Tree Trimmers & Arborists

Archived Responses: 

Tree pruning recommendations please?

Feb 2014

I need to hire someone to help prune my overgrown back yard, including large shrubs and smallish trees that are too tall for me to reach with a pole pruner. I'd like to find someone who is covered by insurance and will do a nice job, but won't be so expensive that I can't afford it. Any suggestions much appreciated! Thanks, Rachel

We recently had The Forestree Company (510-528-8060) trim the trees in our yard, including removing a large dead branch from our old apple tree. They charged us a lot less than the company we used last time, and did a better job. N.H. in North Berkeley

I just had some fruit tree pruning done by arborist Molly Goulet Bolt mollybdenum [at] and was very happy with the result. She is also very reasonably priced. I didn't ask about insurance. happy fruit

Removing branches, etc.?

Nov 2013

My landlord had a house inspection for his insurance, and they came back with an observation that there are trees/branches that are too close to the house and pose a potential threat. They didn't comment more (no idea which trees), and I have never owned a home, so this kind of thing is totally new. He asked me to take care of it. Who would I call? I would need both the work done and someone who can tell what even needs to be done, since all looks well to me.

My next door neighbor had BUENA VISTA TREE SERVICE working on the trees in front of his house just yesterday. The crabby person on the other side called the cops. They had all their permits to keep going. When they were gone, I went out to look at what they had done. It looked like nothing had happened at all! The gigantic trees are just opened up and healthy looking. There are no scars or detritus anywhere. Knowing my neighbor, I am sure that it was inexpensive because he is a 'pick up some guys in front of the home center' kind of gardener in general. I will call them when I need limbs cut.

Arborist that will call back

July 2013

We have a large acacia that has grown wild and is leaning into my neighbor's yard. I'm not sure if it needs thinning or needs to be entirely removed. My neighbors are now complaining and we want to be good (because we like them) so we need to get moving on this. But, we have contacted 3 different arborists multiple times over the last 2 months and received no return calls (nothing, not even to just see if the job is any good). Anyone know of a good, arborist that will actually call back? Melissa

Brende and Lamb in Berkeley. I have used them a number of times and they are top notch. Every time I've called I've been able to make an appointment on the first call, and they come when they say they will. They are very reliable and very knowledgeable. Ginger

I can recommend two, who are reliable so I'd expect them to call back. One is Gray Shaw, whose business is called 'Arbor Artist'. 848-6752. He lives up north now but comes down from time to time. We're on his annual tree pruning schedule. He's done a lot of work for us. The other person is Terry Dillon, 524-1982. He pruned some huge trees of our neighbor in 2002 to give us a better view. We were impressed with the care he took. I noticed some Yelp reviews for him in 2012. Francesca Rizzardi fran [at]

I just discovered Alex Thomas, 707-972-8301. A friend of mine at Mills College connected me to him. He called me back within two days and showed up to give me an estimate within three. He is professional, knowledgeable and did a great job on my two olive trees, better than a company I'd hired three years ago. He'll be returning in September to trim two of my birches, my lemon tree and a ficus. Good luck with your own trees. D. Archer

Good arborist for an Oak Tree

March 2013

We have a big Oak tree in our backyard that is the central focus/largest tree in our terraced backyard. The previous owners have allowed the neighbors to top off the Oak each year to maintain their view. We have also allowed them to do so in the last 6 years since the previous owners for the last 30 years had done so. I believe it's been done by various tree companies and has been done pretty indiscriminately as the person who did it three years ago just hacked up the top. Our neighbor said that in Berkeley if you buy your house with a view, by law you are able to maintain it. I haven't researched this as we would like to continue to allow them their view as well as maintain our friendly relations. But at the same time I am becoming concerned about the health of our Oak as everything I've read on the internet about continual topping is that the tree will die and it's the worst thing to do to a tree. It's been sending out large lateral growth below the area that they have been cutting for many years and is becoming rather deformed from our vantage point. I would reallly like a great recommendation for a great licensed arborist that can hopefully trim the tree in a way that is most healthy for the tree and to allow them to maintain their view. Thanks

I woud recommend Peter Gradjansky gradjansky [at] (415) 699-5441 cell (510) 524-6919 office Frank

When we lived in Oakland, we hired Brende & Lamb to tend our oak tress. They did a very good job, almost artistic. They were pricey if I remember correctly, but they were good and are trees were so beautiful afterwards. At our house in Moraga, we hired Advance Tree Service to tend our 100+ yo oak tree. They also did an excellent job, and it was a very intensive project. They had to manufacture bolts to cable up the tree to keep it from falling apart. It was going to be the same cost to remove as to save it, so we opted to save it. Their advice was very good, as was their work. Our tree has been in great shape ever since, and their pruning job was also very pretty. I don't have either company's number handy, but I'm sure a web search would do the trick. You could interview both and compare.

