Friendly Tree Service

Friendly Tree Service

By Nancy Moffett
Photo by Sabotta Imagery Photography

Advice from a Tree

Stand tall and proud.
Go out on a limb.
Remember your roots.
Drink plenty of water.
Be content with your natural beauty.
Enjoy the view.

This poem, posted on the Friendly Tree Service’s Facebook page, expresses the respect owner Tighe Nostrand has for the trees his company cares for. “Every tree is unique and needs specific care to be maintained,” he explains. “Different situations and objectives require an individual tree-by-tree approach.”

Friendly Tree Service was founded in 1982 by Tighe’s father, Don Nostrand. In those days, it was a side business for the Pennsylvania state trooper. When Don retired from the state police in 1993, he took the business full-time. He had a passion for the outdoors and trees that began when he worked for a park as a young man, Tighe explains. As for the name “Friendly,” that was suggested by Tighe’s mother, Linda, to reflect Don’s outgoing personality. The company grew through the years due to its dedication to proper tree care and a service-first attitude toward clients, Tighe notes.

Tighe followed in his father’s footsteps, growing up in the business and then earning a degree from Penn State University in Landscape Management and Design. He is also an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist, a Certified Tree Care Professional and a Pennsylvania Licensed Pesticide Applicator. In 2005, Tighe took over as owner when Don retired. Sadly, Don passed away in 2013. Linda is still involved in the business, handling many of the office functions.

Today Friendly Tree Service, based in Bangor, operates across the Lehigh Valley, as well as in the Belvedere, Hope, Washington and Phillipsburg areas of New Jersey. The company is a member of the Tree Care Industry Association and the International Society of Arboriculture. They offer several pruning and maintenance services, including cabling, thinning, elevation, dead wooding, crown reduction, pollarding, tree removal and building clearance. They also do pest and disease management, fertilization, lightning protection and tree planting. “Eighty percent of our business is residential,” Tighe points out, “with some commercial and municipal work (Cities of Easton and Bethlehem and the Easton School District).”

During their busy season, Friendly has a staff of seven people, including production manager, Jeff Kessler, who worked with Don early on and returned to the company several years ago. Friendly has two bucket trucks and a spray rig, among other equipment. If a crane is needed, they’ll hire one. “It’s a different type of work,” Tighe says. “You can’t be afraid of heights, as some new hires have quickly learned.” Although Tighe’s main duties are sales and running the business, he still climbs trees and runs bucket trucks. “We always have an audience when we work,” he points out. And that audience often generates new work when people see them operating in their neighborhood.

He had a passion for the outdoors and trees that began when he worked for a park as a young man.

Tighe’s advice to homeowners at this time of year? Watch for signs of insects and disease. Hemlocks get scale and woolly adelgid (or HWA), an insect which lays eggs on the underside of branches. The eggs are fuzzy and look like cotton tufts. Fir trees get fungi, such as needle cast and rust if the spring season has been wet. Since our past winter was colder than normal, most insects should have been killed, Tighe says. Spring and fall are the best times to fertilize.

If you have trees that you think are too big, the worst way to treat them is what’s called “topping.” This is removing the tree’s canopy, leaving large branches looking like stubs. It’s counterproductive, as the tree needs leaves to make food and will quickly send out weak, thin limbs to replace what has been lost. “The practice comes from Europe,” Tighe says, “where ‘pollarding’ is popular. However, proper pollarding must be done regularly from the time the tree is young.” Topping a mature tree leaves it vulnerable to sunburn and scorch, and its damaged bark is susceptible to organisms that cause decay. The result is an ugly, weakened tree that may not survive.

Tighe also cautions homeowners about attempting to trim or remove trees by themselves. According to a study by the Tree Care Industry Association, of 47 civilian tree care accidents reported in 2012, 25 were fatal. This is a reminder that tree owners need to look for reputable tree care companies to safely handle this work. Per the report: “Tree care is undoubtedly one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. Pruning large limbs, felling trees and especially climbing into trees are hazardous activities even for trained professionals.”

As for second-generation arborist Tighe Nostrand, he expects to continue the business his father began more than 30 years ago by practicing the company’s mission of  “Improving the beauty and safety of your landscape, one tree at a time.”

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