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History/About Us

Graf Tree Care, Inc. was founded in 1999 by arborist Phil Graf. From humble beginnings as a 2 man tree trimming operation, Phil quickly began to expand the client base by adhering to his core values: a relentless work ethic and friendly attitude. By late 2003, we began seeing our client's needs for Plant Health Care and began expanding into this sector. In the spring of 2004, the first Graf Spray rig rolled out of the shop, and we had officially started the Plant Health Care Division of the company. Over the next few years, we became experts in tree diagnostics, root feeding, and disease and pest control.
 
History Graf Tree
 
The above photo pictures Phil and Chris Scott in the early years. Phil and Chris have been friends since the early 90's and were co-workers at another tree company. Chris, a long time Certified Arborist, joined our team in 2007, as a skilled tree climber. In 2014, after more than twenty years in the tree care industry, Chris runs the day to day tree crew operations and handles all residential arborist consultations.
Also having an incredible work ethic and passion for trees, Chris has played a key role in advancing the company to where it is today.
 
In 2006 when The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was discovered in Illinois, we began to convey to our client base just how important Ash trees were in Illinois. Having a proactive approach to the EAB, we learned how to spot this insect in its early stages. We were the first to discover EAB in several surrounding communities including the City of West Chicago, City of Wheaton, and the Village of Roselle. These videos can be seen on our YouTube channel. Phil later went on to write the EAB Management Plans for each of these three communities.
 
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By 2009, we quickly developed our treatment strategy and began treating Ash trees. Needless to say, EAB treatments have made for a large part of our Plant Health Care Division over the last five years. One of our most incredible success stories can be seen at Reed Keppler Park in West Chicago. Around the ball fields, you will find one of the most stunning collection of Green and White Ash trees anywhere left in the Chicago area, standing as a testament to a proactive Ash tree treatment program.
 
History Graf Tree
 
In 2010, after working with several Municipal and Park District in areas such as EAB Management, we began realizing how necessary it was to have full tree inventory data to manage the urban forest effectively. We also realized how powerful a tool that Geographic Information Systems (GIS) could be in mapping and monitoring the EAB and other forestry related issues in terms of asset management. During that season, we launched the third division of our company: Natural Resources Management and GIS. It was at this time that Phil brought Steve Lane into the company to spearhead the Division. Steve is an urban ecologist and GIS Professional, with a B.S. from the University of Oregon in both Environmental Science and Geography, and nearly 10 years of professional experience.
 
steve lane
 
Since then we have forged an environmental consulting side of our business. The Natural Resources Management Division has done more than 20 comprehensive GIS tree inventories, as well as GIS based Reforestation Planning,  hazard tree evaluations, native restorations, and has the experience necessary to perform wetland delineations, natural resource studies, vegetative community mapping, as well as many other services.
 
As of right now, Graf Tree Care is made up of 12 hard-working and dedicated employees, 5 of which are ISA Certified Arborists. Our office is in St. Charles, where Diana Jeffery, our office manager and another long-time and dedicated employee, keeps us all going from "behind the curtain".  Mark Graf is our Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who joined the team in 2008. Mark has a degree in Business Finance and a Master's Degree in Accounting.  He also owns our Sister Company, Moonscape Landscape Illumination, Chicagoland's premier landscape lighting company. We call Moonscape our sister company because we share our shop, office, and many of our great customers.

We are very excited about the future. The industry seems to have led us to where we are today, and we will continue to do our best to lead the industry in return.

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What's New

GRAF TREE CARE MOVES INTO NEW FACILITY
Last year, we purchased an empty 5,200 square foot building in Batavia, IL. After the design phase and architectural drawings were completed for our custom buildout, the interior construction began. We decided to use this opportunity to showcase urban wood utilization. Recycled wood planks were used to create our desks, cabinets, shelves, window sills, and a conference room table; all from trees that were removed by our crews and milled right here is Batavia. Click here to read full article.

ZAC KING – ISA BOARD CERTIFIED MASTER ARBORIST
In November, our Plant Health Care Coordinator, Zac King, reached the highest professional level of Certification the International Society of Arboriculture has. This certification is based on years of practical work experience, along with intense independent study. Zac has worked hard in the field in our daily operations, attended conferences and seminars, and studied on his own in order to attain this prestigious certification. Congratulations Zac!.

EVENTS AND PUBLIC APPEARANCES
Here are a few places you can come to see us over the next few winter months:

  • January 19-20: State Park District Conference -Downtown at the Hilton, Chicago, IL. Phil Graf and Steve Lane will be presenting groundbreaking 3D Tree Mapping and Canopy Analysis.
  • January 24-26: Indiana Arborist Association Annual Conference - Indianapolis, IN. This time Municipal Consulting Forester Jim Semelka will be with Phil and Steve set up in the exhibit hall to showcase more urban forestry services and technologies.
  • February 28-29: Great Lakes Park Training at Pokagon State Park – Angola, IN. Phil will be in attendance to network and talk to fellow trainees about urban forestry.
  • March 14-15: Minnesota Shade Tree Short Course - Bethel University, Arden Hills, MN. Steve will be presenting on using GIS for Reforestation Planning after the Emerald Ash Borer.
 
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1485 Louis Bork Dr. Unit #113 | Batavia, IL 60510 | Phone: 630/762-2400 | Fax: 630/578-1304