Tree surgeon helps organize locals’ greenspace

Swinging the saw since 12, Peterson prunes, thins and removes trees
Kay Reminger

For approximately four years, Tim Peterson, owner of Tree Surgeon LLC based in New London, has been putting trees on the ground.

Surgeon is an appropriate descriptive term for his business as he takes care of pretty much any tree services, be it pruning, thinning or removing. He does not eliminate stumps.

Peterson said he started “swinging the saw” when he was about 12 years old with his dad up in the woods. As he grew, he worked with his grandpa and great-uncle and realized later in his 20s when he worked seasonally for a tree company that what he learned as a kid wasn’t necessarily the proper way to fell trees. While he enjoyed the time working for someone else and learning along the way, he had the desire to eventually be his own boss.

“To justify the cost of a new saw, I started offering my services, and it just kind of snowballed from there to constant work, by word of mouth,” Peterson said.

“At every job, there’s a good learning curve; just because a certain tree does something one week doesn’t mean it’s going to react the same way another day. Each job and tree are unique. Just put the odds in your favor. That way I understand better the risks involved. There’s always a way to do something; you just have to find the safest way to get it done. The more you do it, the more you figure out other options and different ways in order to accomplish these things.”

Peterson has had some close calls, in his time.

“I think that, across the board in any arborist’s work, there’s a reason why it’s one of the most dangerous jobs a guy could get into,” he said. “Tree care demands caution, always.”

Presently, Peterson offers his tree jobs part-time. Employed for eight years at Progressive Converting, a contract paper converter in Little Chute, he works the southern swing, which means two days on, two days off, allowing him to handle tree service on the days he’s not at work. He has helpers only when he needs them.

Peterson figures about 70% of his work is to put the tree on the ground safely and to cut it up, with the customer handling the cleanup. A handful of saws, climbing equipment and ropes complete his equipment needs. A lift and a wood chipper are used for bigger jobs and, as Peterson noted, “a big tree demands a big saw.” He has one saw with a 36-inch bar. Owning his own saws, he has access to a chipper and lift when he needs one.

His hours are flexible. If there’s a storm that’s rolling through and something happens in the middle of the night, Peterson encourages people to call and leave a message and he’ll get back to them as soon as possible.

“I’m always willing to work with the customer to satisfy everyone’s needs and wants,” Peterson said. “I’ve discovered a lot of people find themselves in a financial situation where they might not be able to pay for the cost of tree removal but are in a state of emergency where they need it taken out.”

Another point Peterson stresses is when people look at their trees they may sense it’s tipping a little bit and if it makes them feel more comfortable, they should have it taken out.

“It takes way less effort to push a tree over when the ground is wet than when it’s dry; less chance of snapping back,” Peterson said. “When the ground is soft, trees uproot more easily. Urgent calls are definitely more frequent now, during storm season.”

To enlist the services of the Tree Surgeon, call 920-713-1630 or email