Busy time for tree surgeon after hurricane
After a major storm like Hurricane Humberto, clearing away fallen trees can be dangerous work.
One wrong cut and a pinned tree branch could come loose and crash into you, or the tree itself could shift in an unexpected way and crush you. And then there are live electrical wires to look out for.
But tree surgeon David McCann loves the work.
“Since the storm I have had some big, major clean ups to deal with,” said Mr McCann. “Some big poinciana trees, some 200 to 300 years old, came down blocking people’s driveways and landing on their roofs. I have been very busy. Every day is a different challenge. Every day is something different.”
Mr McCann started his tree surgery business, Bermuda Arborist, about a year ago.
“I love working outdoors and being out in nature,” Mr McCann said. “That has always appealed to me.”
He started working for Kevin Horsfield, of Horsfield Landscaping and Design, in 1999 when he was 17. He liked the work so much he went to college in Massachusetts to study it, gaining a horticultural certificate from Cape Cod Community College, an associate’s degree in arbour culture and park management from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and from the same university, a four-year degree in urban and community forestry.
After graduating he returned home to do tree work for the Department of Parks, Coral Beach&Tennis Club and Brown&Company.
Then his life derailed when surgery for a stomach problem went wrong.
“I was treated at Lahey and eventually they managed to fix me up again,” he said. “I just had my second daughter with my new fiancée. It was time to start working again.”
No longer physically fit enough for heavy tree work he found a job as a boat captain and scuba master.
“The boat work got me fit and back-to-work standard, but it was seasonal,” he said. “So it was a good time to start my own business. I took out a couple of loans and got my van and a couple of tools. I managed to get a small arsenal of saws together. The hardest thing about getting it off the ground was the initial purchase of everything.”
He has no full-time staff at the moment, but hopes to expand the business next year.
Mr McCann markets mainly through Facebook and Instagram.
“Information about me has spread mainly through social media and word of mouth,” he said. “Lots of people seem to be recommending me and everyone is very happy with what I have done so far. I have had quite a few repeat calls from clients I worked with before the storm. When they had storm damage they preferred me to do their tree work as opposed to their general landscaper because they appreciated the scientific approach.”
He loves the variability of the job. Sometimes he’s doing hard, heavy work taking down 100ft trees, and other days he is doing meticulous, pruning and grafting of fruit trees. He has about 20 regulars in his integrated pest management programme which includes monthly monitoring and care of citrus trees. He also takes care of nectarine and peach trees and even the odd apple tree.
Eventually, he’d like to start his own plant nursery.
Ultimately, Mr McCann would like to see people in Bermuda planting more native and endemic trees, which he feels fared a lot better during Hurricane Humberto last month, than invasive trees.
“The right plant in the right place will thrive and give you benefit,” he said. “Plants produce a lot of oxygen. It is important to plant as well as cut.”
For more information about Bermuda Arborist call 516-0880 or 261-0503 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Also see him on Facebook and Instagram under @Bermudaarborist
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