What you should know before hiring a tree company | SummitDaily.com

What you should know before hiring a tree company

State Sen. Dan Gibbs
special to the daily
Special to the Daily

Spring is now upon us, and with the warm weather fast approaching, so is tree treatment season. As we all know, the mountain pine beetle is destroying our forests at an alarming rate with no end in sight. There are few people in the Rocky Mountains who won’t somehow be affected by this epidemic.

Both preventive spraying and pheromone packs are effective ways to protect the trees in your yard from the mountain pine beetle. Unfortunately, every year unscrupulous and unlicensed tree companies purchase pesticides outside of Colorado, illegally import them into the state, and expose small children and families to dangerous chemicals and other health hazards. Be sure that you hire only a Colorado licensed expert to apply preventive sprays and packs. The Colorado Pesticide Applicators Act requires any person or company that applies pesticides to be licensed as a commercial applicator and to have at least $400,000 in general liability insurance. Know that it is against the law for unlicensed tree companies to apply pesticides and that it is impossible for an unlicensed company to obtain liability insurance for spraying. For more information, go to the Colorado Department of Agriculture web site: http://www.ag.state.co.us.

An experienced applicator will identify hazards and take the necessary steps to protect the homeowner’s property from pesticide drift, especially around a home. In addition, licensed applicators know how to apply the pesticide at the correct and safe rate that is effective at controlling the pest. They will also have the necessary training to minimize the damages in case there is an accident or spill. There is a minimum $1,000 fine per violation for a person or company that performs applications without a license.

Tree removal is unregulated. Anyone can buy a chainsaw. Liability insurance and workmen’s compensation are not requirements for a company to purchase an ad in the paper or the Yellow Pages. You should beware, that unless a tree company is licensed under the Colorado Pesticide Applicators Act, it is unlikely they are insured.

If an uninsured contractor drops a tree on your neighbor’s house or car, you may be responsible. If an unlicensed applicator spills chemicals in your neighborhood drinking water, you may be responsible. It only takes a moment to ask for copies of liability and workmen’s compensation insurance, and both are important to protecting yourself and the beautiful place we live.

State Sen. Dan Gibbs of Summit County is a Wildfire Mitigation Specialist for Summit County, certified wildland firefighter, and member of Governor Ritter’s Forest Health Advisory Council. He was also recently appointed to the Western Governors’ Association Forest Health Advisory Committee.

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