TCIA Accreditation – A Big Deal!

February 25th, 2014

Today is a major step forward in the unfolding history of Leaf & Limb. We received official word that we are now TCIA Accredited! We are the first local company (i.e., not associated with a regional/national brand name), and one of a small handful of companies in all of NC, to achieve this lofty standard.

TCIA-Accredited-logoFour years ago we set out on a path to improve and grow Leaf & Limb. Although we did not know it then, TCIA Accreditation would be the fulfillment of that path, at least in terms of safety, training, regulatory compliance, etc.

Once we learned of this accreditation several years ago, we decided that it was a goal we would achieve. After years of work and preparation, we finally met the strict criterion and earned the official approval from TCIA. This is truly a momentous occasion and we are over the moon with excitement!

You may not be familiar with this process. TCIA Accreditation is a third-party verification system similar in structure to other industry credentialing processes such as the ISO 9000 series. It is currently the highest level of standards that a company is able to achieve within the tree care industry.

TCIA does not rely on companies to simply submit information and paperwork. Rather, it sends a third-party auditor on site to assess a company’s operations, facilities, and documentation in great detail. This review includes insurance compliance, safety, customer satisfaction, payroll, training, business structure, ethics, vehicle maintenance, and so much more. The on-site audit spans across many days. TCIA and the third-party auditor leave no stone unturned. Then the process continues beyond this audit. TCIA conducts monthly surveillance, requires annual renewal, and mandates re-accreditation every three years.

To learn more, please read our in-depth article entitled “TCIA Accreditation: Empowering You With Confidence”

We hope that you will savor this moment of joy with us. Years of hard work, preparation, improvement, and striving towards accomplishing a specific goal have finally been fulfilled.

We Won Again!

February 3rd, 2014

We continually feel honored by the sheer number of happy Leaf & Limb client’s that take time in order to post feedback on sites such as Angie’s List. Thanks to reviews from you and other satisfied L&L clients, we were selected by Angie’s List as a recipient of the 2013 Super Service Award!
Angies List Super Service Award 2013
Here is the official press release statement from Angie’s List:

*****

Leaf & Limb Tree Service has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the consumer review service in 2013.

“Only about 5 percent of the companies competing within the RDU market are able to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a mark of consistently great customer service.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2013 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, have a fully complete profile, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Members can find the 2013 Super Service Award logo next to company names in search results on AngiesList.com.”

*****

Thank you so much for helping make this possible!

Leaf & Limb: The What and Why

December 12th, 2013

Some months back we set out to create a set of values, a mission statement, and a vision for the future for Leaf & Limb. Although this is a fairly routine part of company development, we wanted to embrace this task as more than simply checking off a to-do item. We viewed this as an opportunity to dig deep, search for meaning about why we do what we do, extract truths about our organization, and involve company-wide input. Our goal was to produce more than a set of stuffy words that would soon be forgotten after it was created. We wanted to develop a living, breathing framework that would serve as a foundation for building company culture, dictate how we make decisions on a daily basis, and pave the way for the future.

We started with values. As we quickly discovered, there are hundreds of desirable qualities and characteristics that could have made our list. So rather than evaluating every possibility, we started with a list of 15-20 attributes we thought were absolutely essential for a successful company. Once we had our list, we shortened it, revised it, revised it, revised it, distributed to others for input, and repeated – about 5 times!

Our Values: Here’s what we care about most at Leaf & Limb:

  • Be safe at all times
  • Do the right thing
  • Thirst for knowledge
  • Share your knowledge
  • Exceed expectations

Next we began developing a mission statement. Easy right? We cut down and care for trees. Not so fast. We began to delve into deeper talk about what is it that we REALLY do, and more importantly, why do we do it? As you may have expected, this process entailed lots of meetings at Starbucks, group conversations, phone calls, email exchanges, and brainstorming sessions. When it was all said and done, we agreed that we are in this business for people, not trees.

Our Mission: At Leaf & Limb, we are ultimately in the business of caring for people. Mastering the craft of tree care and tree removal is simply a means to that end.

Although unorthodox, we also created an addendum to our mission statement, simply to elaborate a bit: How do we care for people vis-à-vis mastery of our craft? We care for our clients by providing thoughtful solutions to tree-related problems. We care for our employees by providing education and career opportunities in the tree care industry in a safe working environment. And we care for our community by using a portion of our time and profits to give back.

Finally, once we had created our values and mission, our vision statement easily fell into place.

Our Vision: (Clients + Employees + Community + Trees) x Happy = Vision Fulfilled

We would really love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Our mission, vision, and values will always be a work in progress and your input is much appreciated. Shoot us a note via email, Facebook, or Twitter. Thanks!

