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Certified Tree Risk Assessor

Chris Francis

Chris Francis

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I think you should read the last line in the 1st paragraph on you website under tree care!!!! BTW, was the exam for the CA really what you made it out to be? cause I think a 9th grader could study for it & pass..........literally!!


LXT..............

Last line, 1st paragraph of my website under Tree Service:

Arborists are knowledgeable about the needs of trees and are trained and equipped to provide proper care.

I stand by that. Again, proper tree care does not always mean "crank up the chainsaw."

As for the test, it comes straight from the study guide. You are probably correct. Anyone that could read and study would likely pass. I remember a lot of "best answer" questions though, where there were several good correct answers, but you had to choose the best one. When I took the exam though, the Tree ID part was still there. I am in south Alabama, and the test was in north Alabama, but the trees were from the region (yes, included many trees I have never seen nor will ever see again). I agree that plant ID is essential, but it does make sense that what is tested now is the ability to identify, not memorization.
 

lxt

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Chris, not meaning to be abrasive, just wanting the cert to have meaning! I am well aware of the requirements & honestly find it somewhat laughable that a person @ the Lowes nursery section can become a CA!

the original exam was very difficult & encompassed all aspects from ID to skills testing........this version we have now is very rudemenatry, even the BCMA test wouldnt even compare to the original CA test.

I know ISA has created additional certs, But..............Really!!!! how could someone do a canopy inspection without climbing? how are ya gonna cable & brace that prize maple in granmas back yard, how are you gonna install a lightening protection system & etc.. without the ability to climb? even the topic of this thread "tree risk assessment certification"..... guess when doing cavity inspections to determine structural stability the non climbing arb has to rely on the climber.......:dizzy: & that is exactly what happened where Im at untill I showed up!!

I know where you`re coming from & some on here will back you in & of the fact that they cant & never could climb, but make a living consulting from the ground or sending a Sub (contract climber ) up to do the work for em, The consulting project im on Now has gone through over a dozen Certified Arborists cause they cant climb, when I told the enviromental specialist I`ll climb up & check it out........................he damn neer fell over, I told him "Im not as fast after the surgery, but give me time!"

He just couldnt get over it.....................told me most of you guys come out here & dont leave the ground, when i ask for Pics aloft or samples from a certain section of the tree...............they just looked at me & said we`ll need to bring in a climber!!! Im this guys favorite man just cause I can climb & im a CA........along with many other Certs & Licenses!!

So the long & short of it is: in order to be a respected Arborist, it would be better if one had the ability or has the ability to climb the tree in which they`re providing care for & if they dont? then No Arborist Cert for you!!! JMHO

Can you imagine the mechanic @ the dealership telling you "id fix it if I had the tools" or the Doctor telling ya "id give ya medicine if I could write the RX" or the plumber....well you get the idea!

LXT...............
 
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Chris Francis

Chris Francis

Obsessed with trees
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Chris, not meaning to be abrasive, just wanting the cert to have meaning! I am well aware of the requirements & honestly find it somewhat laughable that a person @ the Lowes nursery section can become a CA!

the original exam was very difficult & encompassed all aspects from ID to skills testing........this version we have now is very rudemenatry, even the BCMA test wouldnt even compare to the original CA test.

I know ISA has created additional certs, But..............Really!!!! how could someone do a canopy inspection without climbing? how are ya gonna cable & brace that prize maple in granmas back yard, how are you gonna install a lightening protection system & etc.. without the ability to climb? even the topic of this thread "tree risk assessment certification"..... guess when doing cavity inspections to determine structural stability the non climbing arb has to rely on the climber.......:dizzy: & that is exactly what happened where Im at untill I showed up!!

I know where you`re coming from & some on here will back you in & of the fact that they cant & never could climb, but make a living consulting from the ground or sending a Sub (contract climber ) up to do the work for em, The consulting project im on Now has gone through over a dozen Certified Arborists cause they cant climb, when I told the enviromental specialist I`ll climb up & check it out........................he damn neer fell over, I told him "Im not as fast after the surgery, but give me time!"

He just couldnt get over it.....................told me most of you guys come out here & dont leave the ground, when i ask for Pics aloft or samples from a certain section of the tree...............they just looked at me & said we`ll need to bring in a climber!!! Im this guys favorite man just cause I can climb & im a CA........along with many other Certs & Licenses!!

