Local arborists share expertise

WILLSBORO - A team of arborists who have been generously serving local nonprofit causes will soon be putting on a free clinic for those wanting to learn more about proper tree care.

Tree specialists from Mountain Tree Services will be hosting a free homeowner's pruning clinic in Willsboro Aug. 20, the latest of several contributions the company has made to the community.

Recently, the crew lent their skills to the Whallonsburg Grange Hall, where a nearby tree was interfering with renovations to the historic building.

"They took down a big tree that had been leaning against the side shale roof," said Ted Cornell, who has been spearheading renovation efforts at the Grange Hall.

Cornell called the multiple hours the crew spent using their equipment to cut the tree from high above ground a "valuable volunteer service," one of many that were crucial in making the renovations a success.

"It was a very complex job," he said. "Because of the way it was leaning, it had to be taken down in sections."

"We just want to be good members of the community," said Ben Collins, manager of Mountain Tree Services, which operates out of Willsboro.

As a certified member of the International Society of Arboriculture, Collins said he and his colleagues are well-trained in appropriate procedures for tree pruning and removal, and are kept up to date with the latest standards of care.

"Part of the responsibility of being an arborist is to educate," Collins said. It's for that reason he and his crew, together with another crew from Arbor-Ops, will be presenting the pruning clinic.

Properly pruning trees will improve their structure and vigor, said Collins, and prevent catastrophic injury that could potentially result from severe weather.

Through the clinic, Collins hopes to show residents how, where, and when to make cuts that will keep trees healthy.

"There are a lot of things that homeowners can do that, while well-intended, are going to be harmful to a tree. The tree just takes so long to show it," said Collins. "By then, it's usually too late. If we can prevent that at all, it will be a success."

The homeowner's pruning clinic is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 20 near Gilliland Cemetery in Willsboro. At 11 a.m., the crews will demonstrate pruning on an oak tree in the cemetery. Both presentations are free and open to the public.

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