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• Treat for insect damage. Trees in different areas of the country can be victim to different insect infestations, such as those from emerald ash borer in the Midwest and pine beetles in the West. Insects can bore into trees and weaken their structure.

• Take care with young trees. Be especially attentive to trees that are not yet mature. They require more care, and water, compared to established trees. Also, make sure you’re using the right type of soil for the tree you plant. Experts suggest pruning and maintaining early on so a younger tree doesn’t develop poor structure.

• Hire right. As always with hiring a service provider, get several bids, ask for and check references, never pay in full up front, and confirm that the company is properly insured and licensed.

Consider hiring a company that employs a certified arborist. Check the websites of the International Society of Arboriculture, the American Society of Consulting Arborists or the Tree Care Industry Association to see if the company you’re considering hiring is listed as an accredited member.

Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, a resource for local consumer reviews on everything from home repair to health care.

© 2013, http://www.angieslist.com/
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