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Because trees are so aesthetically and functionally important in our natural environment, they should be removed only when it is absolutely necessary. To fix up your landscape and re-shape unkempt trees, a thorough trimming of overgrowth and removal of dead branches may be all that is required. If an entirely dead tree threatens yard safety, however, it is high time to bring in a qualified tree removal professional. Limbs falling on power lines or through roofs is a problem that demands immediate response. A landscape tree specialist will make astute decisions in order to remove decaying branches, trim unhealthy limbs and take down a rotting tree whose existence is a menace. Before just hiring any tree man, here are a few tips for spotting and employing a genuinely qualified landscape specialist.

A professional tree landscaper will put in writing all information and dealings from the initial estimate to the service contract. Both parties should understand how much of the tree will be excised and what the cost will be. Before engaging in negotiations, ask about the specialist's proof of current liability insurance; a professional landscaper is insured in the event of accidents of his person or your property. Now it's time to take a look at his landscaping tools to glean a sense of his professionalism--ladders, ropes, climbing harnesses, pruning shears and hefty chains are all good signs of savoir faire. A third issue to note is that a professional landscaper will never insist on advance full payment for a job that is intended to be carried out at a later date. Finally, you should review some of his references and credentials to ensure that the landscaper is a qualified specialist.