How We Began

We set off on the journey of building a company and found something incredible along the way - our true purpose.

Colin Camu

My Dad was born and raised in South Africa.

He arrived in the US by way of college in the Netherlands, two years working on the Kibbutz in Israel, and a beautiful American woman. You can fill in the blanks. Dad worked hard at Dillard Paper Company as one of many cogs in a corporate wheel. To get by, we cleaned office buildings and churches on nights and weekends.

Basil Camu

I grew up the oldest of five children in southeast Raleigh, among the other working class families that made up our neighborhood.

Dad taught me how to work hard, attention to detail, and how to solve problems. Mom taught me tenacity, compassion, and gave me a love for learning.

In 1997 Dad founded Leaf & Limb Tree Service.

Word of mouth and a $50 ad in the local Ad-Pack garnered him his first clients. He was always fair and delivered high quality services, so his reputation spread. Plus he would hang out and chit chat, which always made people happy. Over the coming years, he built a loyal client base.

He had attained his dream of owning a small business in America. It did not make him rich, but at least he loved his work and could now enjoy time with his family.

Fast forward to 2008. The economic downturn was devastating for the tree service industry.

By the end of 2009, dad and mom were facing very real hardships, like many Americans during those years. But with everything I had learned thus far in my career, I had developed some skills and experience that could help Leaf & Limb.

So in early 2010 dad and I chatted and decided it was time to become business partners.

We had (and have) excellent complementary skills. So it began! I joined my dad as co-founder of what became the new Leaf & Limb.

Those early years were hairy. Dig out of holes. Get the business in order. Get financially solvent. Advertise. Acquire clients. Organize. Think outside the box. And bootstrap – a LOT.

Luckily, we were (and are) quite creative.

We established our values, chief among them “do the right thing” and “show that you care.”

We read everything we could get our hands on, always on the lookout for deeper truths, whether relating to trees, people, business, or existence. We soaked up knowledge like a sponge and expanded from traditional removals and pruning into the complex world of tree care and consulting. Most importantly, we worked to build a company that improved the lives of our employees and provided real value for our clients.

Along this journey we realized that we must do more than improve the lives of our employees and clients.
We must also improve our community and our planet. Especially our Planet.
As we learned more about trees, soil, insects, birds, and our ecosystems in general, we began to truly understand the severity of the environmental issues we are facing here on Earth.

We’re seeing a huge decrease in biodiversity, rise of air pollution, loss of our topsoil, disappearing drinking water, and an increase in oxidized carbon in our atmosphere – just to name a few.

As it turns out, trees are one of Nature’s most powerful tools for overcoming these issues and creating a healthy planet. Nature provides us with the solutions we need. Our role is to foster and promote these natural systems by planting trees, caring for the trees we have, and spreading awareness about the importance of trees.

This led to a sobering realization in 2019:

If trees are so important to the health of our planet, how can we justify cutting them down?

At this time, nearly half of our revenue came from cutting down trees. What to do? We struggled. To exit removals was to put our business in danger. But in the end we chose to do the right thing - we quit cutting down trees.

Looking back, that decision was worth it because we finally discovered our true purpose: we care for trees because we love our planet.

In all honesty, we are nowhere close to where we want to be. We still have much to do. We can do better. And we will.

Please join us on this journey.

