We can appreciate big, beautiful trees for providing leafy shade in the summer and colorful vistas in the fall. But when they block the view of the lake, or heavy winds rip through, leaving branches precariously hanging above your yard, those same trees can cause quite a headache. What should be removed? What’s a good price? Who should you trust to bring down heavy branches?
The lake itself also offers unique challenges for tree trimming, including preserving shoreline and maintaining a view. Sometimes the problematic trees are located on steep slopes near the lake; sometimes trees are near the shore, where heavy equipment could cause ruts and damage to a lawn. So how do you pick a tree service that can do all that? A few local businesses have long histories of working around Lake Minnetonka, and helping keep landscapes in tip-top shape.
Scanlon Tree Service
Don Scanlon has been in the tree service business for 50 years, as Scanlon Tree Service grew out of a yard service that Scanlon started with his father. “I had to get outside, and I knew from gutter cleaning that I wasn’t afraid of heights,” says Scanlon. “I got on-the-job training. You can read a book and know everything in it, but you’ve got to have experience.” Now, his sons work with him, and even his grandchildren are learning the basics of the business.
Scanlon says to ask neighbors for recommendations and get references when choosing a trimmer. “Experience is a big thing in tree trimming,” says Scanlon. “Make sure [the trimmer] doesn’t have a sticker on his saw that looks like it was just bought.”
Ostvig Tree Care
Jim Ostvig started working for his grandfather’s tree service, which was started in 1933, during the summers when he was in high school. Now he owns Ostvig Tree Care and offers tree, shrub care and landscaping all around the Twin Cities. “I stuck with it,” says Ostvig. “I love the interaction with homeowners.” Ostvig also likes that his team leaves each property looking better than when they arrived. “We come in and prune trees, and they look so much better when we are done,” says Ostvig.
Ostvig says your trimmer’s on-site inspection should quote the entire project, including labor, clean-up and disposal. “The No. 1 thing is to make sure whomever you choose has workers’ compensation and liability insurance,” says Ostvig. “If your city requires the service to be licensed, make sure they are licensed in the city.”
Preferred Tree Service
Jamie Qunell started working in the tree service business in 2002, but took over his current company and named it Preferred Tree Service in 2006. “We’re focused on being a small operation, so we can look more at quality than quantity,” says Qunell. He says the busiest time of year is definitely the spring and summer, when people are concerned with trimming trees for a better view of the lake, also called “vista pruning.” But he recommends getting at least some tree work done during the slower time of the year—September is a great time to start planning for some fall or winter work. “Winter is really an excellent time to trim trees. The ground is frozen and there’s better access to people’s yards.” Trees are dormant in the winter, and there aren’t insects or fungus around to threaten them this time of year.