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Knowledge, Training Key to Superior Tree Service Success

Fri February 11, 2011 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

Located in the heart of Montgomery County, Pa., is the family-owned business of Superior Tree Service. Started in the late 1970s by Willard and Ruth Fretz, the company has evolved over the years and grown to meet the needs of its clients and workload.

The couple’s sons worked for the company from the time they were young.

“We know all about what is involved in land clearing, demolition and tree service,” said Bill Fretz. “Our father encouraged us to seek more knowledge and training. In school, we learned different trades. My youngest brother took welding, my middle brother took automotive training and I learned machine trades. We all have our commercial driver’s license.”

Fretz noted that having knowledge in varied trades has helped their business immensely. For example, they are able to service, maintain, repair and fabricate as much of their own equipment as possible. Much of this is accomplished at their 40 by 80 ft. shop located on Ridge Pike in Royersford, Pa.

“This is also helpful if something breaks or goes down in the field,” Fretz said. “The sooner you can get a piece of equipment up and running, the better off you are. You have to remember that land clearing, demolition and tree service are some of the most demanding trades for equipment and workers as well.”

The bulk of Superior’s equipment lineup consists of two grapple skidders, tree shears, two whole tree chippers (one 16 in. and one 20 in.), a Rayco T-175 tracked stump grinder, a tub grinder, excavators, tractor trailers and dozers.

Superior relies on its relationships with its vendors and dealers to keep the fleet up and running.

“One of our longest relationships has been with Plasterer Equipment,” Fretz explained. “They always go out of their way to help you in any way they can. That goes for 30 years ago when we had one piece of John Deere equipment to now, when we have many. The entire company treated us that way, whether it’s the guy at the parts counter, the sales rep, or the service department rep.”

Another company that has been helpful over the years has been Bux-Mont Under Carriage.

“The Schwinds have worked on several under carriages for us over the years, and have always done nice work,” Fretz noted.

Superior services several counties in Pennsylvania, including Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Lancaster and Lehigh.

A recent job that Superior completed was a week-long project at Rock Hill Mennonite Community in Telford, which involved the expansion of an existing retirement community.

“This job was a little tough because there wasn’t a lot of room to work,” Fretz said. “We had to work along a parking lot that was still being used and a local road, but we were able to get the job done.”

The equipment used for this project included a JD 548G grapple skidder, Morbark 20 in. whole tree chipper, Rayco T-175 tracked stump grinder, Kenworth log truck and walking floor chip trailer.

Another recent job, Taylor Run, involved clearing an overgrown existing sewer easement for a new access road.

“This sounds pretty easy, except for the fact that it is on the side of a hill over a busy road,” Fretz said. “We had to hand fell and cable or pull the trees over, then skid to a very small landing. The site contractor worked with us to bench or level a road across the hill as we cleared for skidder access. We then ground the stumps in place in the ground with our Rayco T-175 tracked stump grinder. This saves a lot of time and money. Otherwise, the stumps would have to be excavated, hauled, loaded and disposed of offsite.”

Fretz noted that jobs that require stumps to be excavated also are not a problem for Superior.

Their large track hoes, crawler loaders, D6 dozers, demo trailers and tub grinders allow them to make quick work of stumps and debris. CEG

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