My husband handles calls like this all the time at his company, Brende & Lamb. They never top trees, they do excellent work, give them a call one of the arborists will come out and give you a free estimate. The health of your tree is as important to your property values as the view is for your neighbors, I think you have to try to balance the two. I'm not an arborist but what I understand is that oaks present a particularly tricky case because they have a canopy that needs to shade the tree because they are allergic to the sun - they get sun scorch. So when you top them they freak out. It sounds like it will be tricky - and maybe a multi-year project - to fix the problem, but you should at least talk with a 'real' arborist who has the health of your tree as top priority! Their number is 486-8733. Marnie

Palm tree trimming

Feb 2013

The palm tree in our front yard is in need of a trim. Does anyone have a recommendation for someone who can do is safely, but for a reasonable price? When we got it done 4 years ago, we paid $400. So far we got one estimate for $800 and another for $900. That's a lot more than we where planning for. In need of a trim

I've used Elite Tree for my palms. Very reasonable. Very fast. Good clean-up. Good luck!

I would take a look at Ponderosa Tree Service! I know Michael the owner and he is a great guy! Alexander

As a proud palm tree owner, I know I need a real expert to ensure a healthy and safe tree. Yeah, they cost money but if you spend $800 every four years, that's only $200 a year for peace of mind. I highly recommend Brende & Lamb. cathy b

2011 - 2012 Reviews

Looking for an excellent arborist in Berkeley

Aug 2012

Arborist needed for diagnosis of diseased trees epst

We just had a very positive experience with Chris Bowen of Bowen Tree Service. He's a certified arborist based in Moraga, but works all over the East Bay. He looked at the large and healthy (hooray!) oak in our back yard in north Berkeley. Our situation was not one of disease -- our tree needed pruning rather than diagnosis -- but you might give him a call since tree maladies are well within his area of expertise. Should you need work done on the tree, he and his crew were extremely efficient and professional, and did a really excellent job. He can be reached at (925) 377-7863 or at bowentree [at] oak owner

Call Steve Batchelder 510-787-3075. He is really knowledgeable and honest. Scott

Browning 30 ft Pine Tree...Diagnosis needed

May 2012

A tree doctor recommendation is needed. When we moved into our home 8 years ago there was a 30 ft tall, lovely, Japanese style pine in the back yard. It was green and healthy. Gradually, over the past two years, more and more brown needles have appeared. First they were at the base of the tree, now they are all the way up to the tip, to the point where about 30 percent of the needles on the tree are completely brown. Since winter just ended, it seems wrong. The tree used to be very green in all seasons. The tree has always had a lot of ants, which seem to go up and down the trunk, but I figured this would not hurt a tree, and they have been doing ant business (they look busy) in the tree for the entire time we've lived here. The tree is also planted very close to our backyard fence, and I've wondered if the neighbor behind us has used some kind of chemical or pesticide that is hurting it. I would like to have someone come look at it and try to see if we can save it but we don't have much money and need to find someone affordable who will be able (hopefully) to figure out what is wrong. Are there any tree doctor recommendations out there? Or any other ideas on how to help an ill tree? Tree Friend

You didn't say where you live, but if you are in Berkeley, you can get the city to do it. They have a great arborist/tree program in Berkeley that can look at your tree, and tell you if it needs replacing etc. If you live elsewhere, or can't get the city to come out (sometimes the wait is long), try Brende & Lamb.

Call Brende & Lamb, They're the best in the business. Martha

Fruit tree pruning help

March 2012

I have several fruit trees in my backyard. I've tried few seasons to prune the trees, but I have a feeling in not doing it correctly. So I am looking for any recommendations of someone who can come and teach me how to prune the trees. Thanks

I have a wonderful person to recommend to you. His name is Stuart Robbins and I have been working with him on landscape design and installation, including tree planting and pruning. He's highly trained and lovely to work with. I cannot recommend him highly enough. His numbers:cell 847 644-7847, home: 510 526-1273.

