Show Me the Money

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CLC Tree Services was a finalist of the 2009 Business Integrity Award and winner of the 2010 Business Integrity award from the Better Business Bureau of Western Ontario

People sometimes wonder why the cost of tree services are so high. If you think about it, the price isn’t actually that extravagant. At CLC Tree Services, we try to set our prices fairly. We look at the cost of running the business, operating our machinery, keeping our certifications and licenses up to date, and paying our employees when we set our rates. You would be surprised how it adds up.

Work orders

Just some of the active work orders for clients

We have many clients. They all require an estimate before services are performed. Estimate are free, but they take time. At present we are booking estimates for tree assessment three weeks out. Once estimates are approved by the client for work to be performed, they are scheduled accordingly. Scheduling for tree services is running into November. That tells you how busy we are.

 

 

CLC work station

The work station where tools are kept, equipment is maintained, and the crew stores whatever else they need

Before the truck ever leaves the yard, tools need to be gathered, equipment needs to be cleaned and maintained, a schedule needs to be set in place to organize the timing of the work orders for the day, and of course the trucks need to be fuelled for a day spent driving around the city (have you seen the price of gas lately?). Some days there are 3-4 jobs scheduled and other days one big job fills an entire crew’s day.

Some days it depends upon the weather.

Christine hard at work

Christine Siemens answers your calls, schedules your estimates and tree work, and answers any questions you may have

 

When the weather is fine, the office manager Christine makes sure that the trucks are loaded and gone by 8 am. The crews are on the road til 5 pm. It is a long day, but they get their lunch break, as well as two 15 minute breaks during the day. It gets them their 40 hour work week, which makes them happy. We all need a pay cheque to make ends meet.

Not all days are filled with tree planting pruning, removal or fertilizing though. CLC Tree Services takes our business seriously. We are professional, from our first phone call, through our estimates and services performed. We work hard to ensure all of our equipment, large and small, is in working order. That goes for chainsaws, rakes, chippers, and trucks. Sometimes that equipment needs more maintenance than we can provide ourselves. That means that trucks or other large equipment has to go to the shop for repairs. Expensive, but part of the business.

CLC Tree Services takes Workplace Health & Safety seriously

Not only do CLC Tree Services employees have to have WHIMS certifications, they also need to keep on top of them. Manuals come in handy.

Our employees need a day in the shop sometimes too. That means re-certification, training days, and the occasional networking events for them as well. All employees have WHMIS training and workplace health and safety awareness certification. This past spring CLC Tree Services offered CPR training for all its staff members as well. Plus, our staff all come out to events like the LEA Craft Day, employee barbeques and the BBB Business Integrity Awards. We are all part of the team.

Calvin's Qualifications

Calvin McCallum is more than just a pretty face. He is a Certified Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture. He graduated from the Arboriculture program at Sir Sandford Fleming College. He even has a Supervisor Health & Safety Awareness certificate

Beyond regular certifications, there is further education and networking opportunities to fill the schedule. Calvin has more than a few qualifications to him. His Arboriculture Certification from the ISA needs to be updated every five years. The Arboriculture certificate he received from Sir Sandford Fleming College took two years and taught him many of the skills he now shares with new CLC employees. Being a Supervisor means a few more hours of training as well.

Add to that, Curt’s weekly networking functions at the London Executive Association, plus his membership in the Better Business Bureau where he sits on the Board of Directors. Anna Marie is no less active, with Christmas Decor conferences and webinars to attend regularly. Even Christine gets in on the action via her own networking groups.

Giving back to the community is a part of what CLC prides itself on

Giving back to the community is a part of what CLC prides itself on

If that wasn’t enough, CLC Tree Services also offers their time to worthy causes. They participate and sometimes organize the OCAA Day of Service every May. They helped out in Goderich after the tornado which struck in 2011. They were in Toronto cleaning up after the major ice storm last winter. Grand Bend had a tornado blow throw it this past summer that saw the crew in for another extended road trip to help clean up. Plus, closer to home they will be at the Veteran’s Memorial Parkway tree planting this October 4th, 2014 to help commemorate our veterans. Giving back to the community or those in need is just something that needs to be done. And CLC is proud to do it.

So why does CLC Tree Services charge what they do for their services? You should almost ask why they don’t charge more

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Trees and Fungi: A Strong Relationship

Birch trees

Decaying birch trees

What creatures still use this dead tree stump?

What creatures still use this dead tree stump?

While the death of a tree can be a sad thing for its loss of shade, oxygen production and carbon dioxide consumption, it is not all bad. Not only do dead trees still make for good homes for insects and subsequent food sources for the birds and mammals that eat them, but they still provide perches for birds and homes for other mammals. If they are left to decay naturally, they also eventually break down and provide nutrients for other plant life.

