Tree service shortage an issue during Irma recovery

Tree service shortage an issue during Irma recovery
September 13 07:15 2017 Print This Article

In the wake of Tropical Storm Irma, a lot of families are in need of tree removal services, but the number of qualified crews with operational equipment is in short supply.  A search of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) revealed that there are only 19 certified arborists in business from Summerville to Johns Island.  An arborist must have at least three years of experience and pass a licensing exam.

We contacted a tree service at the beginning of August who was working in a neighbor’s yard.  We learned that the service did not have a permanent crew or the equipment needed to take down a 50-foot sweetgum tree in our back yard.  Sweetgums and loblolly pines are the most storm-vulnerable trees in the lowcountry.

After doing a search for tree services on Home Advisor, only five businesses showed up in the data base.  We called Carolina Tree Service on Sunday afternoon and got through to owner Roxanne Baker immediately.  She came to our home to offer a cost quote by Tuesday, the day after the storm.

Baker informed us that there is a shortage of qualified tree service workers in the Charleston area.  The ISA offers certifications for tree climbers and bucket lift operators.  There are currently no Charleston area institutions which offer training in these areas or administer certification exams.  Those in the industry must travel to Myrtle Beach or Charlotte to become certified.  Tree climbers and bucket lift operators can earn starting pay of $200 per day.