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How New Urban Forestry is taking care of trees and growing
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John Ashley, grapple crane operator for New Urban Forestry, walks on a limb from a tree in downtown Athens.

New Urban Forestry, an organization headquartered in Athens, is turning a new leaf in Hall County.

The team of certified arborists, landscape designers and gardeners expanded into Gainesville last July after purchasing Global Tree Preservation.

Odis Sisk, who owned and operated Global Tree Preservation in Gainesville for eight years, said the merger with New Urban Forestry was inspired by his company’s continous growth.

Sisk said he wanted to join with a larger company in order to expand his tree-preservation services.

For two years he looked at companies that shared his goals, and decided the Athens organization was the perfect fit.

Different from various tree businesses and service companies that only cut down trees, New Urban Forestry’s interests lie in sustaining life.

“We provide a more holistic approach to tree care in that we want to provide a total health assessment of the tree and provide plant health care to keep trees healthy,” Jessie McClellan, the company’s manager said. “By performing plant health care we don’t want to leave no trace, we actually want to make the soil profile better and make the urban canopy healthier.”

If the company does end up removing a tree, McClellan said they will return the tree to the soil by recycling the green waste into mulch, compost or other byproducts.

For two years now the company has been developing its soils and organics service to eliminate the wood waste sent to landfills, and return the beneficial nutrients to the soil.

Not a chemical-based company, Sisk said New Urban Forestry uses biological controls when dealing with insect pests and diseases.

These biological controls include introducing different insects, fungi or bacteria to benefit plant health, instead of spraying an area with harsh chemicals.

The company is one of few in the country to use a grapple crane, which allows safe and fast tree removal. The piece of equipment eliminates the need for a person to climb a tree or use a bucket truck.

Another service that singles out New Urban Forestry from other landscaping and tree-removal companies involves its bee extraction. If needed, they will withdraw a hive from a tree, then make an effort to rehome the bees.

The company’s staff offer their services throughout all seasons. McClellan said their work in the winter mostly entails tree pruning, while the spring involves implementing more plant health care.

“Our goal is to take care of trees as they grow, not just when they die,” she said. “With plant health care we take soil samples to determine what nutrients that soils needs to make the tree the healthiest it can possibly be.”

Since teaming up with Sisk, New Urban Forestry already has conducted work for Elachee Nature Science Center and the Deaton Creek neighborhood in Gainesville.

One of Sisk’s largest initiatives involves public outreach. Sisk, who became a certified arborist in 2001, has spent years traveling the world to host talks about plant health.

Through New Urban Forestry he will continue to share his knowledge, not only with fellow arborists and gardeners, but adults and children of all backgrounds.

With trees dying at large numbers around the world, Sisk said now is the time to get to know a local arborist.

He encourages people in Hall County to take advantage of the myriad of skill-sets New Urban Forestry has to offer.

“When we have the ability to have this many knowledgeable people that are so passionate about the environment, there’s no telling where we’ll go,” Sisk said.

People can contact New Urban Forestry’s main office at 706-389-0398 or its landscaping team at 706-426-1331. For more information about the company, visit

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