Q: Is Out on a Limb insured?

A: OOL is fully licensed, bonded and insured as required by WA state law. All employees are covered by WA L&I insurance and we maintain a $1 million liability policy. Proof of insurance certificates are available upon request.


Q: Why do trees need to be pruned?

A: Excellent question. In the forest, trees take care of themselves. Much of the work we do in the urban forest is about helping trees to get along with people – minimizing the risk of injury or damage to property, letting more light into the yard, protecting roofing material from damage etc. Good proactive maintenance pruning can also improve the structural integrity of your trees, extend their lifespan, improve fruit production and highlight their beauty.


Q: What happens to the firewood if you remove my tree?

A: Any material generated over 6″ diameter will be cut to firewood length and left stacked onsite, unless other arrangements are made. Our default is to cut logs from your tree into 12-16 inch length firewood and stack near the stump. We are not set up to haul wood, but for an additional fee we can sometimes arrange for firewood removal. Alternatively, our clients have found that Craigslist is a great way to get rid of unwanted firewood.


Q: Do I need to be home when the work is done?

A: No, not unless you prefer to be. We do not need access to power and will bill you by email when the work order is complete. Please check your spam folder if you don’t see the invoice after a week.


Q: Do you take credit cards?

A: Yes! Finally, after almost 23 years of clients asking to pay with credit cards we have made the leap! When you are invoiced for completed work, you may pay by credit or debit card.


Q: Do I have to clean up the mess, or is that part of the bid?

A: Most bids include chipping of woody debris under 6″ in diameter, raking and blowing. We leave nothing behind, except a little sawdust and sometimes firewood cut to length. In most cases, a “no-haul” (i.e. leaving the clean-up for you) will not save you much money, since the chipper is onsite when the work is done either way.


Q: Is a permit required to do this work?

A: This topic will be discussed in further detail, during the bid process, if it is relevant to your job. In Seattle, permits are required for the pruning or removal of trees within 8 feet of the right-of-way (parking strip usually), and removal of trees over 6”dbh on critical slopes that might play a role in slope stability. Removal of most species on property not undergoing development is restricted when trunk diameter reaches 6” DBH (diameter at breast height), but even these regulated trees can be pruned without a permit by a tree company who is on the Seattle Tree Service Provider list.


Q: What happens to the chips? Can I keep them?

A:  We chip into the truck, and when it’s full we dump. We maintain a waiting list of people who would like a load of chips, which is free, and whoever is geographically closest when we need to dump gets the load. With that said, you are welcome to keep the chips from your job or to take whatever else is on the truck that day if you have a use for it. They are dumped directly out of the truck.


Q: Why would I want to keep the wood chips?

A:  Urban soils are typically depleted of organic matter, in comparison to forest soils where trees evolved. Mulching the root zone of your trees with 3-6″ of arborist wood chips is one easy way to “feed” the soil. Chips can retain soil moisture, moderate soil temperature, control weed growth and, as they break down, they fortify the soil with organic matter and minerals. Mulching with wood chips makes urban soil more hospitable to trees, which evolved in forests full of woody debris and understory plants.


Q: What about pathogens and seeds from invasive species? Will taking arborist chips spread disease or turn my yard into a thicket of holly and laurel?

A:  Allowing a chip pile to compost for a month or 6 weeks will increase the internal temperature to a degree that effectively neutralizes most seeds and pathogens. Seattle’s arboretum is one of the places we frequently dump chips.


Q: What is the ISA?

A:  The International Society for Arboriculture (ISA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting proper tree care. It also provides continuing education courses and workshops for arborists, allied professionals and the general public, and offers various certifications for tree care professionals.


Q:  How much material can safely and responsibly be removed from a tree at a time?

A:  General consensus in the industry seems to be that the less live material removed from a tree the better, though this varies from tree to tree. A good conservative rule-of-thumb is to not remove more than 15 or 20 percent of the living canopy in a single pruning, on a five to ten year cycle. Removing more live material than this from a tree is likely to cause stress and can, in some cases, send a tree into a downward spiral of declining health. Removal of dead branches is not included in this figure, and can be done at any time with little to no cost to the tree’s health.