Congratulations Jason!

October 4th, 2013

Congratulations to Jason on becoming and ISA Certified Arborist! He smoked the Certified Arborist exam administered through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Unfortunately this announcement is a bit delayed, since Jason actually passed several months back, but it has been a hectic late Summer/early Autumn. Jason’s years of experience – along with his countless hours of studying and research – have enabled him to join the small group of arboriculture professionals who have achieved this noteworthy status.

The International Society of Arboriculture is an educational and scientific organization committed to spreading information regarding the tree care and preservation. It is one of the largest organizations of tree care professionals in the world. In 1992 the ISA founded its certification program with the goal of improving the knowledge and standards of practice within the tree care industry. In addition, the program is designed to help the general public in identifying qualified professionals who have a thorough knowledge of tree care practices, as demonstrated by passing the ISA education program and exam.

This program is voluntary. All individuals who choose to earn this certification must complete an education program and exam that covers all facets of arboriculture. This includes topics such as tree identification, pruning, soil management, tree biology, safe working practices, diagnosis & treatment, tree risk management, and much more.

When you work with Leaf & Limb Tree Service, you can rest easy knowing that Jason and all our other ISA Certified Arborists have a working knowledge of how to properly care for your trees.

Watch Out! Emerald Ash Borer is Now in NC!

August 1st, 2013

Originally from Asia, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an invasive metallic green beetle that causes major harm. It was first discovered in Michigan in 2002 and likely made its entrance into the US via wooden crates holding products from Asia. Since 2002, EAB has spread to 20 states and killed tens of millions of trees throughout the US. Yes, you read that right – tens of millions of trees are gone because of EAB. This pest feeds on the transportation tissue of ash trees, which causes death by preventing the ash tree from absorbing water and nutrients. Unfortunately, EAB has no natural predators here in the US.

Just recently two adult Emerald Ash Borers were spotted in Granville County. Evidence of the EAB’s presence was also detected in nearby Person and Vance Counties. As such, North Carolina’s four species of ash trees (Green Ash, Pumpkin Ash, White Ash, Carolina Ash) are now officially at risk.

The good news is that we can help save your ash trees. We offer a highly effective treatment for EAB using Emamectin Benzoate applied directly into the trunk of the tree. It can be applied after the pest has attacked, but it is most effective when applied before an attack. If you have ash trees on your property, now is the time to start thinking about preventative treatments. This does not have to be done immediately, since the EAB population has not yet arrived in the RDU area. But in the coming years, we will begin seeing EAB locally and our ash trees will be at risk.

Contact us today for more information about this treatment.

For more information, see:

Beware the Ghost Policy!

April 13th, 2013

Have you ever wondered why there is often such a drastic difference in prices between different tree services? I can answer this in three words: workers compensation insurance.

I know what you are probably thinking right now. You are thinking that before you hire a tree service (or any service provider for that matter) you always request a certificate of insurance (COI) to verify proof of workers compensation insurance. Unfortunately, thanks to what is known as a Ghost Policy, a COI does not mean the tree service actually has any real insurance protection for its Beware the Ghost Policy!employees.

A Ghost Policy  is a policy designed for a company with only one member (the owner) and no employees. It is an extremely cheap way for an individual to obtain a COI in order to win bids and projects that require workers comp insurance coverage.

The Ghost Policy, however, has opened a major loophole. Many tree services with employees still purchase this Ghost Policy by claiming either they they have no employees (and pay them off the books) or that their employees are sub-contractors, which is illegal given Federal and State law. By obtaining a Ghost Policy, a tree service is able to show you a COI while saving anywhere from $30,000 to well over $300,000 per year. This allows that service to offer much lower prices – hence the drastic variation in pricing between companies with legitimate insurance and those without.

But here is the incredible danger: by doing this, that service exploits its employees and puts you the client at great risk. If someone is injured on your property, you could be held responsible for medical and related costs.

The good news is that there are ways to avoid hiring such a service. Read our full article The Dangerous Truth About Ghost Insurance Policies to learn more.

Be sure to let us know what you think!

Best Contractor of 2012!

March 14th, 2013

We just received notice that the Angie’s List editorial team has selected Leaf & Limb Tree Service as a Best Contractor for 2012, one of 15 in the Triangle/RDU area!

This award is measured across all categories, not simply the tree service category, and is based on feedback from Angie’s List members. Thus out of the hundreds of companies on Angie’s List, we have been selected as one of the 15 best.

We are truly honored. As with any award or accolade we receive, we know this would never be possible without our outstanding staff and amazing clients such as yourself. Thank you!

We Won Again!

