PHL The Hathaway Group
Roots to Treetops: Exploring the World of Tree Trimming and Pruning

In this episode, we explore the world of tree service and arboriculture with expert Apollo O’Neil. Apollo shares his journey in growing a successful tree service company and discusses the intricacies of tree climbing, pruning techniques, and the ethics of tree care. He also delves into the importance of tree inspections, particularly in Florida, and the unique qualities of Live Oak trees. This enlightening conversation offers insights into Apollo’s experiences, the challenges he faced, and his passion for educating others in this vital field.

Listen to the podcast episode here!

In this episode, we are sitting down with Apollo O’Neill. Apollo was the owner and founder of O’Neill’s Tree Service, a residential and commercial complete tree care company. Now, Apollo’s competitive spirit and drive to do things the way, have propelled him and his company to be one of the top most respected tree service companies in the state of Florida.

In this episode, we talked about his introduction to trimming trees, including some near-death experiences. We talked about his favorite tree and a new tree inspection service that they’re going to be offering to homeowners or buyers and sellers of any real estate transactions. If you appreciate trees I know you’re gonna enjoy listening to Apollo speak. And of course, if you find any value in this episode, share it with a friend. Let’s jump into it. So welcome, Apollo. Thanks for being here.

You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

I’m excited to have this conversation. We’ve had a couple of good conversations before and it should be fine. But your, your company O’Neill’s tree services. So I haven’t told you the story before. But the reason I so i get your mailers we were just kind of talking about, and I don’t know how often you send them out. But it might have been, once a month, something like that.

When we first moved into our home,  we needed some tree services, some some tree work done. And, I think you’re the only tree service company that has consistently sent out the mailers, one thing that always caught my attention was your logo, and how simple and clean.

And then I would see I would see your trucks around around the neighborhoods and that sort of stuff. And, probably the cleanest trucks for a tree service company that I’ve seen. It’s almost like they’re all brand new. And you keep them that way. But anyway, that led me to eventually,  when I needed some advice and some tips on pruning our trees to reach out to you. And I’m glad I did. Because I think what you’re doing is awesome. And just your approach to business and, and this tree service industry is pretty cool.  

So take me back to the beginning of your journey into this business. How did you get started on it? And then why?

So when I was younger, probably five. I grew up in Wisconsin basically on a dairy farm. I didn’t live on the farm, but I was there every day. And then my dad to clear the land. And so we had bulldozers and these sort of things out, taken down trees and, and did some excavation work and, and I thought I always d it when I was a kid.

So I think that’s where it kind of started my, my, I guess appreciation or my love for this industry. Maybe it was heavy equipment, maybe it’s trees, maybe it’s all of its chainsaws, heavy equipment, trees, it’s pretty cool stuff?

I think that’s kind of where it started. And I don’t know why that was exactly that. I’d it. But I did. And then years later when I moved to Florida, I moved here in 2004, after I finished college in Sacramento, California, and I came here and I went there, by the way, I went to Sacramento, California because I didn’t have any money to do school. And I knew that if I got residency out there, they would flip the bill as long as I kept good grades.

And so I just had to figure out how to make enough money to survive. Well, I did. So that’s what I did. And so I worked the whole time I was in college, and then I came here and I got I had a lot of experience mechanically. So I kind of got into the automotive and moto motive engineering, or the automotive industry will say, and that was kind of the intention at the time. And so and that helped me later on in this business because I had to buy old equipment.

And I had to make it work. So my mechanical experience helped me a lot there. Probably also growing up on a farm, we had to fix everything. So that was another thing. Anyway, so I, when I came down here, I worked in that industry a little bit I got I ended up in, I’m gonna kind of left that then I went into sort of clean rooms, I was working in a place where we made plasma etching tools. So they make the Intel Pentium chips, machines we made, made Intel Pentium chips, sort of thing. But ours were used for R&D, so they would break down the chips and figure out why they failed.

