Finding tree care help: Certified arborists and MN Tree Care Advisors

Tree worker

The following links are useful when looking to hire an arborist or find out more information on arborists.

For information on hiring a tree care professional visitHiring an Arborist. This page provides information on when a professional should be hired and important considerations when choosing one.

To find a certified arborist in your area visit:   ISA Certified Arborist Search. Certified arborists are trained and knowledgeable in all aspects of arboriculture. ISA Certified Arborist have met all requirements set to be eligible for the exam, this could include three or more years of full-time, eligible, practical work experience in arboriculture and/or a degree in the field of arboriculture, horticulture, landscape architecture, or forestry from a regionally accredited educational institute. This certification covers a large number of topics giving the candidates flexibility in the arboricultural profession.

To learn about Minnesota Tree Care Advisors visit: Minnesota Tree Care Advisors.  The MN TCA program promotes urban and community forestry through volunteer actions.

Emily Hanson deals with natural resources of urban areas. She is based in St. Paul.

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  1. Hello, I have carpenter ants attacking one of my trees and the woodpeckers pick at it for the ants and they are killing my tree. Any help would be great.
    Thank You

  2. I have a 70 year old silver maple that has lost 2 limbs in severe rain and wind storms, one limb in one storm and years later another limb. Our neighbor is saying that the tree is unsound. How can I know if this is true? It looks healthy to me and has leaves on all but one branch in the growing season. I appreciate your help. Peg

    1. Hi Peg. Sorry to hear about the downed limbs on your tree. While it’s hard to say without looking at the tree, your neighbor’s concern about the tree may be valid, and is certainly worth considering. You’ll need to contact a certified arborist to look at the tree. You can find one on this list of certified arborists in Minnesota.

      If the tree is near a property line or could fall on your neighbor’s property, you may also want to review our Minnesota law and trees series.

      Thanks for the question and good luck! I hope the tree’s OK.

  3. I have an old maple tree that last year was fine…this year, no leaves, none! Help! What should I do?

    1. Hi Elaine. Sorry to hear about your maple tree. Failure to leaf out is a sign of a pretty serious problem. Obviously, without foliage the tree can not survive, and will likely need to be taken down. If you’d like to learn more about possible causes or what to do next, .he UMN Forest Resources Outreach and Extension line may be able to help. They’re reachable at 612-624-3020 or Hope this helps.

  4. I have some ash trees that are bending to the ground like a rainbow effect, they are very healthy. I don’t want to cut them down. What can be causing this? There about ten total they are about 5 to 10 inches in diameter and twenty to thirty feet tall. Help Please!

    1. Hi Robyn. Sounds like storm damage. Are you in an area that was affected by last Friday’s windstorm?

  5. Hi, the Tree Care Professionals link is broken. Can you provide an updated URL for that one?

    1. Thanks Jay for the heads up. We’re trying to track down that linked publication. If we’re successful, we’ll post an updated link. For now, I’ve reworded that section to remove the bad link. Thanks again and sorry for the mistake.

  6. I have a 15 yr old sugar maple that is starting to loose it leaves prematurely and some of the very small branches did not produce leaves this year. I had an arborist out to take a look and he stated a root was wrapping itself around the base of the tree. I dug down the 6-8 inches and we were not able to see an issue with the roots. He then stated he did not know what the problem is and suggested fertilizer spikes this fall. Any idea what might be causing this as I’m not sure if this is going to solve the problem and I don’t want to loose the tree?

  7. I have 3″ autumn blaze maples that were planted 2 years ago this coming fall. Some of them have aborted their top leaves but now have new leaves at the base. They have gotten good water this spring with all of our rain and I drove in fertilizer spikes one week ago. Am I in danger of losing these new trees?

  8. I have a 4 or 5 year old Mountain Ash that suffered a split in the base of the limb. Almost as maybe a kid bent it down. However, it’s still appearing to grow quite well, having healthy shoots all over its branches. Is this phantom growth and should I expect to see it degrade next year? I want to know because it’s still young enough to replace but I’d like to give it a shot if it has a chance to grow. I’m unsure of their re-generation powers at this age on a trunk type wound like it’s showing. Thank you.

  9. We have 20 year old poplar trees which are sending suckers out into our yard.How do we get grid of them? Thank you.

    1. Hi Tom. I’m not aware of a good solution other than mowing, unfortunately. Poplars and aspens regenerate primarily vegetatively through root suckering. Suckering is triggered by warmth in the soil from exposure to the sun. In a place like a lawn with a lot of exposure, there are likely to be a lot of suckers. Herbicide treatments could harm the main tree, so would not be advised.

  10. This spring in Kanabec County, I planted a Sunburst Honey Locus about 1.5/2″ diameter in 100% clay. It had little to no buds when I planted it. It has budded and leafed out. Do you think it will survive the soil condition? Or should I move it to another location? Is there any tree that will adapt to that type of soil?
    Thank you for any advice.

