Jack in a tree

ISA Certified Arborist


Jack Magai
ISA Certified Arborist
# PN-1157A



When is the best time of year to prune a tree?

Usually there is no best time of year. Exceptions may involve: the life cycles of insects or fungi which attack the tree in question; maximization of fruiting or flowering; recent or ongoing stresses; and seasonal changes in the attachment of bark.

Do you work in the winter?

Yes. Deep snow or ice will impede some work. Cabling usually not below 10 degrees F.

Do you give free estimates?

Within a 20-minute radius of Troy, or when otherwise convenient, yes. Beyond that we charge for travel, though will deduct that cost from a substantial bill for services resulting from the visit.

Are you insured?

Yes. Details on insurance page.

How much do you charge?

After looking at the trees and talking with the customers, we normally make a proposal to perform certain work for a stated fee.

What’s your hourly rate?

Jack’s time is billed at $100./hr.; Other climbers $50-80./hr.; $40./hr. for groundpeople. These rates apply to travel too. We’d rather be climbing trees than sitting in a car.

Why does this cost so much?

We're not cheap. We are good at what we do, and pride ourselves on being tree care specialists in what is a fairly high-risk profession.

Do you charge sales tax?

For pruning in New York State, yes.

Do you cut down trees?

Sometimes, yes. If it is a straightforward job or one which is large enough to use a crane, we often cannot compete with companies whose business is mostly removing trees.

How much do you charge to prune/ cut down a tree?

Between $100 and $10,000. There are so many variables to consider. The most important one is often truck access to the enormous mess we make.

How dangerous are trees next to buildings?

This is counter-intuitive: most mature trees we see close to buildings have large lower branches within 20 feet of the roof; these branches fan out over the building so that should the tree topple towards it the force would be spread out over a big surface area. Also the process of toppling involves a lot of root-breaking and soil-shifting, so said branches would be barely moving. (Removing these lower branches is removing a safety cushion.) Trees at a greater distance from buildings are more likely to cause damage because they can pick up speed after the root crown is no longer anchored.

Very massive trees (greater than 6 diameter or so) are exceptions to this generalization because the weight of the upper reaches of the tree acting on the long lever of the trunk may be sufficient to crush a nearby structure. So, beyond a certain size, the distance question is moot. To live under these giants is to accept the very small risk of a large impact.

Download this pdf to learn more about the question of risk posed by trees in general.

Tree Myths – Do trees give us oxygen?

Trees are not significant net releasers of oxygen. Though the leaves produce it as a by-product of sugar production (photosynthesis), the roots extract it through the soil from the air in the same amounts in order to convert these sugars into wood, leaves, hormones, etc. (respiration). There is some evidence that forests have elevated Oxygen levels during the daylight hours. Consequently one would expect lower-than-average levels at night