So I was in cleanrooms, basically, we’re in the white suits and all that, and building basically their, their tools. And it was a really good job, but I always loved being outside. I grew up outside and, at some point, I was, I don’t know that I could do this forever.  this is not it’s not my thing. I don’t want to be inside all the time. And so I eventually left that and when I left I had a decision to make and I was an, I was considering different things.

And I said well, I don’t want to compete with any of my friends anybody I know. ? And I had some friends at the went and I said, So what are some things that none of my friends are doing that I might be interested in? So I thought, I’ll try the landscaping thing because I’d to get into the excavation. And so I went into landscaping to get into the excavation part of that or move towards that part of it. That was a stepping stone.

So I wasn’t going to be a landscaper, necessarily, I just knew that I was your path that way. . And so, and this was also around the time. , the real estate market was crashing six or seven of 2005, I was kind of getting into it a little bit. And so I had started a business there and then lost everything. 

At some point in there, someone had asked me, Would I trim their tree? And I said I’ll do that. So I tried it. And I was, this is pretty cool. I loved climbing trees when I was a kid.

I could get into this, And so that’s kind of what started it., I climbed around a tree very unsafely. , because I didn’t know what I was doing. Customers inquired and they paid me and I said, Oh, this is fun. And then I met a guy who became sort of my mentor guy, we had a mutual friend. And he’s from Ohio. So he doesn’t live here. But he has a house here.

He was a cool guy, very, I guess, inspirational to me than that he had accomplished what he had accomplished. And he’s told me, when we first met, we met for dinner, and I had my newborn baby with me. And he had his wife. And, his daughter at the time was older. He had since had more kids. But anyway, he says to me, basically, in front of my wife in front of his wife that I don’t know what I’m doing, and then I’m going to kill myself. 

So I should get educated. And I was, huh, I don’t know what he’s talking about.  I don’t know what you’re talking about. And but I realized that I then I, then I started to get interested in, Okay, well, what is he talking about? And really, I’m just doing what everybody else is doing,  trimming the tree the way the customer asked me to do it. And then once I started educating myself, I realized, Oh, this is what he’s talking about. I don’t know what I’m doing.

He had said he wrote me off that day and said I’d never talk to that guy. Again. He was an idiot when he left town, and then, six months later, I called him and I said, Hey, I’m a certified arborist now. And he was, this guy I met for dinner. 

I said he’s, Man, I thought, I never thought I’d talk to you again,  that. You went and did that. I said after I talk to you, I realize you’re. I don’t know what I’m doing. So I studied and I passed the exam. So that’s why then I started to get interested in the science of trees. But I kind of had to go down that road of , doing the work, which I’m happy I did, because it makes me very unique individual in this business, I am lucky to have a decent education.

So I can write pretty well, and a lot of guys in my business, Kent. And I also have a lot of hands on experience. So there’s not, there’s not a lot of guys that can write and have the hands on experience. They kind of go down one way or the other. 

So they end up being consultants and they write but they haven’t done a lot of the work. So their understanding of what what’s actually happening out there. And what happens the reality of the dangerousness of it,  every goes Oh , it’s dangerous, but they don’t really haven’t really done it. So they don’t really know up there. 

The truth is, is I’m I am lucky to be alive. Because when I started doing this, I didn’t know what I was doing. And I should probably be dead. Because I did a lot of things that were dear fall tree. I have done I have fallen. So but I haven’t I’ve always gotten really lucky. 

I guess would be the best way to answer that. I’ve slid down a couple of trees we if you’re climbing dead or dead trees or trees you’re going to remove you can put spikes on and climb up them. . And so I had no one to teach me that. So I read books, and I just tried to do it.  without the  proper shoes or whatever. Well it was spikes eyeballs, but I didn’t know how to use the spikes. 

There’s  a technique. Okay, so  and if you in most guys in this business, they learn from somebody,  that teaches them how to do these things, but I would read a book or read something and then go practice try to figure it out. So unfortunately, I wish I had had  someone teaching me that but I didn’t. And I , I slid down a couple of times on particularly Queen Palms, which are very slippery is up maybe 20 feet and the gas it’s called kicking out. 

