After 33 years in the tree care industry, I am still astounded by what incredible organisms trees are. I live in a land of giant redwoods and monstrous eucalyptus trees. There is not a day goes by that I don’t stop and reflect on these organic, living superstructures and how I found myself caring for them, and witnessing all of the vicious elements they are subjected to year after year. These include severe drought, torrential rains, hurricane-force winds and now the Mars-like atmosphere of wildfires coating their leaves with what seems to be a permanent veneer of ash. Yet they still stand and thrive. As an arborist, sometimes it is my job to discern how to structurally supplement these incredible organisms.
Then, in 2020, I found our industry to be in the same position as these trees. Our industry has been presented with numerous unexpected challenges that can take out the biggest and strongest among us. Similar to the trees we work on, we remain resilient, and we take on these torturous offenses that challenge and even destroy many other industries.
At times like these, one cannot help but notice the metaphorical cabling and bracing of tree care companies within our industry. It is the support found in one another that has been so helpful for me and for many others this past year.
One of my favorite TCIA member-company owners, who was in the sapling phase of the business when I met him five years ago, has since harnessed and utilized all the knowledge he has garnered at TCIA’s Winter Management Conference and TCI EXPO events and grown his business into a strong, maturing tree. This year, in a moment of miscalculation during the storm of a busy day, he was violently shaken in the bucket of his aerial lift while 50 feet up. This event attempted to shatter his structure in spirit, but was only able to fracture his ankle – or undermine his root system, if you will.
A doctor was able to brace him up and fix the physical damage. However, his upper canopy of spirit and soul was also in need of some help. He cabled and braced it with the support of the arborists he has met through TCIA membership. Many of us spoke to him every day, adding to and adjusting the cabling and bracing, helping him plan the next moves and spurring him toward the blue skies that were ahead.
Joe Pipitone, owner of Top Notch Tree Care, a seven-year TCIA member company based in Kingsley, Pennsylvania, is now better than he was before the event, cabled and braced, standing strong and ready for the next business storm.
Tad Jacobs, CTSP, QCL, is president of Treemasters, an accredited, 13-year TCIA member company based in San Rafael, California, and a member of TCIA’s Board of Directors. He also is a former member of TCIA’s Peer-to-Peer Networking Group.