” “lollipop maple,” and “returning to the mother ship.” While the pics are pretty funny, the reality isn’t.

Improper trimming and pruning can cause real and lasting harm to your trees. A common technique in the tree service industry is a practice called tree topping, which reduces the size of a tree by removing the leaf-bearing crown.

As we all learned in grade school, leaves are pretty important for photosynthesis. Without adequate leaf coverage, trees lose their food supply, which weakens them. Continued topping can ultimately kill otherwise healthy trees — leading to costly removals.

Damage to trees is not always as dramatic as tree topping. Improper cuts made by an unskilled crew, or spikes worn by tree climbers, can lead to wounds that don’t heal. When exposed, pests and diseases can enter the tree and cause costly damage.

Carolina Tree Care loves performing plant health care and general tree care services

Key questions to ask:

  1. Do you perform tree topping services?
  2. Where is the healthiest place to prune a tree (or make a cut)?
  3. Do your climbers wear spikes? When and why?
  4. What is the contact information of the customer who’s been with you the longest? (Never a bad idea to drive by!)
I Trust My Tree Service Company Because They...

Maintain a Professional Appearance

Providing Clean Trucks and Well Mannered Crews at Your Property

In our neighborhood, there is a man who drives around in a beat-up pickup truck taking discarded metal from homeowners’ trash bins in order to cash in at the scrap yard. He’s making a few bucks while recycling. A win-win. But here’s the catch: he operates at night.

Most property owners and managers, especially those like you who are interested in maximizing the value of their properties, want to maintain a professional appearance at all times — and that includes the vehicles, equipment, and workers performing services at your sites.

Not that you should expect your tree care crew to arrive in a limo wearing three-piece suits, but you should expect them to be a positive reflection of your image — especially when working in public sites where they’re visible to the community. Conveying trust and professionalism is critical.

The Carolina Tree Care crew holding the tools needed to provide exceptional tree services.

Key questions to ask:

  1. How often do you invest in new equipment?
  2. What’s the average age of your fleet?
  3. How often do you perform preventative maintenance? Is there a formalized schedule?
  4. What type of personal protective equipment is required? (Think: safety glasses, vests, hard hats, chaps, gloves)
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Are Guided by Ethics and Integrity

A Values-Based Culture Builds a Trustworthy Organization

Have you ever heard someone say, “if it’s legal, it’s ethical”? Point that person to the subprime mortgage crisis. Conversely, have you ever driven five miles over the speed limit? No, of course not! (wink, wink)

The fact is what’s acceptable behavior for one person may not be acceptable to another. Ethics is a gray area. For this very reason, we highly recommend hiring a tree service company that employs a sound, well-articulated, professional code of ethics.

Like many other industries, adherence to ethics in the tree care industry goes beyond legal and regulatory compliance and acceptable arboricultural practices. A company that hires and trains employees based on a high integrity, shared values system is more likely to proactively guide the attitudes, beliefs, language, and behaviors of their crew members and, in turn, minimize misconduct.

From well-documented estimates and thorough explanations of the work to be conducted to fully delivering on promises, the ability to trust your tree service company is critical. This includes a culture of speaking up and correcting incorrect behaviors. What a company says and does defines who they are — forever.

ICARE value system for Carolina Tree Care that ensures we provide superior tree care services

Key questions to ask:

  1. What are the core values that guide your company?
  2. Do you have a documented code of ethics?
  3. How does your company handle ethics violations?
Blog Post:
Carolina Tree Care Gives Back!
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Offer a List of Reputable References

Don’t Just Take Their Word for It!

We love a top 10 list that goes to 11! What we don’t love: being persuaded by a salesperson to give him/her a high rating on a satisfaction survey. Thankfully, this is rarely a practice in the tree service industry.

Many top service providers have an outpouring of non-solicited references — folks who gush over their performance without being prompted to do so. Oftentimes, these testimonials are posted on a company’s website. However, some of the smaller firms may not have websites or the bandwidth to update their sites frequently. Don’t let that get in the way.

We highly recommend actively reaching out to your friends, family, and extended network for advice. Check company reviews on Yelp, Google, Angi, etc. Take to social media and ask for input. Place a post on a neighborhood app like Nextdoor. People are always happy to share the good, bad, and ugly with you.

Most importantly, conduct reference checks. Don’t be afraid to ask probing questions. You and your property deserve the best!


There you have it! All the ways you can separate the reputable tree service companies from the rest. We genuinely care about making sure you do business with the right company. The tips from this list will ensure you can trust the company you choose.

Your next read: The Cost for Tree Services in NC.

A Carolina Tree Care professional picking up a tree trunk using machinery

A key question to ask the company:

  1. May I contact any of your customers for a reference (vs. a hand-selected list that you provide)?

Key questions to ask the property owner:

  1. How did you hear about this firm?
  2. What services did they provide to you?
  3. How long ago were services performed?
  4. What impressed you the most?
  5. What could they have done differently to better meet your needs?
  6. What other firms were you considering?
  7. Why did you choose this company?
  8. On a scale of 1–10, how satisfied are you with the service provided?
  9. Would you use them again?
Free Download:
Handy Dandy Tree Service Checklist