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Hiring Licensed Tree Experts Helps Avoid Scams

DNR Advises Homeowners Check Tree Contractors

Photo of tree expert working on trees from bucket truck

Photo by Stephen Badger/Maryland DNR

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources cautions homeowners to be alert for non-licensed tree contractors who take money for work that never gets done. The Maryland Forest Service and Natural Resources Police have been made aware of one such individual operating in Baltimore and Harford counties, specifically targeting senior citizens. 

For anyone looking to have tree work done, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers a few important suggestions that homeowners should follow before hiring a contractor.    

Only Maryland Licensed Tree Experts should be hired to trim branches and remove trees – they are the only tree care professionals who lawfully can perform this work in Maryland. 

Before a contractor begins work, homeowners should ask to see a license. The department’s website also allows anyone to check a contractor for a license number. 

Licensed Tree Experts are required to carry insurance that covers tree care work. A company that isn’t licensed is not only violating the law, but may not have the proper coverage in case of damage or injury.   

The department also recommends that homeowners obtain more than one estimate for the proposed work; receive a written contract that states the work to be performed and the cost; and never pay the full amount before all the contracted work is completed.  

Anyone who believes that they’ve been approached by an unlicensed business advertising or practicing tree care services in Maryland can file a complaint online or contact the Maryland Forest Service at 410-260-8511. 

To protect the public, the Maryland Forest Service investigates complaints against individuals or entities that provide tree care services. Unlicensed tree care service providers are subject to criminal prosecution by the Natural Resources Police for operating without a tree expert license, and advertising without a license. 

Additionally, Licensed Tree Experts who violate the law can face suspension or revocation.  

Anyone interested in applying for a license can do so on the department’s website. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department is currently allowing licensed tree experts seeking to renew their license to use virtual webinars posted online for their required continuing education credits.