So you have to be at a certain angle for them to really dig in. And if you stand up to straight it changes the angle of the spikes and they come out of the tree and you slide down and you’re immediate reaction is to grab. But the thing you’re supposed to do is push yourself away. Because you have a lanyard there. That’s, that’s designed to stop you from sliding down. 

That’s part of the reason you have it. But that’s not your immediate reaction. So someone doesn’t train you that you don’t really know that even though I read, and maybe I didn’t get that I didn’t get it till later oh that’s what that was. That makes sense. 

And then a couple other times, I was working at a client’s house, I was actually celebrity around here. But anyway, I was in front of this big window they had and I was on a ladder, which ladders are terrible, I hate ladders. But it was trimming a palm tree, which is not a lot of ways to do that. , that don’t damage the tree, except for ladders. And there’s one other way, but we don’t really that’s really dangerous. And I didn’t even know how to do that at the time. 

This is kind of  in the beginning of the career. And I , the, the palms are cylindrical and ladders, obviously, they don’t really latch on to it palm very well. So it slid off. I wrote the ladder down. And there happened to be someone standing in the window watching me. 

So they came running out and I was already up and move the ladder. And I had all the air knocked out of me.  I hurt. And they were  You okay, I was , yep, yep, fine.  nothing happened. I was so embarrassed.  see that you didn’t see my I don’t even know what you’re talking about. Are you talking about , so of course, they totally saw it. 

But I didn’t, I just acted  it didn’t even happen. So that happened a couple of times to unfortunately, obviously, I’ve since learned to not make those mistakes. But , and then there’s there’s a safe way to do things. And there are standards in our industry and ways to do it. So it is safe. But that was at the time where I was maybe the beginning. 

And I didn’t really have all that under my belt. So that’s why I say I’m kind of lucky to be alive, because I did a lot of really dumb things where I just didn’t know and it is a really, really, if you don’t know, and you’re not trained by anybody. It’s dangerous. That’s fine. 

It’s amazing that you started out as being the owner? You didn’t work for another tree tree company? 

I didn’t even work for anybody. So I never, I did. So I did start. So then, when I learned I actually started to learn how to climb  actually climb and knew what I was doing, I started to do what they , a lot of guys are called contract climbers. And there’s quite a few guys that do this at this point. 

So that’s how I actually kind of really started I did I got exposed to what was going on. So then I started to meet other guys and know people and and, and that started to make me push to be better at at the climbing aspect of it and what I was doing. And so I work for a lot of guys.

I guess at one point, I was working for these guys, and they were paying me and I realized, well, I’m the one bringing all the equipment,  why don’t I just sell the jobs and , instead I’m doing their jobs that they sold. They can’t do it.

And so that kind of started facing me towards actually creating a company instead of just being  a contractor for other guys. . And then somewhere along the line, I started I started to hire guys that were good, . And I hired this old, this old, he’s a a little bit quite a bit older than me as an ex marine at the time I was young, I was probably about the same age, as I am now. ? 

Maybe maybe a little bit older than that. I met this guy, and he was one of the guys that I hired first. That was real good. And, and I , I learned some things from him. He was he was good, but he was not a he wouldn’t be called to  a professional arborist. And I know that sounds weird. Because a lot of things get it guys think. 

Oh, he’s a tree climber. , it’s maybe that’s a professional guy or whatever. But the guys that are really at the top of this industry are  on another level. It’s not. It’s not really you can’t even really compare them. . So then, at some point, I hired this guy named Charlie Diaz. And Charlie Diaz was a legit. And that was  the first legitimate guy that I really had. And he probably doesn’t know this, but if he ever watches this show, I hope he does. He taught me a lot. He he and I, I tried to help him become a certified arborist. And he did while he was working with me.

So it was a good relationship with us. He taught me a lot more than he probably ever knows. I just was kind of quiet about it and didn’t let on that I didn’t necessarily know as much. , I knew enough to know just watching him  away. I knew this guy knows what he’s doing. 

