For almost 50 years, Greg Haskell, owner of Haskell Tree Service Inc. in West Falls, has dedicated his life to the protection and preservation of trees. The licensed, certified arborist has served as a consultant to thousands of people in need of expert advice and tree care.
"Basically, we adhere to the highest standards and demonstrate a vast knowledge of all of the different tree and shrub species in the northern U.S.," said Haskell, who focuses on diseases, soils, health and pH levels, tree physiology and overall plant care. Haskell said that when he got his start in 1970, he was the first arborist and educator of any kind in this area. He said that while others in the area are certified arborists, he boasts a Connecticut arborist license. That means he has been approved by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection as licensed arborist, which involves a lengthier, more strenuous exam than a certification program, and are authorized to improve the condition of fruit, shade or ornamental trees by feeding fertilizing, pruning, trimming, bracing and treating cavities. Haskell credits his business’s longevity to his history, experience and longstanding dedication to the environment.
After the October 2006 storm, Haskell was called to consult on many of the issues regarding tree maintenance throughout the area. He said thousands of trees could have been saved if more people had his knowledge and insight into tree preservation. "It’s a sad fact that 90 percent of trees did not have to be removed," he said. "I fought with towns and governments on the matter. Being the only licensed arborist at the time, I told them that people want these trees, that they will come back and survive; they just need to be pruned and cared for. That’s where I differ from your average certified arborist. I have the practical experience and the history to know that trees can come back when they are properly cared for.” He said tree care is not only an environmental issue because trees absorb carbon dioxide, provide oxygen and, in some cases, necessary fruits and leaves, but it’s also a sociological issue in that trees and shrubs provide shade and are appealing to the eye. He warns people to be wary of some of the tree businesses that have sprung up since that memorable storm.
"So many companies started up after (that) storm," he said. "Many of these people are opportunists. If you hire a tree service, make them provide you with a certificate of insurance for workers compensation and liability. It should come from the business’s insurance company, not from the business itself.” Haskell said his concerns are legitimate and stem from his deep-seated appreciation for plant life. "We’ve had very good business this year primarily because of our name and reputation. We guarantee quality, and that has kept us going."