  11. A recently widowed friend of ours recently showed me two trees which are in her back yard here in the little town of Edgerton. One is probably a linden tree, the other is a hard maple. Last year in this community we had a severe summer drought.
    Both of these trees are about 40 feet tall. Both have only dead branches in the top half of the tree; the rest of each tree is nicely branched out.
    Neither of the trees have branches with dead leaves on the end of each branch.
    Is it possible to have someone come in to remove all of the dead branches and still have the trees survive? Will they eventually branch out again and grow a top?

  12. In reply to the last two comments:

    Mary: Honeylocust is one of the toughest trees for less than desirable sites. There’s actually nothing wrong with a clay soil unless it’s compacted (you can’t sink a shovel all the way into the soil) or poorly-drained (a 24 inch deep hole doesn’t drain in 24 hours after being filled with water). Compacted clay soils slow down growth. Poorly-drained soils (sandy or clay) will kill most trees eventually. In a perfect world, all trees would be planted in a sandy-loam soil, but I’m confident that the honeylocust will do fine in the clay soil as long as it’s draining correctly.

    Al: I would give both trees a season to recover. A good, experienced, arborist (preferably an ISA Certified Arborist) can prune out the dead wood and perhaps even train up a new leader by pulling up a side branch and “splinting” it vertical with a bamboo pole. If the tree has too much die back in the top, the next closest branch that is alive may be too big and unbending to be splinted up so your neighbor may just have to live with a bushy tree. Keep them well-watered. Don’t give up on them quite yet.

  13. We have a very old (25+ years) maple that has a large “hole” in the trunk about 7 feet off the ground. At the base of the tree and in the hole there is a lot of wood chips/shavings. Also, this year leaves are turning brown/black and falling off prematurely – this has never happened before.
    Can anyone help explain what the hole is; is there worry regarding the wellness/strength on the tree; and what is happening to the leaves? Someone we know thought it might be a “leaf borer”, but we aren’t sure.
    Thank you for any guidance you can provide.

  14. I have a large very mature oak tree that leafs out normally in the spring but come mid-July its leafs begin to brown and they drop off the tree. This has been ongoing for years. I have had it treated for various things and it seems to make no difference. Can an arborist from the U of M come to visit us in Independence? We are 13 miles west of Wayzata on highway 12. I have had commercial companies come out and they really just try to sell us a treatment. Thank you.

    1. Hi David. I suggest that you call the UMN Department of Forest Resources’ Tree Information Line. They’re at 612-624-3020 or if you’re able to send a photo or two of the symptomatic leaves or branches.

    1. Hi Janice. That would be a bit of a stretch. Assuming that you’re asking about Ohio buckeye, Aeschulus glabra, it is not native anywhere in Minnesota, with its native range topping out in central Iowa. You could give it a try, but I would expect it to experience winterkill reasonably often in Central Minnesota. If interested, there’s good information (a bit technical) on this species in Silvics of North America. Hope this helps!

  15. The Amesbury Association of home owners is facing the coming of the Emerald Ash Bore and would like an aborist to help us categorize our trees…We have done a tree inventory approx. 400 ash trees…and aare coming up with a plan for removal, removal and replace, and treatment. we want an independent person not associated with companies…too write a report after review of our ash tree population. CAN YOU HELP? We are in Shorewood , MN

  16. Hi Shannon. Another member of your group contacted me by phone a couple of weeks ago. I directed her to two resources: Our Emerald Ash Borer Community Preparedness guide and the UMN Department of Forest Resources’ Tree Information Line, 612-624-3020. I hope that one or both of those will be of some help, and I wish you the best with your initiative. I am impressed with the progress that I heard about on the phone–your group is clearly well organized and I applaud you for your proactive and well organized approach.

  17. I am looking for help to identify a grove of trees on the red Jacket trail in Mankato, between Mt Kato and the corn field. It’s the largest group, they easily sway in the breeze, leaves are green yellow in early spring, branches look like Theves poplar but I’m not sure. I hope someone can help me.

    1. Hi Mark. Just saw this comment. If you can send us a picture of the trees, branches, and leaves we might be able to help.

  18. So my neighbors have this HUGE tree and a lot of it is in my yard and just barely touching power lines if they’re not already. My fiance and I are afraid of it falling on our garage as well. It is so huge it stretches across our entire yard (width ways) preventing me to enjoy the sunshine in my yard and grow a garden 🙁 they refuse to do anything with it. It’s even literally drooping on their property. what I want to know is if I can call an arborist and have them trim those hazardous branches that’s on my side over the power lines without charging me. Because I feel I am not responsible but it’s getting to be a nuisance and something has to be done. Do you have any good news for me?