And that was , the interview was  working interview. He came out. He’s , Well, let me show you and I was , Okay, so he’s , he did some stuff. And I was , This guy’s good.  need to hire this guy. And then I had about that time I had gotten involved in the Florida tree climbing Championship, which was you could go and compete. And then if you won, you could compete internationally. You just  climbing to the top of a pole as quickly as possible.  

It’s five, there’s five events. And you have to score high on those and be in the top five, and then you compete in what’s called the Masters climb. And and then if you win that, then you compete internationally, essentially. Okay. And so, um, I started going to those, and that really changed my whole career. It also changed his this guy, Charlie Diaz. 

He was , I don’t want to go to those is that this certification is stupid  he has disgruntled three guys. A lot of them are disgruntled. And then he goes, and he realizes, Oh, I’m pretty good. ?  better than maybe I thought I was. And then he started getting attracted to the becoming a certified RS, which I already was at the time. I just wasn’t the caliber of climber that this guy was . 

So then when I gotten that, I was , Man, I could do this.  I could compete. ? So then I started doing it, . And that kind of drove me to get better. And so I , I started competing. And then I got to the point where I could beat all my guys now they can all beat me or most of them probably can, I might have some I could still beat. But most of them can. Now they’re , now we have these guys that are just  phenomenal. We have a guy. He’s a really good, really good dude. 

His name is Matt Adams. And he loves what he does.  he loves climbing trees. And he works out every day to , be a better climber. , I mean, I’m sure there’s some other reason, but it seems  that has a lot to do with it, . And so the guy’s phenomenal. I just have gotten really lucky to have a lot of those guys around me. So that’s kind of how it all started. And, ya know, here I am today, I said  I didn’t intend to necessarily be a tree guy. It kind of just happened. 

Roots to Treetops: Exploring the World of Tree Trimming and Pruning
So where does the passion or the drive to be the best tree guy you can write or the best in this area? Whatever it is where does that come from? And then a follow up question , do you think that could it could have been any other industry or any other business? Or is it something with trees?  

That’s a good question. I don’t know that. I’ve thought that all the way through. I? I am I’m pretty competitive. ? I don’t, I don’t know that I am the best tree guy. I think I know that people think maybe I am. But at least that’s what people have said, I don’t know, whatever you’ve said it. I’ve heard other people say that. So I think that we have built a good name for ourselves. And I have always been super into giving and giving my knowledge away. And all the things that I know. And I’ve never tried to keep it from people. And I think that’s one of the reasons that people think I’m a good trigger. So I get a lot of credit, I guess because I have been super involved in education as early as I could have I always wanted to get in front of people and talk to them. 

I don’t ever do anything, generally without trying to be really good at it. So when I was a kid, I was really into sports. And I was always tops three, top two and everything I did. Now then, when I got into high school, I went to school that changed my life. And I didn’t I didn’t do sports for a while. And it did change my life in a positive way educationally. And but they didn’t have the sports I d. So I didn’t really play sports there. 

I know,  maybe some of the sports I was good at I was not a thing anymore. Actually. The school was great, but we lost.  basically any sport we didn’t play. We lost a lot. So I was not used to that. And that was really hard to do. , because I was always on winning teams. . And I did  individual sports  wrestling. . And I guess I probably always prefer that because I guess probably because that school made that made me feel that way  it’s , oh, I got this team. I can’t I can’t count on this team. Because I can’t win with these guys.  I need , I want all the time before when I was younger. 

Now I’m on these teams where we just lose all the time. And I can’t , it’s hard. I can’t control much about it. Well and because you’re on team it’s but individual sport. I was always an intense competitor. It didn’t matter what I was doing. Obviously, I the the problem with that is as teams or as groups were much stronger, ? 

