Tree owners in Saint Paul and their trees have new protections in the recently passed ordinance regulating tree trimmers in the city. The ordinance will help ensure that licensed tree trimmers carry adequate insurance and follow recommended professional pruning standards.
Property owners have long had problems when contracting unlicensed tree trimmers to do tree work. Work may be poorly done and trees damaged. Homeowners may also be overcharged or jobs left unfinished. By hiring a tree trimming company licensed with the city, homeowners are better protected against work not up to professional standards.
Effective March 1, 2012, a licensee must: comply with professional pruning standards recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI); provide visible permanent identification on each work vehicle including the company name, license information including expiration date, and phone number; and carry minimum insurance of $100,000 for bodily injury or death and $100,000 for damage to or destruction of property. The insurance is increased from the previous requirements of $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.
Also effective March 1, 2012, tree companies applying for a license in Saint Paul must be registered with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and listed on the Tree Care Registry. By registering, the MDA can quickly notify them of new tree pests and disease information as well as regulations that may impact the way one does business. Serious exotic forest pests such as gypsy moth, emerald ash borer, and Asian longhorned beetles are inadvertently spread by movement of infested wood, branches, logs and brush across the United States, sometimes unknowingly by tree care companies.
By the end of 2012, at least one person employed by the business must be in possession of an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) credential for new or renewal applications. ISA promotes the professional practice of arboriculture and fosters a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits provided by trees.
If a homeowner has a complaint or is suspicious of an unlicensed tree contractor, the Department of Safety and Inspections should be notified by phone at 651-266-8989, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Calls can be made anonymously, and callers can check back in four days to find out progress on the complaint.
BackgroundIn 2008 Saint Paul’s Department of Parks and Recreation formed the Tree Advisory Panel (TAP) whose mission is to serve as a link between the Forestry section and the citizens of Saint Paul to preserve, promote, and enhance the urban forest of Saint Paul. The panel consists of one resident from each of the seven city council wards, a Parks Commission member, a representative from the small business community, a private tree service representative, a University of Minnesota staff member, a representative from the Friends of the Parks and Trails of Saint Paul and Ramsey County, and one Parks and Recreation staff from both the Design and Forestry sections.
When emerald ash borer was discovered in Saint Paul in 2009, the Tree Advisory Panel saw the need to update licensing requirements for tree trimmers operating in the city.