Gray Shaw does a good job and would probably be willing to teach you. (I've just had him do the work, which has always been very good.) gshaw [at] Jodie

I know the Institute for Urban Homesteading ( offers classes in pruning, though it looks like none are scheduled for several months. You could contact them though and I'm sure they can put you in touch with that instructor, Molly Bolt. Likewise, Merritt College offers pruning classes. L

Tree Pruning, reasonably priced

March 2012

My husband and I just moved into a house with trees and so now we have to deal with pruning the trees. There are a few fruit trees and then some non-fruit trees. Ideally we would hire someone this year and watch them do it so we can do it next year. We don't have a lot of money to spend on a tree pruner, but we also don't want to kill the trees or cause them to get diseases. So we would like recommendations for affordable tree pruners and advice on how we can learn to do it ourselves. Thanks!

Mark from the Forestree Company ( in Berkeley did a very reasonably-priced pruning for us this winter, and was friendly and proactive about offering advice. (I initially contacted them because of other good recommendations for the company on BPN.) For the DIY route in the future, see if you can find a pruning class at one of our great local resources like Berkeley Horticultural Nursery ( or the Ecology Center ( JP

Tree Pruning for One Small Tree

Jan 2012

Hello, I need to find someone willing to prune a single smallish persimmon tree without charging me for a big job. The tree companies seem to have high minimums. The tree stayed a small (10ft.?), in-the-corner-by-the-fence tree for many years but my gardener 'forgot' to prune it the last two winters, and I'm realizing he just doesn't feel confident about it (he made one cut once and it didn't go well--now it has multiple spindly branches growing straight upwards and has lost its overall shape.) I thought I had some time to play with, but with the weather so warm, my tree is ready to put out buds! Hoping for a current referral. I am in the Piedmont Ave. area. Thank you. Want a Small Tree Again

Sai Duhamel (310-428-8092) does a great job, charges by the hour and is a pleasure to work with. Bountiful Trees

For anyone in the area needing fruit tree pruning, I would recommend Elizabeth Ruiz. (415)368-8875 She co-teaches some pruning courses at Merritt College, and really knows fruit trees--many gardeners do not, as it's a really specific set of skills. Suzanne

Arborist knowledgable about fruit trees

Nov 2011

Would love recommendations for arborists who have strong knowledge of fruit trees. We are very happy with our current service and have tried out several others over the years for non-fruit tree issues, but we need help from someone who can treat several old and possibly diseased fruit trees. No arborist we speak to seems to have a sound (or even any) specific history of working with fruit trees. Worse, none seems bothered by not (apparently) being interested in fruit trees! Fruit trees are different

Matthew Sutton of Orchard Keepers, Roy

Suzanne Arca and Isabel Robertson, who works with her, are my garden gurus. They are thoughtful, creative, focused and efficient. I think they would be able to help you. Signed, A Happy Client!

Ann Ralph at Berkeley Hort knows all! She's been doing backyard workshops too, though that may not be a winter thing. I should go check in myself, I did not trim back the apple tree enough this year! Scared to hack back fruit trees

I feel your pain! We had a really hard time finding a good arborist for our fruit trees (apple, persimmon, fig, apricot, lemon), then finally found Brad Cazden. We couldn't recommend him more highly--in fact, our neighbor hired him after seeing what great work he did for us. Fruit trees are actually his first love, and he gave us good advice about our apple (which has codling moths), pruned our other trees beautifully (and advised us about how to care for them better), pulled out one that was hopeless, etc. And he is a joy to work with--incredibly reliable and personable. Contact info: bradcazden [at] Certified Arborist #7316 510.292.8542 --So happy to have found a good arborist at last!

See if the UC Botanical Garden still does the sick plant clinic, where you can bring a sample of the tree branch, and get a diagnosis. Berkeley Hort might be able to give a recommendation, too. tree lover

Try Richard Trout for an arborist with great tree knowledge. He's worked for U.C. Berkeley for years and is a member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists. I used him and found him to be knowledgeable, honest and generous with his time. He charges by the hour, but if what you need takes less than an hour, he offers landscaping suggestions for the rest of the time. He can be reached at richard [at], or cell: (510)- 417-1685. I highly recommend him. Tree lover

I recommend Brende & Lambe. Specifically, ask for Mike. Blaine Brende is also obviously qualified, but is (hate to be so non-PC here) an old hippie. If you are an old hippie you will love him. If you are in your 30s-50s, Mike might be a better fit. He is a very knowledgeable, helpful and easy-going guy who will definitely tell you what you need to know.

