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Photo by: Tim Freed - Unhealthy cuts and hazardous techniques couple with an alleged high-pressure fraud perpetrated upon Winter Park homeowners.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017 2 years ago

Tree trimmers threaten Winter Parkers with fines

Tree trimmers strongarm residents
by: Tim Freed Associate Editor

A healthy tree canopy has long been a symbol of Winter Park, but one alleged tree-trimming company might be using that fact to take advantage of residents.

Winter Park warned residents in a press release last week that a tree trimming company is going door-to-door and claiming work must be done on their trees, or they risk facing a fine for violating city code.

The tree trimmers have reportedly claimed that the city doesn’t have its own urban forestry department, and that residents should hire them on the spot to trim their trees.

Winter Park Urban Forestry Manager Dru Dennison said that the city has received about a dozen calls from residents who’ve witnessed the tree trimming scam over the past two months.

The tree trimming company has reportedly hit roads near Winter Park High School and the Winter Park Country Club, including Palmer Avenue, Georgia Avenue, Golfside Drive, Old England Avenue, and Temple Drive.

“It’s hard to know as a regular resident who’s official and who’s not and if they’re telling you the truth,” city spokesperson Clarissa Howard said. “If there’s a company or companies going around telling lies, it is our responsibility to make sure [residents] have the facts and arm themselves so they are not taken advantage of.”

Howard said the tree trimmers will try and offer steep discounts to entice residents. And, she said, that they’ve reportedly damaged trees due to improper pruning and misuse of climbing spurs.

Dennison said that the use of tree spurs, which is forbidden in Winter Park, could cause the spread of diseases from one tree to another, as well as leave vulnerable trees open to infestation.

Winter Park residents like Thurman Kitchin said that the best way to stop the tree trimming scam is to keep spreading the word, adding that the city’s trees are an iconic feature of Winter Park.

“I hate to hear it, but I believe it,” said Kitchin, who lives on one of the streets targeted by the tree trimmers.

“It’s a huge deal. [Trees are] what we’re known for.”

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