So the long & short of it is: in order to be a respected Arborist, it would be better if one had the ability or has the ability to climb the tree in which they`re providing care for & if they dont? then No Arborist Cert for you!!! JMHO

Can you imagine the mechanic @ the dealership telling you "id fix it if I had the tools" or the Doctor telling ya "id give ya medicine if I could write the RX" or the plumber....well you get the idea!

LXT...............
Agree! Very well said. Having that skill set can open many more doors and could provide better care for the trees. Where I am, I can climb if need be. Our bucket will access most of what I need to get to for inspection, but I also have 2 climbers on staff that can climb anywhere I want them to.
 
Chris Francis

Chris Francis

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lxt

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I agree, base rot or root issues are pretty much apparent when viewing, if we are really trying to determine structural integrity then the use of a resistograph or other means should be used, co-dom stems, included bark & other issues are generally spotted from the ground............But are needing remedied aloft!!!!

I have to dis agree with the statement about issues out in the canopy are minimal......the project im currently working on requires end tip samples & bark samples along with any noticeable other problems...which can be an enormous undertaking!

these canopy issues usually lead to systemic problems & ultimately tree failure & what Del is talking about above! This is why being a climber is important......even if not certified the climber will gain insight as to the symptom, cause & cure methods involved, a climber on the project where Im at is much more desirable that being just a CA on the ground!!!



LXT.............
 
Corymbia

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I see more trees with large fallen limbs than I do whole tree failures. A good percentage of the time problems at the base are evident to even the most casual observer.
Indeed that is a valid observation. Yet in spite of this, in Australia and I suspect in the US as well, branch failures result in fewer fatalities than stem failures. The reason is to do with the size of the part and the mode and timing of the failures.

Risk assessment, amongst other things, is about being reasonably practicable. If it takes me, for example, 5 minutes to assess a tree from the ground but 30 minutes to assess it aerially, I would need to get 6 times the benefit in risk management from the aerial inspection. When it comes to risk, this is generally not the case. Knowing when an aerial inspection is appropriate and required is more important than being able to perform one. If you can't climb or choose not to climb, knowing a suitably qualified and experienced climber would make good sense.
 

lxt

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If you cant climb............you shouldnt be an Arborist!!! "desirable" & "sometimes useful" What a joke these statements are, C`mon! you guys keep thinking that & when you need a climber & he wants top dollar...? its because a select few entered this trade that shouldnt have & need a CLIMBER!!!

Tell ya what, I will always be chosen over a non-climbing CA or non-climbing BCMA for purposes of enviromental consultation, vegetation analysis, field data collection, etc... cause a bunch of lazy arses with a Cert that an 8th grader could obtain think they are to good to climb........or truth be told....just dont have the ability & manhood to! & thinking that climbing is "desirable" & "sometimes useful" is just what got them FIRED......So yep Ill step in & take that "desirable" money they`ll be missing along with the crappy reference they get when applying elsewhere!!



LXT............
 

lxt

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Knowing when an aerial inspection is appropriate and required is more important than being able to perform one. If you can't climb or choose not to climb, knowing a suitably qualified and experienced climber would make good sense.
WTF kinda oxymoronic phrase this is?? knowing when is more important than being able to perform one Really? so let me see if I got this?

yes ma`am your tree needs an aerial inspection, well how do you know? cause im a tree risk assessor "certified", ohh my...so are you gonna go take a look at it? Well no Ma`am......im gonna bring in a climber on your dime cause I cant climb or just plain dont want to!......trust me ma`am this just makes good sense, her final reply I think ill get a second opinion from someone who really knows what they`re doing

Good sense uh? & just who foots the bill cause the Certified Idiot doesnt have the skills to perform what he has diagnosed? cause in the ole USA..............that dont go over to well....!



LXT............
 
Chris Francis

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Serious question: Out of 100 trees being assessed for risk, how many require an aerial inspection? For me, that number is very low... single digits. And of the ones I do believe warrant an aerial inspection, I can generally get to the area with a bucket truck or ladder. Off the top of my head: epithetic growth (I always know what this means, I'm just not sure of the extent of the decay), cables, insect damage, flat spot, crack, "something doesn't look right," etc... Even then, we are already doing work in the tree (pruning structurally, pruning to remove dead limbs, adjusting cables, etc..., so it is not a big deal to take a look or a sample while we are there. Did I mention we can get to most everywhere without climbing? But as I said, when an aerial inspection is warranted, my climber is typically going to be in the tree anyway (bucket or monkey). While my guys are swinging around, I can go talk to the next customer, be on another job, or tackle some more government paperwork. There are only so many hours in the day. Most of what I see is co-dom or man-made.
"Yes m'am, the plumber cut through all the roots 4 feet away from the trunk. This makes the tree much more likely to fail in this direction. The tip dieback you see is a result of the injury and will worsen with time. The tree will also hollow out over time, but the biggest concern for me right now is the structural defect below ground. And, oh yeah, you need an aerial inspection!"
 
