An arborist report is an independent report prepared by a qualified professional arborist containing specific observations and information on tree identification, size, condition, location, tree health. It may also include: recommended actions, potential impacts of development, and mitigation measures relating to one or more trees on an individual lot or project site. The report may require amendments as conditions change over time. The report may address specific requirements for a project or jurisdiction.
An Arborist Report Can Take Many Shapes
Generally speaking, when we think of the term, arborist report, we think of a formal report written by a highly trained professional arborist such as a Registered Consulting Arborist®, ISA Board-Certified Master Arborist®, or Consulting Arborist. Although this is most certainly true, arborist reports can take many forms. They can be a single page to hundreds of pages in length depending on the complexity of the assignment, the purpose and planned use of the report, as well as the needs of the client. Arborist reports can also be hand-written or take the form of simple oral reports of an assessed condition and recommendations.
As an example, a homeowner may want to know what is happening to their otherwise beautiful ornamental tree that has lost foliage all summer long. In this case, a simple oral report may be fine.
Reporting for Property Management and Real Estate
A real estate company or a property manager may want to know the general health and safety of a large shade tree growing on a property. The reasons for the tree assessment can range from diligent disclosure to risk management and maintenance budgeting. In these cases, it is important to document observations, conclusion/prognosis, and recommendations in a written report.
Reporting for Legal, Insurance and Public Professionals
An attorney, insurance company, township or property management company may require a more in-depth investigation into a tree related matter. Although their individual needs may vary greatly, they often share a commonality, a formal and detailed arborist report. This type of arborist report is generally in booklet-style format and follows a strict and logical discipline to arrive at well-defended conclusions and recommendations. This is also the preferred report style anytime the report is to be scrutinized by multiple parties. These reports usually include a number of sections in addition to a glossary, bibliography, certification of performance, and supporting documents in appendices. The supporting documents can include, photographs, witness statements, other reports, laboratory results, or other evidence. In these types of situations, the Consulting Arborist may be called upon to testify in court proceedings on a matter.
The Cost of an Arborist Report
The investment required for an arborist report can depend upon the subject’s distance from the office, the complexity of the assignment, as well as the length and sophistication of the report. For simple or repetitive situations, estimates can often be given based upon time calculations. A visit to a local homeowner’s property, followed by a brief inspection of a small tree and recommendations reported orally to the owner, would be an example of a simple and local assignment.
An example of a more complex assignment would be an ongoing case or project requiring a detailed investigation and report. In this situation, regular billing intervals and rates are established under agreement in advance of any report.
Regardless of method or purpose, an arborist report from a qualified Consulting Arborist presents scientifically backed information to draw independent, logical, objective conclusions and recommendations.