Recommend tree trimmers

June 2011

Can any one reccomend a good tree trimmer? jre7

I highly recommend Pablo Cepero of California Landscape. He's a highly skilled and knowledgeable arborist. He'll remove whatever you need, but he's also concerned about protecting the health and integrity of the trees being trimmed. California Landscape (owner, Pablo Cepero) (510)220-2413 Jill

Seeking arborist recommendations

May 2011

I am looking for an arborist in the east bay for a couple of overgrown and/or possibly diseased trees. My gardener has informed me one tree may need removal but that he can't handle this kind of work and that I need an arborist, but he couldn't give me a name. We are in the Temescal area. Suzanne

I do have a recommendation and that is to Michael Monahan. He is a 25 year Certified Arborist, Green Certified Horticulturist and a CAL Poly grad in Horticultural Science. But more importantly he is a great person with great prices. I have used him for various projects over the years and have been extremely satisfied with his work. He also gives free consultations. So give him a call at 510.501.6791 or email him at michaeldmonahan [at] Carol

Tree Removal - Coastal Tree Service

Jan 2011

Has anyone used Coastal Tree Service for tree removal? I haven't been able to find any reviews online. anon

You asked for references for Coastal Tree with regard to tree removal. I am a landscape architect and contractor, also formerly a certified arborist. When a client of mine needs larger-scale tree work than I can handle, I always ask Coastal for a bid. Hans Waller, with his crew, does fine work, has great integrity, and his bids are consistently on the low end. Peter

I highly recommend Hans Waller of Coastal Tree Service. Hans is an honest, upfront, and reliable man, who runs a professional crew. He is a certified arborist and he is licensed and insured. He has been doing tree work in the Bay Area for a long long time. He took out a very old and large tree from our Berkeley back yard a few years ago. You can reach him at (510) 693-4631. Erica

2009 - 2010 Reviews

Need two trees trimmed

Sept 2010

Hi, Can anyone provide a recommendation for a tree person - we need two trees trimmed, and a couple of dead plants removed. Not a huge job, but we want someone who knows something about trees to do the trimming. Thanks very much! Tree trimmer needed

Hello, I highly recommend Pablo Cepero, of California Landscape Service. He's a certified arborist, and is reliable, well-priced, and does quality work. His number is 510.635.7017. Kathy

Feb 2010: Need to get big redwood tree trimmed

Hello All Looking for exemplary redwood tree trimmer ( redwoods are about 80 ft tall and need about 30 ft taken off - damaged in recent rains). Possible removal might be needed. Needs to be familiar with permiting - location is Kensington. Thank you in advance.

I highly recommend The Forestree Company. My neighbor has used them for years and I just had them come to my house last week to trim my buckeye, maple and douglas fir. They have trimmed several large oak trees for me and my neighbor, and my neighbor's 2 redwood trees which were damaged in the 1991 fire. They have trimmed the redwoods away from another neighbor's home the last 5 years. The company is reasonable, they are wonderful arborists, and they are easy to work with. This is the first tree company where the arborist really listens to my requests, and I can provide feedback to them while they are trimming my trees. Their number is 510-526-8733 Judy

I recommend Joe Branum Tree Care. Joe has taken care of our oaks and redwoods both in Berkeley and in Piedmont, where we live now. He is incredibly knowledgeable about trees and their proper maintenance, and his crew is extremely well trained and professional. He does a lot of work in the Bay Area, even though he is located in Napa. or 707-942-8954 Lynne

Brende & Lamb is an excellent tree care company that has been serving the Berkeley/Oakland area for more than 30 years. They do lots of work in Kensington. Give them a call, they will send an arborist out (likely one of the owners) to take a look and give you a free estimate. The phone number is (510) 486-TREE (8733). There are also pix of their work at Marnie

Complete Tree Care is great! They have done wonderful work for us and our neighbors including a BIG redwood tree and helping to appease my neighbor who hates my tree. Not only does Matt Bowman know his trees but he is all about quality service. 510-883-1748. tm

