Trees enhance the beauty of our natural environment. Sometimes, however, when Mother Nature turns violent they can become hazardous or a source of debris. Even when no storm damage occurs, owners of homes and commercial properties must be alert to the need for routine tree maintenance.
Whether in response to an emergency, or as a source of expert periodic tree care, ArborPro Tree Service, 1504 Fifth Ave. S., is a popular choice for professional help.
Owned by lifelong Fort Dodge resident Jake Nelson, a 1995 graduate of Fort Dodge Senior High, ArborPro has been in business locally since March 2010. The company recently moved to the corner of Fifth Avenue South and 15th Street. That property, which once housed a Jiffy Lube outlet, has been repainted and enhanced to provide a highly visible headquarters for ArborPro.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
ArborPro owner Jake Nelson, right, gets a little help from Matt Larson, center, and Reino Bodady, in rolling a large tree trunk onto the rigging used to lift it via crane out of the customer’s yard.
Nelson said the choice this prominent site on the city's Corridor of Commerce was motivated in part by a desire to make more people aware that his business exists.
"The location is good for advertising," he said. "There are 18,000 cars a day that drive by this location."
Nelson stressed, however, satisfied customers are the most important key to success in any business.
ArborPro handles both emergencies and routine tree maintenance assignments. Specialties include tree removal, trimming, cabling and planting; stump grinding and removal; and land clearing. The company also offers gutter installation, repair and replacement and downspout installation. Nelson said his team includes seven full-time, highly experienced employees.
The business grew out of Nelson's early involvement in the world of storm response. While the local ArborPro Tree Service offerings have only been marketed for the last three years, he said he has a dozen years of experience dealing with the aftereffects of storms.
"One of my best friends that I grew up with owns one of the largest tree companies in Kansas City," he explained, reflecting on how he got into the tree business. "He called me up and needed some help running crews on the road. ... I went out to try it. I went out to California and have been doing it ever since."
After a number of years traveling the nation to provide help when storms downed or damaged trees, Nelson said he decided that a more broad-ranging tree service was a logical next step.
"I had equipment out on the road," he said. "You have so much time in between storms that it's kind of dumb having bucket trucks and having the experience and not doing any residential around here. So, I got a chipper and a stump grinder, all the stuff to do residential tree work."
The business now is a mix of emergency work related to storms nationwide and tree maintenance projects within about a 60-mile radius of Fort Dodge, Nelson said.
"I do a lot of storms," he said. "So, a lot of times when it gets slow around here in the winter months, I might be down doing a hurricane or an ice storm. ... We do large scale. I was down to Hurricane Katrina for about eight months. We do the city rights of way. We do whole cities, whole counties. I've been everywhere - California, New York. I just got back from Hurricane Sandy."
He is quick to emphasize, however, that when some of his personnel and equipment are on the road, he makes certain the maintenance needs of clients locally are addressed fully.
"I always keep a crew here," he said.
Nelson said the storm project and tree maintenance services each represent about half of the business.
"Last year, I had crews out on the road maybe half the year," he said.
Nelson said he enjoys all aspect of tree work, but gets special satisfaction out of helping people cope with emergencies.
"I love traveling and seeing different parts of the country doing the storm work," he said. "People tend to really appreciate what we do for them when we are out on the road."
When local clients have a tree crisis, Nelson said they should know that ArborPro stands ready to respond fast.
"It's 24-7 if there is an emergency," he said of the company's capability to respond to unexpected events. "If there's an emergency in the middle of the night, we'll get a crew right out."
Regarding routine tree maintenance, Nelson said he puts heavy emphasis on making certain jobs are handled with the utmost professionalism.
"One of my biggest things is - and all of my guys I tell them - I want to leave the job with the yard looking just as good - if not better - than when we arrived," he said. "We really pride ourselves on our cleanup. A lot of where I get my word or mouth is they are so impressed with the cleanup. ... It makes a huge difference and customers like it."
Nelson said customers who avail themselves of regular tree maintenance can often avoid the emergencies storms can cause.
"It eliminates a lot of breaks when we get high winds that come through if you take care of your trees," he said. "It will save you money in the long run. You don't have to worry about things coming down on your house or car."
Nelson has a straightforward message for potential clients.
Estimates from ArborPro are free. Nelson said multiple references can be provided, and rates for the work are very competitive.