December 14th, 2012

Thanks to the incredible feedback you all have provided Angie’s List over the last year, we won the Super Service Award again! This is our second year in a row winning this award.

Angies List Super Service Award 2012

According to Angie’s List, this distinction is awarded annually to approximately 5 percent of all the companies rated on their website. The Super Service Award 2012 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, including earning a minimum number of reports, maintaining an excellent rating from their customers, and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

We are honored that you think so highly of our company. We strive to offer excellent customer service, as well as quality workmanship, and this is one indication that we are headed in the right direction towards achieving our goals. Thank you!

 

Congratulations to Joe on Becoming an ISA Certified Arborist!

September 20th, 2012

Congratulations to Joe! We are pleased to announce that he has passed the Certified Arborist exam administered through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) with flying colors! Through his years of experience and hard work learning all about arboriculture, Joe now joins the small group of professionals who have achieved this status.Joe ISA Certified Arborist

The International Society of Arboriculture is a scientific and educational organization committed to spreading information regarding the care and preservation of trees. It is one of the largest organizations of tree care professionals in the world. Stuart Camu ISA Certified ArboristIn 1992 the ISA founded its certification program with the goal of improving the knowledge and standards of practice within the tree care industry. In addition, the program is designed to help the general public in identifying quality professionals who have a thorough knowledge of tree care practices, as demonstrated by passing the ISA education program and exam.

This program is voluntary. All individuals who choose to earn this certification must complete an education program and exam that covers all facets of arboriculture. This includes topics such as soil management, tree identification & selection, tree biology, safe working practices, pruning, diagnosis & treatment, tree risk management, and much more.

When you work with Joe and Leaf & Limb Tree Service, you can rest assured knowing that we have the experience and working knowledge necessary to properly tend to your trees. Contact us today for a free consultation, advice, and a plan of action for all your tree care needs. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Video: Trimming a Pine Tree

May 2nd, 2012

One of our clients in Raleigh recently asked us to trim some dead and dying limbs from a pine tree located next to his fence and back patio. We decided to create a short video of our climber performing this task, in order to give you an idea of what is involved with a trimming project. As you will see, trimming is by no means an easy task. The climber must have proper training, a great deal of physical ability, and safety awareness. Before you watch this video, let me point out a few important highlights:

  • For a trimming project, it is important not to use spikes when ascending the tree. Spiking a live tree leaves small wounds along the trunk. These open wounds could lead to health problems in the future.
  • Pruning cuts must be made at the branch collar. If pruning cuts are made too close to the trunk (this is called a “flush cut”) the tree is not able to properly heal over the cut. Flush cuts leave a tree more susceptible to future rot, infections, and pest infestations.
  • It is often necessary to lower limbs down using a rope. This is called rigging. This prevents the branches from causing damage to property below.

Enjoy this video and be sure to let us know if you have a trimming or pruning project in mind. We would love to send one of our ISA Certified Arborists out to meet with you in order to discuss your needs and offer solutions. As always, these estimates are free.

 

Stump Grinding Video

April 19th, 2012

Have you ever wanted to see how we grind and remove stumps? Well the wait is over! The video below includes some footage of both our portable stump grinder and our tow-behind stump grinder in action at several different job sites in Raleigh. You will see this in the video, but the portable grinder is perfect for removing stumps in hard-to-reach areas, gated lots, and anywhere that minimizing impact is a priority. Because it is smaller than many other grinders, the portable stump grinder causes minimal damage and is able to fit through anything 36 inches or wider. The tow-behind grinder is much more powerful, but must be towed behind a truck. It is much heavier and does cause more impact. We try to minimize use of the tow-behind grinder, simply because it is so large. But for very big stumps that are easily accessible, the tow-behind grinder is the way to go, due to its superior power.

Anyways, enough chit-chat. Enjoy the video and let us know what you think!

Stuart is Now an ISA Certified Arborist!

April 2nd, 2012

Congratulations to Stuart! We are proud to announce that he has successfully passed the Certified Arborist exam administered through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)! After years of experience in the industry, months of studying, and one grueling 3-hour exam, Stuart joins the small group of arboriculture professionals who have achieved this status.Stuart ISA Certified Arborist

The International Society of Arboriculture is a scientific and educational organization committed to spreading information regarding the care and preservation of trees. It is one of the largest organizations of tree care professionals in the world. Stuart Camu ISA Certified ArboristIn 1992 the ISA founded its certification program with the goal of improving the knowledge and standards of practice within the tree care industry. In addition, the program is designed to help the general public in identifying quality professionals who have a thorough knowledge of tree care practices, as demonstrated by passing the ISA education program and exam.

