Tree Foundation of Kern

Tree Service

To provide care and maintenance for trees.

The tree service business provides a variety of opportunities for those who enjoy physical work in the outdoors. Tree Service work runs a gamut of routine care and maintenance of trees including pruning, dead branch removal and insecticide application and also involves new tree planting, tunneling and protection techniques used during construction.

Some tree services work exclusively with utility companies providing vegetation and tree removal from utility and power lines while others contract with home owners, businesses and government agencies.

Renee Godon began her career 25 years ago as a single mother bidding on U.S. Forest Service logging jobs. "As the logging industry started falling off, I took the logging technique and applied it to tree trimming," Godon said. Today Godon has 125 employees in her Auburn, California business and employs a variety of specialists including arborists, chemical applicators, accountants and managers.

"The most important thing is people management," Godon said. "It's all business. You need a good business head and you need to know how to manage people." For those interested in pursuing a career in the tree service business, Godon suggested studying forestry and environmental education.

Conway Lopez grew up in the tree business that his father started in 1945 and has run the business for the last 12 years modernizing equipment and techniques along the way. Gaining experience by working for a quality tree service company is a must for those interested in the business. Learning the proper trimming techniques can lengthen the lifespan of trees and Lopez has seen the effects of improper trimming which can weaken trees and cut their lifespan by as much as 20 years.

Those in the tree service business rely on a wide spectrum of knowledge in their daily work including the correct and safe application of insecticides and proper trimming techniques and use of chainsaws. Often physical and requiring climbing and lifting, the tree service business also demands good communication and people skills when working with clients.

An understanding of tree species and habitat requirements is necessary to help clients choose the best trees for their needs. Lopez said his goal is "to educate people to plan before planting and select the right tree for the right place."

Requires: Minimally 2 years experience plus on the job training.

Salary: Beginning at about $8.50 per hour. To start up a tree trimming service costs about $5,000 for a chainsaw, climbing gear and a 2 ton dump truck. Tree trimmers who take some horticulture courses, study with International Agriculture Society (ISA) and get certified can advance to a Foreman position and earn pay between $16 and $22 per hour.