What is Tree Risk Assessment?

Trees enhance the quality of life for people & animals alike. Trees make life in the Upstate truly enjoyable! But a hazardous situation can exist when you have a defective tree & a high-value target. Trees in the forest fall everyday without notice or fanfare. But trees in urban areas can cause personal injury & property damage.

Risk Management is a well-established concept in the care of public spaces. An important part of Risk Management, as it pertains to trees, is called Tree Risk Assessment (TRA). Successful TRA requires the involvement of 3 distinct and independent roles; a Tree Risk Manager (a responsible tree owner or manager), a Tree Risk Assessor (a qualified consulting arborist who inspects trees & assigns risk), and a competent arborist who through service work reduces risk to an acceptable level. The arborist should not be the one who decides which tree requires removal. With considerable liability exposure, TRA is not an area an arborist should readily take on.

Tree removal can cost thousands of dollars, but it’s not always needed. In fact, most hazards can be mitigated simply by moving the target, pruning, adding structural support and/or reducing access. While it’s impossible to maintain trees  free of risk, TRA can become a useful tool in the hands of the owner or manager to assess, manage & mitigate tree risk. It’s amazing how much a little knowledge can relieve one of unwarranted fear!

What is Tree Risk Assessment Qualification?

The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) offers the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ) credential as an instructor-led program that demonstrates professional knowledge in TRA through a training course, an indoor written exam, and an outdoor TRA exam, that must be renewed every 5 years. The program offers qualified consulting arborists a standardized, systematic process for assessing tree risk, as well as providing the information owners and managers will need to make informed decisions which promote safety, and enhance tree benefits, health, and longevity.

While South Carolina has hundreds of ISA Certified Arborists, only a few dozen hold the TRAQ credential. Fewer have the adequate experience to be proficient.

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