You are not that strong as an individual. But that’s part of my , that’s maybe one of my downfalls  I try to do everything myself. I always have. , if I’m moving my house, I want to move all the furniture myself.  I don’t ask friends for help, usually. I’ve gotten a little bit better about that. Now I’ll ask and people  How come you don’t ask anybody for help. It’s  I had a knee drill. So my attitude, I was, I’ll just do it myself. But then along long with this business, it’s , Oh, I gotta  build a team here. , I can’t just do this myself. It doesn’t work that way especially not if I ever want to have time with my family or my kid all this stuff, the all these different things you’re trying to do in life besides work all the time. And so I think a lot of the guys around me have pushed me to try to be the best I can be as well. I always knew that I would. I mean, I had, I would say high ethics level would be the best way to describe it. So  I, when I wrote my original business plan, and I did this it’s called a SWOT analysis, you probably know what that is, a lot of people don’t. 

But I wrote this business plan. And I wrote down my strengths, my weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This is the SWOT analysis. And I thought that I would make all these enemies because I knew this was a very unethical trade, which there’s so much to that to understand that, but tree care is mostly motivated by fear. 

Most of what people are buying is the opposite of what they wanted, meaning they wanted their tree to be safer, but what they’re really getting is a less safe tree. . And so I knew that when I wrote my business plan, because by that time, I was a certified arborist, I had failed the first business and lost everything. 

But at the time, as a certified arborist, I already knew what was going on. And I was, these guys are really unethical, they’re a lot of them are out there doing things that I’m not into side activities, especially . 

And then just what they’re doing for customers is not , it’s not something I would ever want my mom to pay for. And I’d be upset if my mom paid somebody to do this. So there’s stuff. . And so I think that really motivated me to stick to my guns. And, and really try to push being ethical in the business. And it’s hard because people want to pay you to do something, but , it’s wrong, and you have to walk away from it.

And that’s hard to do. And I’ve been people have said to me if you can run your business and do that, then good for you. I don’t know how you do it, though, tthat’s  other arborists have said that to me crazy. Plenty of times. Because they all a lot of I shouldn’t say all, but a lot of them just do what the customer says.

But what’s interesting about that, is I get that , you gotta feed your family,  that’s their job, their career, that sort of thing. . So there’s that, that that push and pull. But it’s  if they get on the path that doing the  thing being ethical learning educating themselves the business is going to be there. , . And you’re a testament to that.  

Well, I think it’s important though, that and this is what I didn’t realize. So when I wrote that business plan, I thought I was gonna make all these enemies. I actually made friends. Not enemies. . I did actually make a few enemies here and there. But actually, I think pretty much all of them even  me at this point. Maybe they didn’t momentarily. If you have a guy, then they realize, Oh, he’s really good for this industry. 

Because he cares. I care even for the guys that maybe aren’t doing a good job, because I know that they don’t know any better. And they are trying to feed their family. I didn’t go around being. You’re a bad guy. doing crappy work. , I went around I understand why you’re doing that.  I’ve been in your shoes I did. I ruined people’s trees, because I didn’t know what I was doing. , and I understand you got to feed your family. So I don’t come at it from a some sort of I’m hiding. Thou thing I’m, I’m saying , Hey, I’m  you? Did you think about it this way? Or did you think about it that way and, and try to get him to see what I’m doing. 

I want to help them and I want to make the industry better. And so I’ve always driven to bring to drag everybody with me.  you see this,  this character, where it’s , the, the CEO is  pulling this wagon full of people who aren’t doing anything. .  that’s, that’s how I felt , I’m trying to drag this industry behind me. And I know that our company has improved this industry around here, because I see it. And I, and I feel it all the time. And I know that we have made a big impact. 

We have changed street care in this area a lot. I would  to keep changing it and making it better. And I knew that and I wrote that down because I knew that I wouldn’t give in to that. And so I think that’s part of it. , integrity doing what you’re doing and And even when people are watching you doing the same thing when people aren’t watching you that’s a big thing. And I push that on the guys a lot, I push a lot of education on my guys, I try to get them.  

I believe if I make my guys better and have a better education, they’ll be happier, more able to control the things around them. And then there’ll be better at what they’re doing. And technically, the company should make more money, ? Or do better if they do those things. And of course, you gotta get the  people around you. And I have guys  Carson Smith, he’s my operations officer he pushes me to be better all the time. He probably doesn’t know that either. 