    1. Hi Riana. Situations like this come up a lot. We cover your rights and responsibilities in a short fact sheet called “Nuisance trees: Encroaching branches and tree roots” on our Minnesota Law and Trees page. I hope this helps.

  19. I have lost several mature white pine trees in my yard (25-30 feet tall). They usually lighten up in color and a year or two later they turn brown and die. They have been getting adequate water. I still have some more living, but a couple more are starting the same pattern. Any thoughts on what I can do to save these trees? I live just south of Duluth.

  20. Hi there,

    I have a white birch tree that needs help. It’s leaves came in beautifully this spring, but quickly turned brown and are falling off, from the bottom up. There are a few dead branches as well. In my research, I saw a pest infection that is similar to what is happening, but my tree isn’t dying from the top down, and I do not see the zig zag pattern under the bark. I would love any tips, or to be put in contact with someone who can come out and tell us what to do. We do not want this tree to die.


    1. Hi Crystal. Can you tell me a bit more about the tree? What part of the state, how large is the tree, and do you see any other signs that we might be able to use to diagnose it? Also, is this the first year that you’ve seen damage like this, or has something similar happened in other years as well? I have observed a fair bit of anthracnose on leaves of a variety of species this spring. While not typically all that serious in its effects on the tree, anthracnose can discolor and disfigure leaves, leading to what can be an alarming loss of leaves. There’s more in this Extension fact sheet on anthracnose in Minnesota. If this doesn’t sound right, let me know, and maybe send a photo of the tree to me at and we’ll see if we can track it down.

  21. Hi, I removed a large dead elm tree from my yard 20 years ago and planted a red maple tree about five feet away from the elms trunk. The red maple is now about 20 feet tall has a trunk 26 inches In circumference six inches above the ground. The root from the elm tree has rotted away leaving a hole one foot deep at the deepest spot five feet from the maple trees trunk. I would like to remove the sod on that side of the tree and Fill the hole level with black dirt and replace the sod. Could I harm this tree by adding that much black dirt so close to its trunk?

    1. Great question Bev. While you are correct that adding a lot of dirt around the base of a mature tree can be damaging, in this case I would not worry about it. Filling the hole will improve the tree’s stability and likely have a minimal negative effect, if any, on the roots. So while you should not pile several inches of soil (or anything else) atop the roots all around a tree, the kind of treatment you describe should not be a problem. Good luck!

  22. I have two different kinds of ash trees (>53 in circumference) sitting side by side on a slope on the west side of my house barely touching each other. About the same size and within 2 years of the same age. Both very healthy until 2 years ago. One still healthy but the slightly older tree has been declining in leaf density for the past couple of seasons and this year has only about 1/3 the amount of leaves evenly dispersed on the tree. I’ve had the forester and arborists over to look at it and they all think “drought-stress”. But it gets the same amount of water as the other tree. The soil is clay. Sun exposure is equal. The only different is the stressed tree has three large evergreens touching it on the south side. Could they be hurting the ash? We had a long, tough winter so some trees and bushes have emerged in unusual ways this spring/summer.

    1. Hi Dana. We get a lot of questions like this from folks concerned about the health of their ash trees, particularly in the emerald ash borer era. Ash decline is common in Minnesota and elsewhere. Unfortunately, it can be really hard to pin down what is causing the decline. Research has implicated a variety of factors like changing water levels due to road construction, road de-icing salt toxicity, increasing sensitivity due to advancing tree age, root diseases, and others. But it can be hard to tell. I have a similar situation in my backyard: we have two large green ash, one of which looks great and the other having an increasingly sparse crown and clearly declining.

      I would try Extension’s “What’s Wrong with My Plant?” site, which includes a section on ash trees. That site tends to have good information on disease identification as well as control and management options.

      Hope this helps. Good luck with your tree!

  23. I have a silver maple with carpenter ants. I read on the web that may not be a bad thing and that treatment is unnecessary. What is your opinion?

  24. A nursery planted an Autumn Blaze Maple on May 18, 2014 3 1/2 inch and the leaves are starting to turn a redish color. Everything I have read says stress related. Could it be because we have had so much rain during the month of June. Will the tree survive the stress? It looks healthy as far as the branches, leaves etc just turning to color in June.

    1. Hi Linda. Problems like you describe are common soon after planting. Transplanting can be fairly traumatic for trees, as it frequently involves loss of a large portion of the fine roots that take up water and nutrients. These problems can be compounded by transplanting from one soil type into another, or by improper planting or other factors. At this point I would not be overly worried. While we have had plenty of rain through most of Minnesota, you should give the tree plenty of water, but do not fertilize it as you will be feeding the competing weeds much more than the tree itself. You might also consult our Seasonal Care of Trees and Shrubs series, which has a number of good recommendations on things like the benefits of mulching trees and other recommended practices. Hope this helps!

