Tree cutter adds insult to injury for ash tree owners


AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — When it comes to the emerald ash borer — sometimes you have no choice but to get rid of a tree that’s infested. But be careful who you hire to do the job.

For many homeowners, like Kim Hoelscher of Amherst, it is tough enough watching your big beautiful ash tree slowly dying from the emerald ash borer, but to have someone come along, cut the tree down, but leave the job unfinished, it just adds insult to injury.

“He is very messy, I think he is a scam artist,” said Hoelscher, talking about the man who cut down her dead ash trees then took a deposit to remove the stumps, but that was nearly a month ago, and she hasn’t seen him since.

“They left a lot behind–like a lot of just debris, and sticks that I had to rake up, bag up, out back together, clean up my yard a lot.”

Hoelscher lost $20, but many of her neighbors were left with even bigger messes, such as Maria Armetta who paid $700 to have two dead trees removed. The Hamburg contractor presented Maria with the business card of another tree service located in Gowanda misleading Maria and several of her neighbors.

“He said it was his grandfather, he is a third generation. I said okay and my husband asked if you were insured, and he said yes we are, and all this stuff.”

Turns out the firm is called “Tree Service by John”, and the owner claimed the other company knew he had used their card and scratched their phone number out, until customers started complaining. Armetta said Tree Service by John left her yard in a mess, “He left like 4-foot trunks uncut, and all the other ones, like were 3 to 4 feet–a couple of them were still attached–all in my backyard.”

Maria waited a couple of weeks for the tree service to come back and clean up the mess.

“And when nobody showed up, we had neighbors that were kind enough to help my husband and son clean up the mess,” Armetta said.

“He is not going to finish the work he said he was going to finish. I got lucky in that at least my trees are down, but for a lot of people they had nothing leaned up. They gave the deposit no trees are down,” Hoelscher said.

The owner of “Tree Service by John” told us he has too many customers to keep up with the wood and stump removal. However, when you take down an infested tree it has to be removed immediately before bugs can get out and kill other trees nearby.

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