March 2009: Tree Specialist Needed for fig and persimmon

Looking for a tree specialist who is familiar with fig and persimmon trees who can take a look and give us a course of care. We have one of each in our North Berkeley back yard - both were full of fruit when we moved in last summer, but almost all the persimmons quickly fell off the tree except for a couple which survived and were quite tasty when ripe; the green figs seemed to do quite well, but when ripe, the fruit was actually pretty dry inside. Bill

Bill, If you are getting massive fruit drop from the persimmon tree, you may not be watering it regularly enough, or deeply enough. If the figs are dry inside, sounds like water again. If you know you are giving the trees adequate water, and think a pest might be producing these results, I would call Sally Jo Dinwoodie at 510-527-5916. She's very good at identifying problems in plants and can recommend non-chemical methods for dealing with them. If you think the trees need pruning or shaping, call arborist Christopher Bowen, 925 377-7863 bowentrees [at] Both people are reasonably priced and very good at what they do.

I've used a guy named Brad Cazden for fruit tree maintenance who is really great. He specializes in trees and will help you develop a plan for on-going maintenance, which you can do or he can come back and do for you. He's a very nice, thoughtful, hard working guy. You can reach him at: bradcazden [at]

Feb 2009: Tree trimming, evaluation, possible removal

Hello, Can you recommend a company, or individual, who can do some tree trimming, and also evaluate a large tree for its health / possible removal? Person/company should be honest, reliable, careful, and willing to remove all the ''trimmings''. Know anyone who can help us out? We're in Berkeley. Trees need some care

We have been very happy with Peter Rudy. We got his name from BPN and have used him for several large and small jobs recently. He is knowledgeable, responsive and reasonably priced. His company is Big Chief Tree Service, 510-528-3588. He can be a little hard to get hold of, so be persistent. ckatz

We have always loved the work of Complete Tree Care. Matt comes out to do the evaluations and usually his crew does the work. Communication has always been good and unlike other trimmers, they take just the right amount off; I have had too little and too much by others...they are always just right. And yes, they do great cleanup. Complete Tree Care (510) 883-1748 See my yelp review here: DeAnna

I was very happy with the tree removal performed by Michael Veneziano of Ponderosa Tree Service. He is a certified arborist so I'm sure he can assess the health of your trees. He removed a HUGE Monterey pine planted too close to two homes. He and his crew did an amazing job getting the tree out of a tight spot, and they did an impeccable job cleaning up all the debris. I would hire him again. Vicki

Joe Lamb of Brende & Lamb is extremely knowledgeable and trustworthy. He and his crew took out a tree at my former apartment that was diseased and his crew has trimmed the large cedar at my house on several occasions, each time deftly balancing my daughter's need for a good climbing tree and the family's need for more light in the living room. When we first moved in to our house I considered removing the tree but didn't want to lose the privacy. Joe figured out a way to maximize the privacy and the light and support the tree's aesthetics (this particular tree needed a lot of help!). On their website ( there's a link to an article published in the SF Chronicle on Joe-- tells of how his love for and interest in trees extends all the way to the rain forests of Borneo. I whole-heartedly recommend Joe the Arborist! Carrie

I would enthusiastically recommend Matt Horn of Matt Horn Landscaping and Tree Care. Matt evaluated and pruned two very large trees (a pine and a redwood) during a comprehensive landscaping job he did for us. He was very knowledgable, and worked with the goal of maintaining the beauty and health of our trees. Matt was very reliable and cleaned up the site thoroughly, and his bid was very reasonable compared to several others that we got. Matt can be reached at 658-6088. Feel free to contact me as a reference. Lucy

Matt Horn Landscaping and Tree Care, has done a great job taking care of all the trees i have encountered in the course of my landscaping work. We have collaborated for over a decade, and he has done assessments,seasonal fruit tree pruning, as well as large aesthetic pruning jobs and removals. He has an Arborist's license, liability insurance, and worker's comp insurance for his great crew. You can contact him at 510 658-6088 or email him at matthornlandscaping [at] Michelle B.

Jan 2009: Patient arborist who knows a lot about fruit trees

We have just moved into a place with a lot of old (25 years +) fruit trees, many of which we can't identify. Apparently a previous owner was an avid planter and grafter and there are all sorts of varieties of fruit trees and ''fruit salad'' trees in the yard that the person we bought from couldn't identify.

