Engineering background helps Fortville tree service grow

Engineering background helps Fortville tree service grow

Climbing trees. Grinding stumps. Fighting emerald ash borers. It’s something Greg Whisenand, owner of Applied Tree Services based in Fortville, deals with on a daily basis while doing tree work.

But none of those are things that Whisenand expected to be doing in the early 1990s when he graduated from Purdue University with an engineering degree. “I did that for eight years and I didn’t like sitting behind the desk,” he says. 
“I decided I’d go out and do something outdoors.”

Initially, he began working with chimneys, which got him used to the heights and safety equipment. A friend who worked in tree service taught him the ropes of that business, so he decided to transition to climbing trees, eventually starting his own business in 2005.

Whisenand says he takes an “old-school” but safety-conscious approach when doing tree work — he climbs trees with safety equipment on, but he doesn’t use bucket trucks. That allows him to take on jobs others might turn down due to difficult placement. “There’s a lot of facets to tree work ... but we’re not focused on plant treatment. We’re more focused on structural integrity,” he says.

2012 Angie's List Super Service Award Winner:

Applied Tree Services

Greg Whisenand is the ownerand services Hamilton, Boone and portions of Marion, Hancock, Hendricks and Madison counties. Applied Tree Services earned the Super Service Award for tree service in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Member Anne Attridge of Nora hired Applied Tree Services last July and described Whisenand as “a miracle worker” after his team cut down several trees, including three that were 50 feet tall and another that was entwined in a separate tree she wanted to save. She plans to have him out again this year for maintenance. “The whole experience was fabulous,” Attridge says. “He’s a very pleasant person — willing to listen and suggest ideas. He also worked for my sister and took out five to 10 trees and did an absolutely fantastic job.”

Beyond staying up-to-date on industry standards and safety guidelines, his engineering background helps Whisenand understand better how to maintain a tree’s structural integrity and, when necessary, how best to remove trees that are potentially dangerous. “I studied strengths of materials, and I use that quite a bit, as well as rigging and using fulcrums,” he says. “I’m employing basic engineering principles when I’m doing those sorts of things.”

Whisenand says about half of the jobs he does these days involve inspecting and often removing insect-damaged ash trees. He doesn’t treat the trees but points homeowners in the right direction to get help and informs them of their options.

Since being added to Angie’s List in 2007, he says the company with a small crew has grown, thanks to his personal touch. “I’m on every job and I take a personal interest in every job,” he says.

The Super Service Award recognizes contractors and health care providers that have maintained a stellar service rating on Angie’s List throughout the past year. Be sure to always check the List before hiring, however, as ratings can and do change.

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When you need to hire for tree service, look for a local contractor and avoid unsolicited offers. (Photo courtesy of Greg Whisenand)
When you need to hire for tree service, look for a local contractor and avoid unsolicited offers. (Photo courtesy of Greg Whisenand)

Avoid getting scammed by unsolicited tree-trimming offers by getting a written contract, verifying insurance and checking references.

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