  25. I am looking for information on trimming our large Linden tree. It is beautiful and I do not want it to die…it is at least 20 years old and very tall. I would like it kept as natural as possible but what if it is trimmed now, will it be harmful? I called and left a message on the U of M tree line also. Just want to do what is best for this tree!

    1. Hi Kathryn. I strongly recommend waiting until the dormant season to prune this or virtually any other tree. Pruning during the growing season (now) can deplete the tree’s energy reserves, expose it to a variety of disease and insect threats, and increases the chance of damage to the surrounding bark, which can further degrade tree health. If you can wait until October, that would be a good idea.

    2. Thank you Eli that is what I thought too…but my husband had already done the deed! I am still sick over it but pray it will be ok. I should hide those darn clippers until fall/winter.

  26. Hello, I have a question concerning a maple tree I have had in my back yard for three + years now. The tree was looking healthy up-until last week. We have leaves that are turning yellow (almost half the tree). What can we do, i dont want to lose this tree and will try anything. We have been watering the tree all weekend..
    Please help!

    – Andrea

  27. Hello!
    I live nexdoor to two HUGE Black walnut trees and the walnut problem in our yard is insane. Not only is our lawn littered with whole walnuts as well as razor sharp shards from the squirrels, but the hazard of the falling bombs makes us unable to play with our small children in the backyard.

    Any thoughts on how to help this? The trees are SO big that I don’t think we can afford to cut them down (and our neighbor would be fine with this!) so I was thinking about trimming the branches that hang over our yard back (hiring this out) as an attempt to calm this problem but I was curious if your team had any other ideas or recommendations.

    ANY help would be nuch appreciated–we would love to put up a swingset someday but honestly cannot due to the head injury risk to our kids 🙁


  28. I have some oak trees losing their leaves and turning colors already. Many of my other oak trees look strong and green still. Is this oak wilt, who should I turn to for help? any suggestions? Thanks

    1. Hi Nathan-Sorry to hear about your oaks. A sign of oak wilt is the wilting from the top of the crown down. Individual leaves will wilt from the tip of the leaf to the bases (see an example here). You may try consulting a certified arborist or MN Tree Care advisor to accurately assess their status. -Matt

  29. I have a question about a linden tree that is about 20 years old. For the last couple years the leaves have been much smaller and a lighter green color. There are smaller brown or black spots on several leaves, but mostly on the elongated leaves with seeds. A nursery we went to last year said it needed fertilizer spikes, but that didn’t do anything and a tree service we used this last winter suggest more water. I don’t think this is the issue as we have a sprinkler system that we use liberally. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks

    1. Sorry to hear about your linden tree Jeff. I would encourage you to check out UMN Extension’s page on leaf spot diseases. Most of these leaf spot diseases are transmitted by fungi, so raking up fallen leaves early and often may help to stop any reinfection of the tree for the next year. It sounds like you are watering plenty, but mulching may help. Again, a certified arborist/tree care advisor may help to more specifically identify the disease. Good luck with your linden! -Matt

  30. Hi – I have a beautiful “dwarf” Haralson tree that needs trimming and shaping to try to keep it smaller. It has so much fruit, almost looking like grape clusters – it is weighing down the boughs. What is the best time to trim this tree – and whom do you recommend? It is huge right now (untrimmed for 3 years after a serious over trimming). It was over trimmed before and two cherry trees with it actually died, so I am concerned about how to trim this tree for its help

  31. We planted a small orchard on our hobby farm this spring, 12 trees. They appear to have established well, but we don’t know the first thing about pruning and maintenance. Would like someone who has experience with this to come out for an afternoon and teach us what to do (happy to pay for this), and also inspect for the general health of the trees.

  32. I didn’t see a reply to Paul from April 14, but we have something that seems similar. Two years ago a Scot’s pine (probably 40 years old and 40′ tall) started to turn brown gradually. It died and was removed. A second tree, a white pine about the same age and 50′ tall, did the same thing. We had it cut down. The logs have an inky looking discoloration that appears to be working from the outside toward the center and is only in the top half of the tree. Now a third young tree 18′ is turning brown. These trees were planted in a linear orientation and about 20′-25′ apart. The location is in the Alexandria area.

    1. Thanks for your message Greg. There are several needle diseases that are abundant given our recent wet springs with cooler temperatures. Although it’s difficult to distinguish without a forest health specialist taking a look, the UMN Plant Disease Clinic may be able to help in determining the disease that’s infecting your pines. Good luck! ~Matt

  33. I have several pine trees on my property the pine cones have started to fall off the trees in massive amounts, They are all immature cones my neighbor has the same problem. What could be the problem? I have already taken 6 garbage bags to the compost area.