Doing Business In The Branches

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Dale Lee loves everything about his "office in the woods."

Raised in the Rim Country, he joined the corporate world for a time, but the challenge and danger of his father's business brought him home to join Bob Lee and Sons Tree Service.

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Bob Lee and Sons Tree Service works on with an 80-foot working height bucket truck with a forestry package bucket located on top of a chipper unit so the branches can be made into mulch for the forest floor.

After his father passed away, Dale Lee has been heading up the 23-year-old business since 2003.

"I'm very proud of my family and very proud to have the opportunity to be here to carry on his good name," Dale Lee said.

He recommends late fall and winter as the best time to prune fruit trees to control their growth patterns and keep them healthy.

Mistletoe control may be done at any time.

Lee specializes in technical felling and hazardous tree removal. He gives firewise home consultations. He is concerned with healthy forest initiatives and works with the forest service doing rehabilitation after wildfires. He has a certified arborist on his staff and is studying to become one himself.

Tree service can be dangerous and challenging work.

They rig trees and use specific techniques to make sure a tree does not fall on structures, power lines or other trees.

Lee encountered hornets in a tree last summer and jumped the 16 feet to the ground to get away from them.

"We do a lot of crane work topping trees out," Lee said. The tree man is "basically working off a life line or rappelling rope. Everything has to be rigged very well with high-tension slings.

"A lot of times you are cutting up above your head and you need to have a lot of faith in the crane operator. I use one guy exclusively because I have that faith in him."

In the Rim Country there are a lot of forest areas that are overgrown with scrub oak, manzanita and mountain mahogany.

"That (overgrowth) relates to healthy forest initiatives because you have a lot of it around more mature trees," Lee said. "Especially in drought conditions, that takes viable nutrients away from more mature trees and it is also a huge fire hazard."

Lee said he is proud to work with Hotshot crews.

When firefighters go in to cut a fire line during the initial attack on a forest fire they cut a 100- to 150-foot swath where they remove brush and pile it on one side.

"When the fire is fairly close to being contained we will go in with a Type II crew and chip those fire lines and broadcast those chips out to where they become mulch and are absorbed into the ground in a couple of years."

Lee's firewise consultations are free. He does a property assessment and consults on removing ground and ladder fuels, overgrown vegetation and checks whether the canopy needs to be thinned to break up the fuel continuity.

"I like to say we do anything from property maintenance -- raking pine needles and leaves -- to going in and removing hundreds of diseased trees," Lee said.

Bob Lee and Sons Tree Service can be reached at (928) 474-4220.

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