Can someone recommend a patient arborist who specializes in fruit trees and who could walk me and my husband through our yard and identify trees and explain how to prune and maintain them? It would be great to find someone who's willing and happy to talk through the process with us rather than just write up a report/yard map.

It would be a bonus if the arborist also were able to tell us which other new types of fruit trees would take well in our yard. (Apparently we're not content with the work we already have waiting for us!) Fruit tree puzzled

Try Brad Cazden for your fruit tree needs. bradcazden [at]

He'll train you in how to maintain things for yourself. He's a local businessman with a very friendly and caring attitude. His in the business b/c he likes trees and the outdoors. He won't soak you or try to get more work later, unless you need him.

He helped us in exactly this way with our very old/unmaintained grapefruit tree. Steve

I highly recommend Michael Lang. He knows a lot about fruit trees, and he is excellent at pruning them (he only hand prunes, and he does all the work himself). He is a patient and excellent teacher. He worked on my walnut tree and has pruned fruit trees for friends of mine. He has excellent local references. AND he is reasonably priced. Contact me at my e mail or contact Michael directly, (510)841-7749 Michelle

2007 - 2008 Reviews

Nov 2008: Dead tree removal and trimming needed in Lamorinda

We have a dead tree and lots of others that need shaping, trimming and, in a couple of cases, possible removal. Can anyone recommend a fair-priced, reliable, bonded tree service for these kinds of jobs? Many thanks. Cheryl

I would call Adrian de Jong for your tree removal at a reasonable price. He also does stump grinding. He's a very hard worker, who specializes in irrigation and landscape, and does a beautiful job thinning trees. His former boss said he was an artist. He can be reached at adejonone [at] and 415-774-6279.

I would like to recommend Graham Tree Service. They removed part of our Deodar Cedar tree which had fallen on our roof and also trimmed the whole tree. They had a reasonable bid, were super fast and responsive, friendly and very knowledgeable about how to trim our 100-year old tree so that it'll be safe and healthy in the future., cell (510) 224-0478.

For the person looking for garden help in Lamorinda, I highly recommend my gardener Luis Ramos for yard and lawn maintenance. Luis has trimmed my trees and I believe can remove dead ones depending on the size. Luis has taken excellent care of my front and back gardens for about 5 years. He (and his crew) weed thoroughly and do a great job trimming plants and trees artfully. He also did a wonderful job installing and maintaining my irrigation system. Luis has always been dependable and willingly tends to my special requests. He is reasonably priced and I couldn't be happier with his work. His phone number is (510) 967-2246

Sept 2008

Tree in front of house has big aphid infestation. Anybody know a good Tree Doctor? anon

I highly recommend Chris Chapman from Horticultural Services. He's come out twice to diagnose and trim an old ornamental pear tree of ours. He can be reached at or 925-254-1459. Hannah P

Also see advice about aphids below.

August 2008

We bought a house this past April with many fruit trees (apricot, pear, apple, plum, lemon) and we are looking for information on how to maintain the trees. We had been told it is best to prune them in the fall but are unsure as to how we should go about the pruning. We are also considering consulting an arborist, does anyone have any recommendations? Thanks!

Check your local nursery for fruit tree maintenance advice. Evergreen Nursery in San Leandro (San Leandro Blvd.) is a great one and they even have classes in plant and tree care. dianao

July 2008

We're looking for a good arborist and/or tree removal service. We're not sure if we want to have the tree removed or just cut back and are looking for a reputable service that's not too pricey. Any recommendations would be appreciated! Thanks.

We used Treeshapers for consultation, removal, and re-shaping on a property that had been in a state of ''benign neglect'' for over 20 years. They were fantastic. They gave us a detailed estimate for every part of the recommended work, but also were happy to prioritize our own ''phase one'' work. We were completely satisfied with the process, the pricing, the execution, and the result. Contact is: Treeshapers (415) 239-2420 or info [at]

Matt Bowman at Complete Tree Care is great. He has been in the business for a very long time and really knows trees. His number is 883-1748. Tree Lover and Happy Customer

