Category Archives: arborist

Why does my tree look like that?!

After the stormy times of 2014, I found that a lot of folks in the surrounding area became very “tree aware”. I got a lot of phone calls asking “is my tree safe?” I would generally respond that all trees in our care do pose some degree of risk, and that I would assess the risk, with a few caveats. With the tough weather we have had over the past two years – hot, dry summers, and cold, dry winters, I am now getting a lot of calls wondering why their tree looks the way it does.

When assessing a tree with an eye to possible pruning, or removal, I work through the  pyramid, or three legged stool: Safety – Health – Appearance. Some of the questions I ask around safety are: how close is the tree to buildings, public walkways, powerlines? What kind of tree is it, how has it been pruned in the past, what is the overall structure? Then I assess if the tree is healthy, leafed out, fighting off bugs, mushrooms, pathogens. Appearance can definitely be subjective, and sentimental value is always a consideration.

When there is a question of infection, I prepare samples and send them away to a lab to test. We are generally not big proponents of chemically treating trees, that may just need water and pruning. It is important to know what the concern is, and we can discuss lab results when they come back.

Caring for your tree is the best defense. Trees are like us. They have a circulatory system, scars from injuries, neighbours.  Caring for your tree means regular haircuts (pruning for species and age as recommended by a certified arborist), watering your trees when we go weeks, or months without rain in the summer, and monitoring for the signs of decline (mushrooms, dead branches in the crown, root plate shifting, splits at unions, and premature leaf or needle loss are among the most obvious)

If you have questions about your trees, please call Reta at 204-730-0368

If you want to know what questions to ask – 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Arborist or Tree Service

Saying goodbye to one of my favourite trees

Tiny man or giant stump?

Oh dear poplar – you fell over so majestically.

And we just got to prune this year!

Smoky nights and hot days!

I remain positive and enthusiastic all the time, even in the face of adversity. I am excited at 6am when we get to drive trucks and run heavy equipment. I can summon a dizzying hustle at the end of the day, even if there is a huge pile of logs standing in my way of getting home. This is my super power. It is a must if you are going to be an entrepreneur for more than ten minutes. It means scrubbing the toilets when staff doesn’t show up (another lifetime); it means emergency trips to the equipment dealer in Winnipeg, it can mean long days and longer nights. We are in the middle of an epically challenging year. From the weather (too cold, too cold, too cold – OMG IT IS TOO HOT), to the fires and construction that Brandon has endures (our shop is right across the train tracks from the fires that hit Brandon, and our post office box burned down), and it seems like every piece of equipment we own has needed serious repairs (new transmission for the big truck, new engine for the little truck, an overhaul for the stump grinder, and a tune up for my truck. Oh and then a tree fell on my trailer. Sheesh.)

We have had trouble retaining employees. Tree work is heavy, can be repetitive, and we work in all kinds of weather. We are up front about the unique joys and challenges of tree work, but maybe people don’t believe us? Underestimate us?

And all these problems we have been having, I hesitate to bring up because of the terrifying shifts in global politics. Chris is a first generation Canadian, and I was oft reminded of my farmer pioneer ancestors as a child. It seems like a deeply polarizing time in the world, where we have forgotten all the hard won lessons of the 20th century.

I am here at the office on a Friday night, catching up on paperwork because of the babysitter being sick for half of the week. Isobel is super helpful with many things, but not so much the paperwork. My take out was late, my credit card would not work….

So the cherry on top of this whole thing is that I had one more packet of papers to staple and I had just run out of staples. I went to the supply drawer and opened the box backwards, dumping all the staples out. And I started laughing. Not in a worrisome way, but weird because I am by myself. The thing is, I don’t know if I would choose another path. Chris’s quote of the summer has been “I barely survive, but I do so on my own terms.” Crazy as it sounds, I belong to a group of people who will sometimes succeed, and will sometimes fail, and sometimes do insane things – but they do it on their own terms (remember that dog rescue, Lydia?) I come from a long time of lady business owners, producers, and farmers. I do not want to tempt fate, but I am glad I can surf these challenges, and hopefully land on a peaceful shore (whatever that looks like)

My friend Teri at Brown Sugar Produce (who grows my delicious vegetable CSA) says something about taking care of the important things so that they will last. To that, I am only going to do a bank deposit and three quotes tomorrow, then go to the beach with Chris and Isobel.

If you would like to see my superpower in action, call Reta at 204-730-0368. If you would like to heed my wisdom, stay in school and hug your family.

If you are thinking about hiring an arborist, read 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Arborist or Tree Service

What makes us different

When we started Bee EZ Tree Service six years ago, we would often ask ourselves, “What makes us different from other tree services in Brandon?”

I would usually come up with ninja air slicing, and declare that we would be the best chain saw tree surgeons ever (which we are).

But over and over again, our customers tell us how much they appreciate being able to get us on the phone, and are thankful that we return calls. They love that we show up on the date we say, at the time we said (unless we change the date and time, which we communicate with them) They marvel at how tidy it is when we leave. Of course, I took these essential traits about myself and the business that Chris and I were building for granted. I overlooked these habits, because I thought you were supposed to pick up the phone and return phone messages? I thought that you were supposed to show up when you said you would? Business 101

And when you make a mess – I thought you were supposed to clean it up.