One of the interesting helpers in that process is the humble fungi. Not all mushrooms grow on dead wood and many mushrooms can only be found near specific kinds of trees. Most of them have some kind of association with trees though.

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These look like tiny common puffballs to me

Fungi are broken down into categories based on how they feed; saprophytes, parasites, mycorrhizals. Saprophytes are the decomposers. They feed on leaves and dead trees. Examples are morels, oysters, maitake, and giant puffballs. Parasites attack living tissues and often spell death for the host plant. Honey fungus and Lion’s mane are a few types of parasitic fungi. Mycorrhizals also grow on living hosts, but have a mutually beneficial relationship with them. They help the plant to absorb water and nutrients, while taking their own nutrients from the plant. Interestingly, farmers and horticulturists often use mycorrhizal fungi to benefit their crops. Chanterelles, porcinis and truffles all fall into this category and are all edible.

Mushroom

Could this possibly be a hen in the woods?

With 10,000 different species of mushrooms classified and potentially many more as yet undiscovered by mycologists, it is hard to fully appreciate this kingdom. There are edible mushrooms and poisonous. Some are used in the medical field, while others can take you on a psychedelic trip to another world! There are subtle differences between many mushrooms, so whether you want to eat, avoid or just plain identify a fungi, it is best to have a guide handy.

At CLC Tree Services we know our trees. Mushrooms on the other hand are a little trickier. We have seen plenty though. Could you help us identify some of these fungi found right here in London, Ontario? Give us a hand Mycologists and budding mushroomers! What are these marvellous mushrooms called?

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Absolutely awesome and unique. No idea though. Help!

Looks kind of like a bolete to my uncertain eye

Looks kind of like a bolete of some sort to my uncertain eye

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Appears to be a type of Cup fungus

The caps have distinct edges and you can clearly see gills underneath. I'd guess not edible, but not at the type of fungi here

The caps have distinct edges, bulbous stems, and you can clearly see gills underneath. I’d guess not edible, but not at the type of fungi here. Do you know?


Note that CLC Tree Services are not professional mycologists. We recommend that you positively identify any mushrooms you come across before ever eating them. Many are delicious and edible, but some can be deadly. If in doubt, don’t eat it!

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Trees

“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”

– Joyce Kilmer, “Trees”

Reaching to the sky

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The Gift of Free Trees

Dark skies over London, ON

Dark skies over London, ON on Sep 10th, 2014

It was Wednesday afternoon. The skies darkened the closer I got to the fair grounds. Small drops of rain quietly pattered on the windshield, barely enough to warrant the use of the wipers, but visible nonetheless. I had forgotten my directions. I tried to vaguely recall which parking lot I was supposed to aim for; which building I was supposed to enter.

Of course, I picked the wrong one.

The clock was ticking. We had been asked to arrive ten minutes early to prepare for our shifts. A woman at the gate advised me that I would have to walk around the outside of the entire fair to get to where my complimentary passes lay. With a glance at my watch I knew I would never make it. The raindrops grew fatter, now splattering on my opened umbrella. Back to the vehicle I went to find another parking space. Hopefully.

I shouldn’t have worried about parking. Weather forecasts had been predicting heavy rain all week. The morning had been bright and sunny, but as I parked yet again, those rays were now a memory. I hugged my umbrella closer to my head. My feet were wet before I stepped inside the building. But I made it with a scratch of time to spare.

The quest now was to find my entrance pass. The jangle of slot machines beckoned, but I had sworn to help out. I was to meet Christine Siemens, CLC Tree Service’s Office Manager, at the ReForest London booth in the Community Showcase wing to hand out free tree seedlings. If only someone was at the help booth to direct me. Just as I was losing hope of arriving before my allotted hour, a woman with a trusty walkie-talkie appeared. She swept myself and another tree volunteer directly to our station for the afternoon.

And there were the trees.

Just a few of the many tree seedlings on offer at the Western Fair from ReForest London

Just a few of the many tree seedlings on offer at the Western Fair from ReForest London

There were Hackberries and Choke Cherries, White Pine and White Spruce. Three kinds of Oaks (Burr, White and Black) lined the shelves, plus some Sugar Maples too. A sad little Ohio Buckeye was tucked in a corner that nobody could see, but the trees, there were plenty. And they were all free.

Office Manager Christine adjusts the display

Office Manager Christine adjusts the display

For three hours we stood smiling and handing out trees. The people were scarce due to the weather, but pleased as all can be.

“Free?!” many remarked as we nodded our heads.

