Choose your arborist wisely

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Tree care operations is the third deadliest industry in the United States.[1]

Accidents in tree care can be caused by stinging insects, noxious chemicals, chainsaws, vehicles, and wood chippers. Improper safety equipment and failure to adhere to the advised safety protocols are a major cause of accidents; not identifying deadwood before climbing, making improper cuts, or misjudging the test strength of a branch are just a few examples. The leading causes of death on this job are falls from a tree, being struck by a falling tree or branch, and contact with electrical lines.

Prevention steps are numerous, but self-enforced. Only a quality outfit will follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s guidelines, and an arboriculture service requires a certified arborist. Our certified arborist here at Sycamore Services LLC is Bruce Leonard. We depend on his judgement and expertise. He identifies the type of tree and the care and approach that the species needs. He makes sure that any needed rigging is correctly set up, that we are at a proper distance from power lines, and that we have emergency procedures in place in case the unexpected happens. He designates drops zones where objects are expected to fall, inspects the equipment, and trains his workers. If a tree needs felling, he is an expert of the kind of cuts required to keep your property from being damaged. At Sycamore Services, we take all the proper precautions, to safeguard our employees and ensure your business with us is quick and hassle-free.


[1] The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics lumps arborists in with grounds maintenance workers, which has the tenth most fatalities per year, per 100,000 workers. However, a more accurate picture of the danger of tree work specifically can be found by comparing both the BLS report and these findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC, deaths per 100,000 among tree trimmers was eighty per year from 1992-2007. As a rough metric, the International Society of Arboriculture’s statistics reveal that in 2002 there were 157,000 arboriculture service workers. This means that there were roughly 51 deaths to every 100,000 workers, third behind fishing workers at 55. Airline pilots, roofers, and garbage collectors are only slightly less dangerous than tree work. Logging, as a profession, is the deadliest in America by far; 133 per 100K.
Granted, searching the OSHA’s website for “tree trimming,” generates only about 40 reported deaths in the same date range. However, these deaths are all from tree care employers; after subtracting the non-employee workers from the total, the true death rate would still be the third deadliest. And considering that self-employed tree trimmers are not included in public reports, these numbers do not necessarily conflict with the CDC report.



Tree Climber Profile: Bruce Leonard

Please tell us a little bit about you.

My name is Bruce Leonard, and I own Sycamore Services: a grounds maintenance and tree service. I have a degree in Horticulture from the University of Maryland. I am a Licensed Tree Expert in Maryland, a certified Arborist worldwide, and a Licensed Pesticide Applicator for Turf/ Trees/ Shrubs/ Highway Right of Ways. I have been in this industry for 35 years, working with both residential and commercial customers, and with both County and State Agencies.

How did you end up where you are now?

I grew up on my grandfathers farm. My grandfather – besides having crops in the field – had 15 greenhouses, 3 of which were an acre under glass. It was on his farm where I developed my love for plants and trees. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science, I went to work for a landscaping company and trained under a Licensed Tree expert for 7 years. From that point I was able to pass the Maryland Tree Expert test. Once I was licensed, I went into business for myself.

Why should someone hire you over your competitors?

I believe with all the qualified companies out there doing the same type of work I do, the only thing that separates them from myself is the level of service and dedication I provide my customers. I strive to do my best work at all times, and will work with the customer until they are happy and satisfied. I will return all calls from customers, and when I say I will be there at a certain time, I will. If an unforeseen incident does occur, I will call the customer as soon as possible to let them know what is going on.

What is your favorite part about your job?

I love my job… I’ve enjoyed working with both plants and trees my entire life. I also find satisfaction in taking a person’s landscape and completely changing the look of it. I have the ability to make customers happy with the work they contracted, and that is fulfilling. Last but not least, I thrive on working in the outdoors, and the exciting variety of running a different job site everyday.


Bruce in action

Tree Care Basics

The Certified Tree Care Safety Professional (CTSP) Workshop is coming to Baltimore! Yes, November 8th and 9th, 2016. Check out the Tree Care Industry Association‘s website for the details.

For you non professionals, the association recommends Tree Care Tips, a useful website for any homeowner. For you seasoned pros, please be aware of the OSHA standards, and the hazards bulletin published in 2014.

For anyone who wants to go a little more in-depth, check out Green Industry Pros Magazine. In 2012 they published two ground-breaking articles: one discussing the emerging technology of trunk injections, and another on the latest mobile apps for tree care.

Green Industry Pros warn homeowners of the danger of droughts, invasive beetles, and most importantly, the dangers of hiring unprofessional tree care “specialists.” If you’re in need of an expert, professional tree care job done right, just call Sycamore Services.