But he’s a brother to me. I’ve he’s been with me,  11 years go. And he’s a partner in my business now. So he makes money if we hit over a certain revenue, so he gets and, and so it’s cool. , that guy makes me want to push harder, because he probably will surpass me. , he just got elected to be the president of the Florida chapter Isa. Oh, cool. 

And so he’s one of the guys that I brought in that took all the opportunities that I threw at him.  A lot of guys don’t do that, all the guys, all the guys have had have the same opportunities that he had. But he’s maybe the only one that really pushed towards the ball he really and so that guy’s , one of those guys that I even look up to him, and he’ll I don’t.

I’m , Man, he’s pretty disciplined and dedicated dude. So . So I think that’s part of the reason that I keep pushing to try to be better. And I know that if I make the industry better, it gets better for everybody. So , why would I want to do something and not be the best at it? I guess.

That makes sense. So I want to I want to talk about , when you first came out to our house, we talked about pruning trees. And I want to just kind of  touch on that a little bit to you before before we wrap up. But , kind of I don’t know,  how to go about this. But  the the proper way to prune a tree and  things to questions to ask  an arborist if you have a mount to your house to grid. .

So we have a little animated video that we are, we have quite a few of them, that really actually go over this subject in a very brief, precise, concise, concise manner. So it’s about a three minute video, and it’s called pruning objectives. 

And so I always  when I came out, and you said I want to do this, I always ask why. Because this happens all the time. And I knew this, this is part of the ethical thing, when I came into this, that I knew was a problem. , I get this old lady who’s , cut my tree down. And I say, Why do you want to cut your tree down? Well, because the other guy told me it’s dangerous. I’m , well, it’s not dangerous. 

So that’s kind of where it started asking why? Because I realized all these people ask me do things because they have bad information,  in or they want to try to treat because they’re afraid that it’s going to land on their house. Because someone told them that it might land on their house, or they had this preconceived idea that it was gonna land on their house, because something in the news, whatever, . But this is from people that don’t know anything about trees, or maybe don’t have enough information to make that statement about trees. 

So I think we kind of did that with you. It’s , what, why did you call me? So if I can isolate down to why someone called me  the real reason, not because the neighbors did it?  Or somebody took its time?  they’ll say, Well, I think it’s about time to trim my tree. Well, why do you think it’s time? 

Well, I mean, don’t trees need to be trimmed? I mean, trees in the forest don’t get trimmed. . So, no, I guess not. But, and then they just look at me , I’m crazy, ?  Or we might say something , they clean my tree up. And I’ll say, Well, should I get a broom?

 So , I ask people if they get a brim, clean it up, whatever. Anyway, so with you, I think it was just  you were willing to listen to the educational process, and you are easier to not everybody wants to listen to that. So you got to figure out what it is people are willing to listen to. And there’s different tacks that you would go through to get someone to listen. 

So for you, you were receptive to the why and the questioning, and then it’s  you just have to look around you’re observing guy. You see all these trees over here, and they look  this tree here. , that says from University of Florida, do not trim it this way. And then I’m showing you the documents. So it’s not just me saying here’s the science, now that you’ve, you’ve educated me on that,  the proper way and stuff,  I’m looking at other trees and overland. It’s not good and that’s a hazard.

Maybe it’s not and that’s it. I think people are so scared of trees and it’s really kind not unfounded? It’s when you think about the statistical possibility of a tree hitting your house. 

I mean, even  these large trees  they’ve been there for 50 years or more. Most of the reason that they’re failing is because people didn’t hire a good arborist that knows what he’s doing, . And they had them trimmed incorrectly if they were being managed properly, and they had any had a good guy coming out that knows what he’s looking at, then you can prevent most of these problems.  

We have enough information and tools at our fingertips at this point, that we should catch trees that are more ly to fall, especially  unexpectedly.

If there are storm or something a hurricane, I can’t predict what’s going to fail necessarily, I we do have species profile lists that tell us based off hurricane analysis, which trees are more likely to fail, and storms and so on, and so forth. 