jefflovstrom

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Serious question: Out of 100 trees being assessed for risk, how many require an aerial inspection? For me, that number is very low... single digits. And of the ones I do believe warrant an aerial inspection, I can generally get to the area with a bucket truck or ladder. Off the top of my head: epithetic growth (I always know what this means, I'm just not sure of the extent of the decay), cables, insect damage, flat spot, crack, "something doesn't look right," etc... Even then, we are already doing work in the tree (pruning structurally, pruning to remove dead limbs, adjusting cables, etc..., so it is not a big deal to take a look or a sample while we are there. Did I mention we can get to most everywhere without climbing? But as I said, when an aerial inspection is warranted, my climber is typically going to be in the tree anyway (bucket or monkey). While my guys are swinging around, I can go talk to the next customer, be on another job, or tackle some more government paperwork. There are only so many hours in the day. Most of what I see is co-dom or man-made.
"Yes m'am, the plumber cut through all the roots 4 feet away from the trunk. This makes the tree much more likely to fail in this direction. The tip dieback you see is a result of the injury and will worsen with time. The tree will also hollow out over time, but the biggest concern for me right now is the structural defect below ground. And, oh yeah, you need an aerial inspection!"
OK, I will bite1
How about a row of eucalyptus sideroxylon;s along the back row that have been topped for year's at the back of a hotel with a view?
Jeff
 
treesandsurf

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good discussion regarding the ca cert and climbing. It's frustrating when you've developed a craft (climbing) which is challenging/rewarding/demanding/difficult/hard work and takes a lot of time to hone and part of the recognition for the honing of this craft is lumped into a big CA certification which doesn't even recognize it as a valuable or important skillset for the practicing arborist?? What it does recognize is a lower level certification (CTW) that is considered entry level in this profession with the psychology being that it is one step to move on from.... But a real climber/arborist doesn't 'move on' from the most fundamental core of this profession, unless of course they are forced to.

That's where you start from, then the next slap is that the "expert" in all things trees will most likely never have touched a tree above ten feet or if he/she has it was a guided tour and then has often looked down the nose at the tree climbing grunts with pity for being wrapped up in such a dreary task. There's something awry with the classification and definition (and the certification as a whole) of an 'arborist' that strikes a deep cord for guys that do it as a craft and as a profession and as a lifestyle. It's one of those things, I meet a lot of 'Certified Arborists' but I meet only a small few "Arborists". Call it what you like, but there's a huge gap between the two....

jp:D
 
Chris Francis

Chris Francis

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OK, I will bite1
How about a row of eucalyptus sideroxylon;s along the back row that have been topped for year's at the back of a hotel with a view?
Jeff
Okay, so a hotel has been paying to have their trees topped for years... Now, all of a sudden, they call a CA and need a risk assessment? Gimme a break! "Yes sir, the tree topping has caused permanent damage, but you don't care about the trees anyway. It is unlikely the topping will result in an entire tree failure, but allow me to drill a hole here and tap with my mallett here to be sure the decay has not spread that far. Without even climbing the trees, I can tell you that there are weak unions where the topping cuts were made and where the new branches have grown. You may lose some branches that appear otherwise healthy. Why did you top these? You could have planted smaller-growing trees or if these were already here, performed some reduction pruning while treating with growth regulator. I could have my climber get in there and remove some of the defects and select permanent branches. Here is an hourly rate and estimate of how long I think it will take, but I am hesitant to remove much more foliage as the trees need all the leaves possible to make food so they can attempt to recover from the damage. Oh, what's that, you don't want to pay for my consult? Yes, I figured you would pull a stunt like that. Why don't you have your tree-topping buddy advise you some more?"

BTW, we were talking about risk assessment, so while I understand the need for climbers, respect the knowledge and skills, and realize there are some specific examples of why climbing is important to tree inspections and risk assessment, I have to ask again: When assessing tree risk, what percentage of trees need to have an aerial inspection?
 