This program is voluntary. All individuals who choose to earn this certification must complete an education program and exam that covers all facets of arboriculture. This includes topics such as soil management, tree identification & selection, tree biology, safe working practices, pruning, diagnosis & treatment, tree risk management, and much more.

When you work with Leaf & Limb Tree Service, you can rest easy knowing that our ISA Certified Arborists have a working knowledge of how to properly tend to your trees. We are able to offer consultations, advice, and plans of action for all your tree care needs. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

New Service: Tree Root Care

March 13th, 2012

For those who have been following our company – either via this blog, Facebook, or another source – you know that we are in the process of offering many new tree care services. We have spent the last two years reading, studying, earning certifications, and attending classes in order to learn the skills and information necessary to offer these services.

With 2012 under way, we are finally ready to begin offering each new service. Today we are featuring an exciting new segment: tree root care. Roots are vitally important to the health and longevity of a tree. While most tree services focus on the canopy of a tree, many overlook its underground component – the root system. Yet when a tree displays problems such as disease, pest infestation, dead branches, or overall decline, these can often be traced back to issues within the roots. Once the root system is damaged, the tree will begin declining in health, to the point where it could die.

To learn more, be sure to read our page about Tree Root Care

In the meantime, enjoy the below video the we recently created. It features aeration and de-compaction of the soil around an oak tree. Before you begin watching, here is the background:

In this video, the soil surrounding the oak tree was badly compacted. When compaction occurs above the key structural roots of a tree, it diminishes the available soil pores (air spaces) that hold oxygen. This limits the oxygen diffusion rate in the soil and results in root suffocation. But a tree’s roots must have oxygen in order to grow. As such, compaction can severely harm a tree. Aerating and de-compacting the soil in the critical root zone will fix the problem. As you will see in this video, we do so using an Air Spade. This tool blasts out air at over 1200 MPH. This is powerful enough to break up the soil, but does not harm the roots. Once the aeration is done, we cover the area with mulch. The mulch helps trap moisture, regulate temperature, and keep weeds and grass from growing.

The 2011 Super Service Award Goes To…

December 15th, 2011

….Leaf & Limb Tree Service! Angie’s List notified us today that we are the recipient of a 2011 Super Service Award! This award is given to less than 5% of all businesses listed on Angie’s List.

Leaf & Limb Tree Service wins Angie's List Super Service Award for 2011!

According to Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, “Only a fraction of the businesses rated on Angie’s List can claim the sterling service record of being a Super Service Award winner because we set a high bar.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award winners have met strict eligibility requirements including earning a minimum number of reports, an exemplary rating from their clients, and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Here at Leaf & Limb we are honored to have received this award. Although it is only one small award from one of many companies, it is nice to see that our efforts to offer excellent service are being recognized. For us, the client is king and we strive to demonstrate this through our service.

Thanks to each of you who took time out of your busy day to post feedback about our company on Angie’s List. It is because of you that we won this award.

Want to Increase Your Property Value and Save Money? Think Tree Care!

December 9th, 2011

Consider the following: Your trees are valuable assets. First, trees increase your property value by as much as 20%. Second, trees provide a number of important benefits such as:

  • Reducing energy bills by providing shade
  • Absorbing pollutants in the air, soil, and water
  • Cleaning carbon dioxide from the air
  • Lessening noise pollution
  • And more!

Whether you are looking to add value to your existing property, sell your property for a higher price, or command higher rent rates from tenants, your trees should be an important consideration.

Save Money and Increase Property Value Through Tree CareMany tree service companies are able to fell trees, trim trees, and remove stumps, but they do not have the expertise with which to identify, diagnose, and solve tree disorders. As such, they are unable to recommend solutions that heal and preserve trees.

To offer tree care services requires a great deal of knowledge about tree physiology, diseases, root systems, pests, abiotic factors, as well as the surrounding environment. But this expertise does not translate into offering services that are more expensive. As a matter of fact, tree care services are generally cheaper than tree removal services.

According to various surveys and cost analyses performed by USDA Forest Services, municipalities, and the private sector, it is estimated that the average cost to remove a tree is somewhere around $500-$700.  In contrast, tree care services (fertilization, pest control, etc.) generally range from $50 to $200 per tree. Not only that, but tree care involves less risk to workers and property. Best of all, by caring for your trees you have maintained and enhanced these assets rather than removing them.

The end result of tree care? You have saved money and increased your property value. Contact Leaf & Limb Tree Service today for all your tree care needs.

 

NOTE: This blog post is an excerpt from Leaf & Limb article entitled Tree Care: Save Money and Increase Your Property Value. You can read the full version of this article by clicking the link.