We used Matt Horn (Arborist and Landscaper) for a huge project that involved tree removal and construction of retaining walls and stairs -- and all of this on the world's steepest sloping lot. We were so pleased with the work he did -- everything was finished on time, on budget, and it all turned out beautifully. Moreover, Matt and his team were just lovely to deal with; my five-year-old keeps asking when ''the guys'' are coming back. He can be reached at 510-589-2979. Alexis

I have used East Bay Tree (925-377-TREE) in homes I own in Orinda & Montclair. Victor is so honest & really looks out for keeping the tree healthy & living as the best case. His crews are polite, and considerate of your property & his prices are very fair. - Happy owner of 2 redwoods & 3 oak trees. Candace Workman

Hi, I can recommend Peter Rudy of Big Chief Tree Service at 510-528-3588. Also Bill Fontaine at 510-655-5906. Good luck, Claudia

March 2008

looking for a good tree trimming service to cut back a tree that is leaning over my chimney. kasey

I highly recommend Care of Trees. They are a little bit more expensive than most, but know the most about trees and take extra good care of your trees and property. Wish I had known better

We are very pleased with the tree-trimming service we recently had from Peter Rudy at Big Chief Tree Services. We interviewed several tree services and he seemed the most knowledgeable. His prices were reasonable, and he was prompt and conscientious about the job. Also, his crew is very nice. His number is 510- 528-3588. Cheryl

March 2008

We need to remove 3 Giant Sequoias from our yard and are interested in recent recommendations for tree removal services. We also have a Redwood and various other trees that need a good trimming/reshaping. I've heard that the removal people are best at removal and the trimmers are best at trimming - so looking for recommendations in both categories. Thanks. Emily

For tree trimming, I highly recommend Care of Trees. For tree removal, you might try Graham Tree Service. Tree lover

Hi, I highly recommend Peter Rudy of Big Chief Tree Service. I have been using him for nearly 10 years since we moved to Berkeley and wanted to keep our view. I first used Brende and Shapiro (now Brende and Lamb). They were very expensive and I was not completely satisfied wih their work and the clean up, nor were my neighbors whose trees I had trimmed. Since then I have been using Peter. He is very knowledgeable, conscientous and professional. He is also a good mediator if you need to deal with neighbors. His crew works hard and are very good at cleaning up. Peter knows his trees and he will trim them only during the right time of year. Peter and I have shared stories of our kids over the years as he and his wife had kids at about the same time I did. He feels like a friend to me. I would not use anyone else. His phone # is 510-528-3588. julie

Nov 2007

I have 2 coral bark japanese maples in my front yard and I am looking for someone that is experienced in shaping/trimmimg/pruning this type of tree. Any referrals are appreciated... Thanks!

I recommend Brad Cazan, a licensed arborist in the Berkeley area. He removed several trees for us as well as some serious trimming/thinning of a very large oak tree in our backyard. His rates were reasonable and he was dependable and responsive. He can be reached at: (510) 292-8542 or bradcazden [at]

Jan 2007

I am recommending Dave Bellar as a tree pruner. He is knowledgeable, pleasant to work with, and reasonably priced. My trees look GREAT! It's such a relief to find someone who actually knows what he's doing and does it when he says he will. You can reach him at 415-515-4753. ef

2005 - 2006 Reviews

Feb 2006

Consulting arborist

Can anyone recommend a consulting arborist? I need to have my trees evaluated for safety and health, but I would like someone who can also give advice about how my trees fit into my garden. What care do they need, recommendations for possible replacement trees, view and privacy issues,etc. Thanks so much! Myra

I would like to recommend Richard Trout as a certified arborist. For a very reasonable fee, Richard came out and spent an hour giving us advice about the health and care of the trees on our property, including some old oaks that we are very concerned about. He helped us figure out which pruning we could do ourselves, and which should be left to professionals. He gave us unsolicitated (and welcome) advice about pruning a large manzanita to maximize the beauty of its wood, and what a difference this made! In addition to his private consulting, Richard teaches arboriculture at UC Berkeley. He can be reached at kalmintrout[at]
Barbara in Lafayette

April 2006

I recently had a tree removed and feel so darn lucky I've found a great arborist/tree person -- Peter Rudy of Big Chief Tree Service. (510-528-3588) I've hired him exclusively since 1997. His crew is really great, professional, fast and conscientious. I can't recommend him highly enough. Rachel

Jan 2006

Based on a previous review by a fellow Network member, we hired Gray Shaw to prun our plum trees and various other trees. He's been great and very reasonable. However, he seems to be very busy so call him well in advance of when you want the work done. His number is 848-6752. joe

2004 & Earlier

Nov 2004

I just wanted to update the recommendation for Lara's Tree Service. I just used the service and after contacting Horatio as recommended here, got an exact quote and a quick response from his team. They trimmed two of our large trees and hauled away all of the debris. They were kind, respectful of our property and good at what they do. Adrianne

We've recently had two separate tree companies do excellent work for us, and I'd like to give them a plug.