So despite becoming a pretty efficient chainsaw wielding team, it is these basic things that people love. When our customers tell their friends, it is that we are nice, polite, and tidy.

So if you would like an arborist that you can get on the phone, who shows up when they say, and who cleans up when they leave – call Reta at 204-730-0368 to schedule a no-cost yard assessment or we can talk about the good old days!

A handy list if you are looking to hire an arborist 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Arborist or Tree Service

Safety Stuff

I am always looking at trees and buildings. I am in the tree business and I love architecture. So that is what I am checking out while I am out quoting, running errands, etc. Last week, on my way home for lunch, I passed two “job sites” and I was pretty steamed. The first was two men without hard hats, hearing protection, pylons/flags, who were chipping branches adjacent to a major thoroughfare. The vehicle was not identified in any way, so I am uncertain who it was. 

Chris and I came up in heavy construction and know that young workers are particularly vulnerable to injury or fatality as they are being trained for their position. This is a tragedy of our times, and as an employer, we believe it is critical to train young or new-to-tree business workers so that they can safely perform their jobs. People will say that there “isn’t time for safety” or “being safe takes too long and costs too much”

We disagree. We train our employees properly, and provide them with personal protective equipment. We are covered by contractor insurance, liability insurance, and Workers Compensation.

This means that Chris and I wear PPE.

This means that if you decide to book Bee EZ Tree Service, I will instruct you on how to engage our crew safely, where to stand out of the way if you would like to watch, encourage you to wear PPE if you are coming around your yard/our jobsite.

There is a cost obviously associated with buying lots of hard hats, gloves, safety glasses etc – but that is the cost of safely doing our business.

Excerpt from our training manual “Safety is an attitude, that infuses your movement and approach to a task. Safety needs to be an automatic response to the situations that we will find ourselves in every day. People look at our work and say, That’s dangerous! No. Our work involves risk, and through training, planning, talking, and executing the plan – we mitigate those risks.” (Saborowski 2017)

If you would like to read about the questions you can ask your arborist, check out this post 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Arborist or Tree Service

If you would like to talk about the good old days, and how we can safely take care of your trees and hedges, call Reta at 204-730-0368

10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Arborist or Tree Service

How do you know if the tree service or arborist you are hiring is up-to-snuff? How can you protect your home and family from injury and liability?

Ask questions! Do some research!

Here is my list of questions that I encourage people to ask me:

  1. Are you licensed? (In the province of Manitoba, you must show proof that you have passed the Arborist exam and carry a minimum of 2 million dollars in liability insurance. I carry a copy of our license in Dropbox and can email you a copy, upon request.  We are licensed through the Dept of Forestry…..>>>)
  2. Are you insured? (Tree services must carry a minimum of 2 million in liability, in addition to the insurance on their own equipment. I carry a copy of our license in Dropbox and can email you a copy, upon request.)
  3. Are the safeties on your vehicles current? (Dump trucks must be inspected a minimum of once a year, depending on the Gross Vehicle Weight)
  4. Do you carry WCB (Workers Compensation)? (If the business is owner operated, they are not required to carry WCB – unless they are subcontracting. If the tree service has employees, it is a requirement to be registered with WCB. Check the WCB database to see if you are hiring someone covered by WCB here.)
  5. What is your tree management/pest management philosophy? (There is no right answer here, I think it is important to work with someone whose ideas resonate with you.)
  6. How many years experience do you/your team have doing this kind of tree work? (We are celebrating five years in Brandon! Before that, Chris worked in Winnipeg for 2.5 seasons)
  7. Have you done this type of work before? (Tree work ranges from pruning fruit trees, to large removal in tricky situations. It is important to get a sense of how much experience someone has in the type of work you are looking to have done.)
  8. How do you plan the work? What is your felling plan? (I usually discuss how we will proceed with the planned work with my customers, so that we can discuss any surprises/possible challenges before the work starts)
  9. Do you have references? (Yes! You can check our Facebook page here . I can also provide you with additional references, if you need.)
  10. When can you get the work done/how much will it cost? (This is usually the first question, and it is an important one. Beware the person who can get it done immediately, unless it is an emergency. During the summer, we are usually booking 2-3 weeks ahead. We are subject to the weather, so our schedule may change! If you need tree work done because of other contractors, or because of a special date, we will make our best effort to fit it in. Beware the too-good price. A few times a year, we are called to finish up work that was started by a different outfit that got in over their heads or took the deposit and left.)
  11. BONUS QUESTION ~~ Do you need a deposit? (I accept payment once all the work is completed, and you are 100% happy. We don’t need to order any supplies, which is often why contractors take deposits. We do appreciate being paid once the work is completed, unless other payment arrangements are made in advance)

If you would like to ask me questions, call Reta at 204-730-3068

If you are buying or selling a house, check out Look out behind those bushes! and This Wild Trick Means Selling Your House Easier!

« Older Entries