Chris Francis

Chris Francis

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Still waiting for a response to that question, but I thought of something: While I am doing risk assessments, consults, inspections, etc..., I am being paid by the hour by the client. If the client has a limited budget, it only allows a few minutes for each tree, and a little longer for heritage trees or some tree(s) that are special to the client. If I spend an hour climbing around a tree, it really limits the length of time I can spend on the rest of the trees; or if I climb them all, the bill is going to be through the roof. The clock is ticking. So, whether I do the climbing or not, the client will need to pay someone to climb the tree (if it warrants it). I am not climbing the tree for free, neither is my climber or anyone else. If it needs to be climbed, what difference does it make who climbs it?

And to comment on the remark made earlier that the guys with the notepads turn their nose at the climbers, I am sure you can find some that will, but that is generally not the case. The climbers (not all, just some) that may be considered to be "beneath" someone are the ones that truly are beneath everyone for all the right reasons: alcohol, drugs, ignorance, police record, poor manners, etc... If you are educated, respectful, and relatively clean-cut, you are on the same level as the others. If you have an additional skill, such as climbing, you may even be escalated to another level. You know the ones that seem to drag the profession down: ripped shirt, missing teeth, body odor, cigarette, dip, foul mouth, hung over, talkin' 'bout "toppin', lion's tailin', and wound paint," etc... Those guys will be sneered no matter if they are climbers or pan-handlers.
 

lxt

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Chris, I can only think you have been in this biz for a short time & are prolly in your 20`s late or early 30`s.......& the reason I say this is beacause it is with that age group that I find that they need to create excuses for the "WANT" not to climb or to engage in hard work. Its not that they cant.........they just want a clean job & are usually lazy & think hard work is below them!!

your reference to a climber as a monkey shows the thought process many like you have, you think that cause you went to college, got a degree in biz, started a tree service & hired a few less fortunate types with no degree & a hard work ethic you can sit in your truck or in the office with paper & pencil looking like more than you are!!!!

If you think you & you monkeys are that good, come up to the Allegheny National Forest & do a canopy sweep gathering items for lab study to try & define why certain species are declining & there is no bucket access!! some of these majestic beauties are well over 100 ft tall, & yes we are doing risk assessments aloft (atleast that is what the sign off sheet says), It cracks me up when I hear guys come on here & defend not being able to climb.........to me those types are worthless & shouldnt be in our trade doing any thing but bringing real tree guys (climbers) their coffee!!

Funny......the project Im about to finish up the non climbing CA would walk around with his little range finder looking @ the canopy of trees in question & every statement would end with.............."tree appears" , "tree has possible signs of", "cannot definatively state" & so on..........:laugh: anything to avoid being responsible cause he didnt have the ability or want to truly find out...............WHY?



CAUSE THE WORTHLESS IDIOT CANT?WONT CLIMB.......! how many CA`s do we need for the obvious tree problems, really? or the BCMA? just about any one worth their salt can say....looks like EAB, ALB, root rot, co-dom stem failure, Dutch elm, etc.... so how laughable is it when one of these great educated types cant climb up to inspect the cable & brace system, Lightning system install...........? but have to call a climber!!
 

lxt

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I can generally get to the area with a bucket truck or ladder.

But as I said, when an aerial inspection is warranted, my climber is typically going to be in the tree anyway (bucket or monkey). While my guys are swinging around, I can go talk to the next customer

"Yes m'am, the plumber cut through all the roots 4 feet away from the trunk. This makes the tree much more likely to fail in this direction. The tip dieback you see is a result of the injury and will worsen with time. The tree will also hollow out over time, but the biggest concern for me right now is the structural defect below ground. And, oh yeah, you need an aerial inspection!"

What a bunch of arrogant prattle, lets break this post down shall we?

"bucket truck or ladder"................do you have a steiner? what you really meant is one of your monkeys will get up there!!

your guys typically will be in the tree anyway?................. so you are gonna writee out an RA-report from what one of your monkeys tells you? or you dont give reports for inspections? cause thats what I run into, CA tells home owner tree is fine & structurally sound (from what can be viewed externally & without special needs devices).........this is literally what he stated in his report & bam............had he climbed the tree & viewed the hollow in the section over the house that family wouldnt have a sugar maple for a chandeleer...........he charged this family $250.00 for a consult & assessment...but he dont climb!!! Im doing all in my power to make sure he is held accountable & hope his CA is taken away!! worthless bum, guess its easier to write & make false claims than to actually do the job, thats what its coming to!!

Now onto your 3rd & final plumber scenario............did you really need a certification to tell the lady that a plumber (noticeably) trenched through her yard 4ft from the tree? I bet a 8th grader has the ability to make that assessment & provide the statements you just did............and without a certification........my how can that be!!! Now how bout you make a suggestion on how it might be remedied & oh BTW..... tip dieback does not always mean a structual below ground defect!!!!!