We live in the Oakland hills on a biggish lot with a lot of eucalyptus. We're looking to do a lot of work ourselves in reducing our fire burden and switching to native pants, but also recognize that we can't take some of the bigger trees out on our own. Since we know we'll have lots of work in the future, we decided to try out two companies.

The first is Roman's Tree service. We worked with Nelzon (510-781-9831 w. 408 -930-2719 c.). They gave us a very good rate on removing three large eucs, and cutting branches to firewood lengths, $1000 -- we did the hauling and clean up ourselves (since we've found that it's cheaper to get one company to do the cutting and another to do the hauling or to bundle and haul ourselves). Nelzon was professional and courteous, and returned all phone calls quickly. He seemed eager to obtain and keep our business which is better than I can say for some of the larger companies which are recommended through the parents list.

Eric from Maxwell Tree Service (510-339-3879) was also a pleasure to work with. He walked around our property and told us what work we could do ourselves, what work we could defer until later, and what work should be done in the near term. He also recommended a small number of tools he thought we might find useful (and he's proved to be correct). Eric took out a large locus tree that was leaning towards our neighbors house. We cleaned up outselves, which was easy since Eric had piled the debris exactly as we had asked him to. Eric is a Montclair resident himself, and really seems to care about the well being of the neighborhood in addition to running his business.

We recommend both Maxwell Tree Service and also Roman's Tree service for excellent rates and service. Merrilee

Oct 2004

I have used Matt Horn Landscaping and Treecare on several jobs. He has done outstanding work, especially on difficult trimming or removing of trees. His aesthetics made my wife and I very happy and his ability to remove a large cedar over my redwood deck without a scratch was impressive. His bid was firm and he stuck to it. I really can't say enough about him except that he's a pleasure to work with as well. They arrive on time and clean everything up. Ask for Matt, 510-658-6088 tom

April 2003

Horacio from Lara's Tree Service is awesome! These guys came out gave us a GREAT price! did better work than I had expected, cleaned up all the mess they made and then some! And did it in NO time at all! If you are looking for quality work, great prices and someone who knows trees call Horacio at 510/729-8040. They are the BEST!!! brandi

April 2003

We used M & M Tree Service of Richmond. They're certified arborists and were the most reasonable of the 3 bids received. They were very efficient and we're happy with the work they did--a 30% crown reduction on a huge walnut in our backyard. They're in the yellow pages. lw

March 2003

Just sharing a recommendation for Lara's Tree Service. They just did a lot of work for us - trimming, removing, hauling - and did an excellent job. They were very thorough, clean, and took the time necessary to do a good job. Ask for Horacio - 510-729-8040. Carolyn

May 1999

The Forestree Company is an excellent longterm Berkeley resource. It is composed of graduates from the UC School of Forestry (on the Berkeley campus). The partners are certified arborists. Call 526-TREE (8733) Bruce

Feb 1998

Try Forestree Company in Berkeley at 526-8733. The owners are UC Forestry grads (and old college friends of mine), and are reputed to be fair and skilled. I've never had any trees big or interesting enough to try them out! Helen

I recommend arborist Robert Reed, his business of ten plus years is called Fine Pruning. He can be reached at 524-0105. If he can't do the work himself he can get you in contact with someone than can. Donna

I recommend Gray Shaw, a certified arborist. His number is 848-6752. He works out of his home so his answering machine message can be a bit funky, but he's very friendly. We inherited a lot of overgrown trees about 11 years ago, and he's been taking care of them ever since. Fran

I would strongly recommend Trout Tree Service in Berkeley 524-6638. Good on the basics, but also very talented and expert. Mary Jane

Try Peter Rudy at (510) 528-3588. He recently trimmed our 100+ foot redwood and did a fabulous job. Stephanie