So we have that data. But we don’t plan for hurricanes, because if we did, no one would live in Florida?

If you find a hard place to live, if you’re worried about natural disaster.  I mean, why would you live in Florida, if you thought there was gonna be a hurricane every year, or every whatever, every year? Every of you knew that hurricane was going to hit Tampa Bay every year. Would you live here?

Probably not? Probably not. Because you’d be rebuilding? And then, you’d never built anything. 

I mean, you build your house and get knocked down again, or whatever. So. Anyway, let’s talk about the tree inspection thing that you’re starting this year. And this is something that is  if you’re buying a home, or you just moved into home, or you own a home to , what is this? And  just tell us about that.

So I created an app with an open source software, it’s  a data collection software. And basically, my guys go out and with our app that we created, we can quickly assess trees. It’d be done by an ISA certified arborist, someone that knows what they’re looking at. And, and basically delivers that report that gives them quite a bit of value, that valuable information about the tree. And I think a lot of people get home inspections. 

And we get this call the time they get a home inspection when they buy the house, but they never get a landscaper tree inspection. And we run across all the time I bought this house because of this beautiful tree, well, then they find out the trees on it’s  last leg or it’s towards the end of its life. And they realize they gotta pay to remove it. Well, that’s a pretty expensive cost, especially when you just bought a house. 

So for cheap price of a low price of coming out and inspecting trees we’re only charging we’re kind of hitting around  49 bucks, if it’s under a certain number of trees, up to  89 bucks on 25 trees. And it’s pretty simple. So then we deliver this report, it’s only $89, let’s say and it has all this value in it, you can use it to shop your insurance companies and everything  that, that’s a big thing. I get tons of calls. If they see a report, that’s that thorough, they tend to realize, oh, he had it inspected by someone that knows what they’re looking at. 

And they kind of leave them alone. And so we also have this form letter we send to insurance companies very good well written. And it tends to make them change their mind about trees. . And, and so and a lot of people don’t realize that when they buy houses in Florida, I mean, some we got a lot of people moving in here that aren’t from here. They don’t know the trees, they don’t know. They don’t understand hurricanes, they don’t understand what happens. 

They get suckered into trimming their trees by people that don’t know what they’re doing all the time. And once you make the mistake of, of pruning your tree that way, it can be almost sometimes impossible to fix. I’ve even seen it where people are taking trees out to . So that just just because of that fear of fear of falling on the house or whatever.  

So I think this is going to be I think this is great for anybody who owns a house? And you have a bunch of trees on your property. Just get the inspection and then you’re, then you can make a decision based on that information that you have.

And it’s a catalog of their trees too. So they can actually monitor their own trees to some degree, . So they’d have reports with GPS coordinates, and everything in it. Pictures cool, and a ton of different information in there. And so they know a lot of things about their trees, and they can make better decisions on how to care for him moving forward and know that there’s there’s a rating on there. 

So if it’s a bad tree, they’re going to know that that tree has something to do with maybe they should negotiate that into their real estate deal.

And if it’s a $10,000 tree removal,  it would be bad for the seller in that case. But , if a seller has good trees, and he’s been caring for him, it would help him to , Hey, this guy has been taking care of this stuff. He’s hiring the people. 

Your maintenance costs should be much less than someone else that didn’t. That’s true could be helpful Both ways. 

What’s your favorite Florida tree? 

I am a big fan of live oaks, live oaks. I just  what they stand for. So I think it’s to me, Live Oak is a symbol of America. . So is that the national tree or something  that? No, a lot of people don’t realize it. But , in the 1790s, during the Revolutionary War, five ships were built. And one of them’s the USS Constitution still floats today, there’s a 300-page article about Live Oak and its value.

To us, gaining our independence from England. And then we had a superior and we did end up with a superior naval advantage because of this tree. So the English the French and the Spanish were coming over here to try to steal this lumber from the southeastern United States. 

So they can build their ships from it. And that’s how pricey it was. They built naval, they had the Navy had yard  a stands of trees,  books that they built to supply wood to the ship. Wow. Are they planted?