LXT.........................where do these guys come from?
 
Chris Francis

Chris Francis

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Tree climbing Daphne

LXT,
Again, very combative. Again, I have climbed and can still if need be. I choose not to because it makes more sense to have others do it for me, just like you cannot expect a lawyer to type his own reports, a doctor to sweep his own floors, or Bill Gates to actually put together every computer and write every line of code. As for doing hard work, I find it difficult to do manual labor anymore between emails, phone calls, office drudgery, and talking with clients. I enjoy manual labor, but it makes little sense to leave my phone in the truck and disappear for hours to do "work," meanwhile I have 10-20 guys standing around somewhere waiting on me to answer my phone. All I am saying is that CA's don't have to be climbers. I know you disagree; that's fine. There is much more to tree care than climbing - even you know that. And that most assessments will not warrant or finance a climbing inspection. The term "monkey" is not meant to be derogatory, but rather to create imagery (swinging around in the canopy of trees) and an attempt to add some humor. I'm not following the Steiner comment, maybe that is before my time. I looked at a live oak yesterday with a small section of dead branches and scorched leaves. Fortunately the limbs affected were close enough to the ground that I could reach them, but if they were not, I would have gotten up there to inspect and take a sample. That is a health issue though, not structural. As for your buddy that missed the hollow in the tree, I see it both ways: There was likely an indication that could have been seen from the ground as to the defect, but one cannot be expected to climb every tree for inspection. Furthermore, if the client is paying hourly, there often is not time allotted for aerial inspections. If there is, what is the difference between me doing it and having someone else do it? Maybe I should add to my list of disclaimers that an aerial inspection is available upon request. We will already recommend this service if there is cause of concern or the tree or target is extremely valuable, which generally means the funds are available to do so. I still have not gotten an answer to the easy question of how often a risk assessment requires a climber. Sure there are some, but how about as a percentage? An experienced arborist should know the rough math on this.

What it boils down to is that LXT is mad that he has to work with his hands. Maybe there are others out there that are jealous of LXT because they have to sit behind a desk all day, and would rather be doing something "productive." To each his own. Trust me, most days, I wish I had a regular job and got to clock in and out, but I don't. I feel your pain on the younger generation wanting to "not work." All these kids think they are entitled to a cooshy job making $100K + bennies... all for doing nothing... and they all want to be the manager, even though know nothing about managing or the job they want to manage.

On the plumber comment, I find that people do not know or understand where tree roots are, what they do, and how trees work. In this field, there is advice and old wive's tales abound. Seems like everyone has different information and recommendations. So, even though I don't need a cert. to to tell someone the obvious (to us) that trenching through the roots affects the tree (structure and health), the cert. certainly gives me some credit over the plumber, contractor, yard man, etc... that have varying opinions. I am quick to whip out my certification, licenses, standards, BMP's, and a brochure from ISA on what I am explaining. Otherwise, I am just another yahoo (which you already think I am... I can live with that). And, yes, I realize staghorning does not always equal a below-ground problem; but you missed the point of the exercise, which was that there was an obvious structural problem that an aerial inspection was not going to help: it would have just cost the customer more money, whether I did it or a monkey did (no pun intended). And of course remedies are discussed, one of which is basal pruning.

The National Forest Project may say "Risk Assessment," but it is really health assessment, pest ID, and investigation. Have fun. I have to go save some trees.
 

lxt

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Mad that I have to work with my hands............? :laugh: Chris I enjoy doing what I do & think that those who dont climb & never had just dont have any place in the tree care trade!!!

And it is risk assessment up in the National forest.....funny how I have to fill out a report pertaining to structure which is very detailed & guess what? if there is a noticeable defect aloft that could cause damage to surrounding vegetation that issue must be mitigated............but by whom is the question? Ahh thats right, by me!!! ya know a climbing certified arborist, guess that leaves you & many others out uh? not to mention I am held liable for any mis-diagnosis or faulty report.......something someone with a name of a girl just couldnt understand

you go save your trees & put your monkeys up there to do it, Ill be truly saving trees while working with botanist, horticulturists & biologists..........there is a lot to learn from these folks & ya know what chris....they all wish they could climb & say what a true gift it is........its a shame that people who engage in tree care would even think about not climbing or defend such when those with Masters/Doctorates wish they could....

BTW. maybe I come off combative because non climbing bums think thats ok all the while owning a tree service....:dizzy:




LXT..................
 
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