Here in Coconut Creek, we work to make sure residents get to enjoy all the benefits that our trees provide, such as giving us oxygen and reducing the ambient temperature. However, once again, the city is fighting a battle against unlicensed tree trimmers. If you own property, you know who they are. They come by on the weekend and offer pruning “expertise.”
First, no one should be knocking on your door soliciting for business unless they have a city-issued identification, which includes their photo. This solicitors’ permit is how the city verifies that the company has its requisite licensing in order.
There is a pattern to illegal soliciting and illegal tree trimming activity. It happens frequently on weekends, after regular work hours, and it increases just before bulk pickup.
Remember, anyone performing pruning for hire must possess a valid Broward County tree trimmers license. As the owner of a property, you are responsible for any fines or remedial action if your trees are pruned improperly against city and county codes. Most of the violations given are for the following:
- Topping or hatracking: Trimming the tops and sides back to a pre-determined point in the canopy, removing most of the leaves.
- Over-thinning or “lions-tailing”: Removing too many branches in the interior portion of the canopy, leaving the majority of leaves out toward the ends of the branches and resulting in an uneven distribution of foliage.
- Over-lifting: Removing an excessive number of branches in the lower portion of the tree.
- Tree removal without a permit.
If you are approached by anyone offering tree pruning services, always ask to see their Broward County tree trimmers license with their photo displayed on the card. On the card, their license number will be listed with a letter (either A or B) with three or four numbers listed after the letter (for example: A-123 or B-1111). There also will be an expiration date. Be highly suspicious of whether they have a license if they are knocking on your door during the weekend.
Tree trimming license numbers are required to be displayed on the work vehicle, so watch out for this, too. License-holding companies have been trained through the International Society of Arboriculture, and/or the county. They will also have liability and workers’ compensation insurance to the benefit of the homeowner.
If you have any doubts, contact the city landscape staff at 954.973.6756. We can verify if the contractor is licensed. We are also available to visit your property and guide you on proper pruning techniques.