So we’re the Live Oak is it’s native to the southeast United States. I mean, there’s , there’s Live Oak and other places. But the South the strongest comes from the southeastern United States. . So you have , you have  coastal Live Oak and California, for example. 

So there’s different species of live, but , ours is called Quercus virginiana. Southern Live Oak is, is really what the one that we have. , we also have something called Quercus Gemin. Otto, which is a sand Live Oak, which is actually even more dense than a southern Live Oak. So but also very strong tree. 

So cool. Just  the way they look. I think they’re super resilient. And I  that they’re a sign of resilience. , a lot of old family crests had oak trees on them. And oak trees are a sign of resilience, because they survive in places that a lot of trees can’t you find them in areas where the soil is crappy. 

And there’s there’s not a lot of things going on, and they live because they’re resourceful trees. . So they’re able to make it and I think that sign of resiliency is probably a big reason why I like them.  

Most people will pull oak trees out of their yard. They don’t let them grow. If it’s  next to the house, they tend to fall next to the house or something  that, but and it woods. , it’s  one in 10. That’s accounting for that.

 I wonder if that’s because of just  the canopy and  being able to,  survive and grow to a certain height. There’s a lot of reasons. So , a lot of things eat acorns. In fact, there’s a book called The hidden life of trees. So I  I geek out on this stuff. Get really into it. But , oak trees have bumper crops here. Notice that,  some years will be really heavy acorn produce. 

Then it might be three, four or five years of low production. . So it’s intentional. Because they’ve learned that only one in 10,000 survive. From 300 million years of evolution. And so they intentionally produce less to lower the populations of herbivores, the things that eat them. So they’re trying to create famine. 

So they don’t eat so that they die back. There’s less hogs, there’s less deer, there’s less squirrels? And then they throw out a bumper crop. Because then they got a better chance of getting something is there a certain cycle  every three to four years, or it depends on the tree and the environmentally, it can be totally odd. 

You can’t really you can’t say that it’s every three years or every four years. I mean, but it’s definitely , sometimes it sometimes it could be I mean, I’ve seen him yet,  where it’s , almost every year, I’ve seen him be really a lot other times I’ve seen it where it’s yours, and you don’t see a lot. So it’s it’s kind of, I think, random.

I’m sure there’s something behind it. Some I think it’s trying to survive mechanism. We all want to carry on our I think our genes ever all life is trying to care on itself through its children will say  through its offspring. 

And everything kind of does that that’s alive. And so , there’s a little PCU that goes along with your kids and then on down through generations and that’s what trees do two, same thing. Of course, they’re asexual, so they have both female and male reproductive parts, which is also a unique thing. Another interesting fact, they have female and male flowers, the male flowers, the ones that make the mess, the yellow pollen all over the place. 

Okay, so that’s basically semen. Yep. And it falls on the inconspicuous female flower.  that has the ovary and it and then it goes down and  basically through , was  a Obion tube creates this acorn . Which is life,  the seed. It’s  a baby tree. 

And but they have a DNA checker. So they don’t  to pollinate themselves or fertilize themselves overnight. So they will abort, because they know that , using I guess incest is not great for for suffering a continuation of life. 

Okay, because it causes we know birth defects. So the same thing happens with trees if they produce  that then that will eventually wipe themselves out. Interesting. Pretty cool stuff that’s fascinating  The way they function is for the for the successful existence of all life on this planet, which I think is a very novel thing. , I wish humans would all do that. Better Place.

So where can people learn more about your company? And then hire you for these tree inspections, or for tree trimming?

So of course, you can go on our website. That’s www.oneilstreeservice.com. And you can call us by phone you can text us there’s we have all the all the info on our Facebook pages. It’s O’Neill street service Instagram pages. 

I think we have a tick tock page about that. So I try to stay away from that. But the girl in our office Monica, she’s amazing. She does a great job for us. And she manages that kind of stuff. So in call and talk to Monica.




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Roots to Treetops: Exploring the World of Tree Trimming and Pruning
We Love Local
January 29, 2024
Categories: Podcast