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Removal of Storm Damaged Trees: An Interview with Curtis Hopper of aPerfectTree

By Curtis Hopper

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

I worked in Automotive Engine Machine Shops rebuilding engines for 17 years. The norm was to work during peak times of the year and get laid off then go get a job at another Machine shop. I changed careers July 13, 1994 because I got tired of that run around. A friend trained me to trim and remove trees.

After annual hospital visits and having 2 severe injuries in 2001 I found the International Society of Arboriculture and joined them, obtained my ISA Arborist Certification TX-3236A in 2003 and have achieved more certifications and licenses concerning the care of trees and the industry of Arboriculture (trees).

I learned how to SAFELY and properly do tree service work. I'm not satisfied with being stagnate in my field so the plan is to achieve my BCMA- Board Certified Master Arborist. My company started out as YardNote Tree Service (Leaf A Message). Then Totally Trees. Now aPerfectTree.com Totally Trees YardNote Tree Service, LLC.; aPerfectTree.com, LLC for short.

What are a few weather factors that can damage the trees surrounding your home?

Some weather that damage our trees are ice and wet snow, high winds, long periods of heavy rains (the roots lose their anchorage), and drought (the trees often get over watered when we think they're not getting enough water. Slow deep soakings once or twice per week is all they need.) These conditions may cause stress factors which then attract insects further weakening our trees.

If you could, please list the steps of the tree removal process:

Some of the tree removal steps include but are not limited to- Walk through and discuss with home owner and then the crew. Inspect the tree for hazards and if it's safe to climb or will have to be done by a bucket lift. Disclose any obstacles that will require rigging the tree limbs to avoid damage. Establish a "Drop Zone" that the limbs will be dropped or rope controlled lowered into (rigging). Establish a route to drag the limbs and trunk pieces the chipper and or truck. Put traffic cones around the truck and chipper.

Safety is of utmost importance and good communication between the climber and crew is a must. Safety includes PPE- Personal Protective Equipment. Hard hats, Harnesses, Safety Glasses, Ropes, all have to meet or exceed ANSI Standards and ISA guidelines. Only experienced personnel should be allowed into the "work zone".

Why would you recommend the clean-up process take place sooner rather than later?

For safety sake and for the yard's sake it's important to clean up the site even if the work is incomplete and return to the project until the work is completed. A through clean up looks great and is the company's signature that everyone can see after the work is all gone and completed. I thought at first you were talking about cleaning up the trees, pruning them. Pruning Oak trees should be done in the Summer or Winter with some exceptions.

If there is a need to wait on a good tree company rather than hire the guy with a chainsaw in a truck, it'll be worth it. Timing is important but so is qualified service professionals. It really isn't that difficult to obtain Certification, study, test and keep up with the CEU's. It does lower the profits a bit but staying alive and learning how to properly care for our trees makes it worth the trouble to obtain an ISA Arborist Certification.

What advice do you have for the homeowner during this process?

Hire only ISA Certified Arborists, check for their insurance to see if it covers "Tree Service Work"; Not Landscaping. Get it all in writing or email. Please stay out of the work zone. It's dangerous work. Move what you can before the tree persons show up for work.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

Through my web site www.aPerfectTree.com and or my email curtishopper@hotmail.com or service@aperfecttree.com. I'm also an Angie's List Super Service Award winner/achiever since 2009 and an A rating with the Better Business Bureau.

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About The Author

Curtis Hopper is a certified arborist and is the Owner and CEO of aPerfectTree.

Phone: 214-288-0783

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