Articles & Events

Measure What Matters
Video | Wood Chips: The Secret Ingredient to Healthy Trees
Top 10 Reasons to Choose Wood Chips Over Other Types of Mulch
Healthy Eating Plate for Trees
Video | Welcome to Project Pando
Video | Are Your Trees Safe? Prune to Make them Stronger.
Are Your Trees Safe? Prune to Make Them Stronger.
How to Select a Safe Branch for a Tree Swing
Your Dirt is Hungry
Video | Soil is Alive
Recipe: Savory Soil Casserole
How Trees Can Save Earth & What We Can Do to Help
Earth Day Bingo
Video | How Trees Can Save the Earth
Spring Tree Care Checklist
Spring Scavenger Hunt
Don't Make a Deadly Mistake: Top 10 Questions to Consider Before Pruning
Video | Planning to Prune? Use this simple framework and avoid deadly mistakes.
Video | Rooted by Our Purpose: A New Direction at Leaf & Limb
Why Dead Wood is Good Wood
Video | Want more birds in your backyard? Plant these native trees.
Best Native Trees for Butterflies
Fall & Winter Tree Care Checklist
Video | Fall Tree Care Checklist: Leave your Leaves, Plant New Trees, and Other Important Tasks
Top 10 Most Surprising Benefits of Trees
How I Learned to Love to My Trees
Video | Trees are Critical to Our Future
Think Your Tree is Dead? Look a Little Closer
How to Spot a Dead or Dying Tree
Video | How to Spot the Warning Signs: Dead, Dying or Hazardous Trees
Right Tree, Right Place: What to Plant and Where to Plant it
Video | How To: Choosing the Right Tree for Any Location
Our Favorite Tree Recommendations for Tricky Areas
Using Fertilizer? Think Twice Before You Do.
The #1 Reason Most Soil Tests Don't Work
Friend or Foe: When to Take Action Against Pests
The Insect Apocalypse is Here. How Can You Help?
16 Fascinating Facts About Fungi
Mycorrhizal Fungi: The Unsung Heroes of Tree Care
Case Study: Watch How Soil Improvement Turned this Tree from Sickly to Stately
From Dead Dirt to Healthy Soil in 7 Simple Steps
6 Pruning Mistakes to Avoid
How to Install and Enjoy Your Rain Gauge
Help Save the Monarch Butterflies!
4 Fascinating Facts About Mistletoe
Proper Care for Newly Planted Trees
8 Ways to Accidentally Kill Your Tree When Planting
Drop that Rake! Why Leaving the Leaves is Vital to Your Plant's Health
Save Time This Fall: Leave Your Leaves
Video | How To: The Fundamentals Of Watering
Video | The Fundamentals of Mulch: Proper Care, Installation, and Selection
Too Many Choices: Which Mulch or Weed Barrier Should I Choose?
When Good Mulch Goes Bad
How To: The Fundamentals of Mulch Installation
Five Ways to Spot a Thirsty Tree or Shrub
Soaker Hoses, Irrigation Systems, and Treegators, Oh My!
Drought Resistant Trees
How To: The Fundamentals of Watering
The Joy of Planting Native Trees in Durham, North Carolina
Brightening Up Neighborhoods Across Durham
Changing lives one seed at a time in Durham
Soil Decompaction - An Essential for Good Tree Health
Emerald Ash Borer is in NC!
Cabling & Bracing - Options for Making Your Tree Safer
Tree Care for Crape Myrtles
How to Prevent Tree Damage
Help! My Tree Has a Disease!
Dragon’s Blood Tree
Deep Root Fertilization: Myths & The Truth
The Dangerous Truth About Ghost Insurance Policies
Happy Trees Begin With Proper Planting
Trees & Shrubs Need Check-Ups Too!
How To Protect Your Trees from a Lightning Strike
Mulching: A Cheap, Easy Way to Increase the Health of Your Trees!
Crape Myrtles: A Tale of Love, Murder, and Proper Pruning
The World's Oldest Trees
Help! Insects are Attacking my Trees & Shrubs!
Tree Care: Save Money and Increase Your Property Value
Root Collar Excavation is Critical to Your Tree's Survival!
Tree Risk Assessment: The Key to Safer Trees & Peace of Mind!
10 Tips on How to Choose the Right Tree Service and Avoid Scams
Happy Trees Grow From Healthy Soil
TCIA Accreditation: Empowering You With Confidence
What is Tree Care?
Mulch Volcanoes: the Mt. St. Helens of Tree Problems
Trees Need a Thriving Soil Food Web
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