Cover Story: Tree Magic Arborists
by Rebecca Glover
T’is the season of storms. Wild winter weather, with gales causing chaos everywhere and leaving a trail of destruction. Branches dropping, trees falling, twigs and debris blocking the gutters, it’s amazing the mess that can be caused in a short time. Much as we value trees for their aesthetic value, they have scant regard for us when the wind blows.
It’s a sharp reminder to call in your local friendly arborist, although Tree Magic’s Luke Stanton would prefer that you didn’t ‘leaf’ it until a wayward tree comes crashing through your roof or on to your car.
“The big storms we had in autumn blew down half of Auckland, causing untold damage. It’s an example of the importance of regular maintenance for trees, keeping them a healthy shape and size to limit the carnage when a big blow comes.
Luke and his crew of skilled professionals were kept very busy helping to clear up the mess after our latest weather bomb, an impromptu challenge which called on all their technical skills.
“In these situations we need to make to make off-the-cuff decisions and sort things out promptly while trying not to cause any further damage.”
Rectifying the results of nature’s tantrums calls on the Tree Magicians’ ingenuity, but so does their day to day work removing, trimming, reducing and shaping trees. Native or exotic, large or small, Franklin has a lot of trees, but the Tree Magic crew can come up with a solution to any arboreal problem.
Sometimes it’s a matter of size – and size does matter. Tree Magic arborists specialise in dealing with large trees. If it’s in the wrong place, dropping off inconvenient bits, blocking the view, or just too darn big, these are the guys to call. And they thrive on the challenge.
Watching the Tree Magic climbers at work is akin to high drama. Their skill and agility are a sight to behold as they scamper up a 25 metre tree, chainsaw in hand. Fearlessly they ascend to the highest branches, lopping off bits left, right and centre and lowering them to the ground with ropes and pulleys. Cranes, chippers, trucks and diggers add to the spectacle.
It may look like magic, but there’s definitely a plan, even if it’s not immediately obvious to the onlooker. These guys clearly know what they’re doing, and despite the scary looking manoeuvres they’re well versed in keeping themselves safe and have all the gear to do so.
“We enjoy working out the best techniques to approach each job, and we use the latest equipment. Gnarly old overgrown trees, trees right beside buildings, trees with rotten branches – there’s always a way to deal with them,” says Luke – and he should know.
Luke has been in the game since he left school to take up a four year apprenticeship. He spent nearly three years in London working in royal parks on historic trees, some of them hundreds of years old.
“The preservation of trees was of the utmost importance, and there were specific rules on pruning. Sometimes we’d be working on street trees and crowds would gather to watch.”
Luke made the most of his time in the UK, like many a Kiwi using it as a base for travel to Europe, Africa, South America and southeast Asia. And like many Kiwis on their OE, he found love, in the person of former school teacher Rachael.
On his return to New Zealand Luke decided to go out on a limb, branching out with his own business, which has thrived since taking root in Franklin.
Now transplanted to Drury, Rachael runs the office side of the company and cares for their one year old son, Finn. In the eight years they’ve been there they’ve built up a solid base of clients who appreciate the high standards Tree Magic maintain – so much so that much of their work comes through personal referrals.
“People put their trust in us to do a good job,” says Luke, “so we always strive to provide a top quality service.”
That includes leaving everything looking neat and tidy after the job’s done. Tree Magic’s team can quickly and efficiently reduce a mighty tree to nothing more than an empty space, with branches and trimmings turned into mulch which can be left for use on the garden or be removed. Stump grinding can be arranged if required.
Although tall trees are Tree Magic’s specialty, it’s not all about the big stuff. Pruning to improve a tree’s appearance or to let in more light, cutting back branches that are too close to a house, trimming dead limbs to prevent disease are all in a day’s work for them. Luke stresses that it’s a team effort.
“We have a great group of guys working together, which is so important when we’re in a hazardous environment. Each member of the team knows he can rely on the others. We have
an independent health and safety manager to ensure all our gear and training are up to scratch.
“All our climbers are either fully qualified or in training under supervision. We’ve recently taken on a promising new apprentice, Caleb. Another staff member, Fraser, has been through our training and has turned into an exceptional arborist. Manu and Robbie complete the team.”
Call 0800CLIMBER to have your nightmare on elm street turned into a winter wonderland. You’ll believe in magic!
Tree Magic Arborists
Phone: 0800 CLIMBER