Just take them and plant them, and count them as well. You see, we had purpose, and not just to smile. The point was to raise awareness of London’s Million Tree Challenge. The trees are a great gift to take home, but their gift lies more-so in giving back to London in droves. Each tree planted helps to reduce carbon dioxide and air pollution, improve water quality, lend aesthetic appeal and emotional well-being to businesses and neighbourhoods, plus even save you money.

And we were giving them away for free!

A Sugar Maple looking for a home

A Sugar Maple looking for a home

So while the rain discouraged many fair goers, the brave few who ventured out got the lovely gift of trees. Mr J proudly noted that the trees him and his wife were taking home would join many others that he had received in previous years from ReForest London’s generousity. And the sweet little sugar maple that another couple walked away with made a fitting first anniversary present for them. As they walked away, I heard her exclaim as she hugged her hubby, “We have a tree!” That joy was why we were there in the first place.

And CLC Tree Services not only had representatives at the booth on Wednesday (Christine was there Monday too). They also proudly sponsored some of the seedlings to boot.

So as I waded back to my van in knee deep water at the end of my shift, I hugged my own Black Oak seedling tightly to my chest. I promise to plant it, water it and record it on the Million Tree Challenge site. It was my payment for a few hours of my time and I know it will pay me back in droves.

We dig trees. Don't you?!

We dig trees. Don’t you?!

If you want a tree seedling of your own, ReForest London will be at the Western Fair until Sunday, Spetember 14th, 2014 handing out FREE tree seedlings to anyone who promises to love them. Get yours before they are gone!

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RePlanting The Forest City

Fork of the Thames

If not for the fork in the Thames River where downtown London, Ontario sits, this city of over 360,000 people might not exist. For it was the view of the Fork of the Thames that Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe Graves fell in love with in 1793 when he was scouting for a new site for parliament for Upper Canada. It took until 1826 for London to officially house the new government buildings, but once they were established London proceeded to prosper. In 1840, little London was incorporated as a town. By 1855, that status was relabeled as a city.

All that growth meant that the area changed from extensive hardwood forests to an urban oasis. Industries, government buildings, military strongholds, and the people who came with them changed the landscape extensively. Before long buildings replaced the forests that once dominated the area.

London has a long history of tree lovers though. It didn’t take long for locals to realize the value of trees and they were soon replanted in droves. So much so, that by 1980 a stylized tree became London’s official logo. According to a tree count undertaken by the City of London, there are over 120 species of trees on city owned land, which breaks down to 123,359 street trees on city property and 32,101 trees in managed parks (not including unmanaged natural areas)*. We are not called the Forest City for nothing.

The building boom that has seen the city continue to grow, coupled with insect infestations, like the dreaded emerald ash borer, have changed the face of the Forest City in recent years though. By 2003 people were again concerned about our urban forest and took action to do something about the dwindling tree population. The London Community Foundation and the Urban League of London formed the ReForest City Gateway Project. Not only were 150 trees planted around the city, but another idea was born. In 2005 ReForest London was formed and by 2007 it was incorporated as a non-profit, charitable organization.

ReForest London has come a long way since then. Not only have they spearheaded the Million Tree Challenge, an initiative to plant 1 million trees in London, Ontario over the next ten years, but they support many other programs as well. They organize tree sales, giveaways and plantings in the spring and fall, as well as doing follow-up after-care for areas planted. They train and support neighbourhood tree captains to promote tree care in local neighbourhoods. They train tree teachers to speak to the community. They even encourage schools to green their spaces in a new School Community Tree Challenge program.

ReForest London Goals:

  • Empowerment – Empower community groups, businesses, and individuals to plant and care for trees
  • Ecosystem Health – Improve London’s environmental health through planting trees and shrubs in natural areas, parks, yards and along streets.
  • Education – Educate Londoners about the importance of trees and how to plant and care for them.

Pretty impressive we think.

ReForest London at the Western Fair

ReForest London is all about trees and all about London. They want to increase tree numbers and knowledge and have chosen a great place to do that starting this Friday, September 5th, 2014. That’s right, they will be at the Western Fair again this year handing out trees and knowledge to the 200,000 some-odd people who pass through the gates over the 10 days the fair is held. Smiling volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions, encourage people to volunteer themselves for events, and most importantly to get Londoners to plant trees. You will find their booth in the Community Showcase wing of the Progress Building. If you plan on attending the Western Fair between Sept 5 – 14th, make a point of stopping by to say hi and pledge to plant a tree yourself. Help yourself to a native tree seedling and have fun.

Most importantly, plant that tree so that you too can be part of replanting the Forest City! Hope to see you at the fair in support of ReForest London and the Forest City.

*Forest City tree inventory facts as of September 1,2002
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