Meet Jon Pittman: the South Hams expert in tree surgery and forestry

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Pittman Trees Interview

Having worked in tree surgery and forestry since the age of 16, Jon Pittman started his own business, Pittman Trees ltd, providing all tree work to individuals and businesses across South Devon in 2007.  Fast becoming the contractor of choice, here he explains the background and the ethos behind his small but perfectly formed local company…

Where did Pittman Trees begin?

Pittman Trees was started in 2007 by myself and one other subcontractor. I have always had a keen interest in agriculture and forestry.  At the tender age of 16 I worked on a farm milking cows and in my spare time I worked for a local tree surgery company. Over time, my career within the tree surgery and forestry industry developed.  As I continued to hone my skills with various other contractors, I also developed a passion and desire to start my own business.

What kind of work do you mostly do?

At the moment we are a small but effective team of five people who carry out a variety of tree works from domestic to large site clearances and forestry work across South Devon.

Is tree work something that people commonly overlook or leave too late before they get in touch?

Yes, trees need to be regularly inspected and have continual maintenance. We often work on trees that could have been saved had they have been monitored in the correct way. It’s now, when we’re in the deepest winter months that people need to be mindful of the health of their trees, but often people think about them in the summer when they’re enjoying their gardens.

What’s the most challenging work that you do?

All tree work presents its own individual challenges, but the weather can often be our biggest hinderance, especially in South Devon where it can be quite so variable and in coastal areas where it’s exceptionally windy!

Does the South Hams present unique obstacles for tree work compared to other parts of the UK?

Yes, site access for equipment and machinery can be tricky, especially in older properties or those perched in steep landscapes.  Lots of the towns were obviously built at a time when vehicles were smaller and less frequent. However, we continue to invest heavily in specialist equipment to overcome these obstacles - there’s almost always a way.

We live in a very beautiful part of the world.  Is there anything that you do as a business to try to help people to take a more eco-friendly approach to the maintenance of their trees?

At Pittman trees we consistently recycle around 95% of felled trees. As part of our service, we will remove all brushwood and timber from site, however we also encourage our clients to make use of it themselves within the home or the garden.  As mentioned before, we often find that a tree could have been saved if we were brought in at an earlier stage, so we always encourage people to get in touch sooner rather than later if they think a tree has the capacity to present an issue.

What are your plans for the future of the business?

We are organically growing year on year and pride ourselves on the reputation and quality of both our work and the service we provide. As the business goes from strength to strength we aim to be the contractor of choice not only within the South Hams, but within South Devon and further afield as well.


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