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Tree service stays strong through COVID-19

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Joe Loffredo, owner of Loffredo's Tree Trimming and Removal, right, uses a remote to wirelessly control the Tree Mec to drop a limb cut from a 80+ year old Pin Oak at the home of Carl and Margurite Fischer on Grampian Blvd. Wednesday. The Tree Mec uses a crane to grab a branch and cut it at the same time preventing propterty damage, and a safer environment for workers. Loffredo's is one of 220 business using the Tree Mec in the U.S. and the only one in the region.

Although the COVID-19 caused disturbances in many sectors of the state’s economy, little has changed for a Jersey Shore-based tree service, said the owner.

“We were kind of worried as to how (the state) was going to set things up in terms of what’s essential and non-essential but we fell right into the hazardous essential business side of things,” said Joe Loffredo, of Loffredo’s Tree Trimming & Removal at 1068 Pine Creek Ave.

Due to the nature of his business, and its reliance on cutting edge-technology to finish the job, he said his employees already adhered to many of the social distancing guidelines set forth from state and federal sources.

The tree service falls into either categories for forestry, or building maintenance, and can be necessary to protect both property and people, he said.

“Everything that we do is remove hazardous trees from to a house or a piece of property or the homeowner themselves,” he said. “If something were to fall down on those people, or fall off and go through the house, you can have a serious issue.”

To carry out those jobs, Loffredo’s business primarily uses a tree mech, or a 100-foot-long knuckle crane with a grapple saw attachment, all of which is controlled remotely to remove the need for a worker to climb the tree.

“We have the best state-of-the-art equipment in the region, no one can do what I can with their equipment,” he said.

With that machinery, limbs or entire trees can be cut and lowered to a chipper. If the ground is unsteady, unmaneuverable or far from roads, the tree service also has several skid steers.

The stump is also then ground as close to the ground as possible.

Using those strategies to complete the job, Loffredo said his employees are already distanced from one another.

“We’re pretty much already set up for it, everybody has their own vehicles that they already drive and we all work pretty much separated from each other,” he said.

Although he doesn’t require his employees to wear masks, some have chosen too or already did, especially when in the midst of cutting or chipping to avoid inhaling tree detritus.

“For the most part I leave it up to (the employees), if they’re worried about it they can wear it, if not then they don’t have to because we’re so far apart from each other,” said Loffredo.

Of course the tree service workers are sure to stand away from customers and avoid shaking hands, he said.

As for the flow of business, Loffredo said he’s noticed a slight decrease in the number of customers he’s seeing, despite his service range reaching from State College and Muncy, to the Susquehanna Valley and beyond.

“It’s not as high as it should be at this time of year, it’s not substantially low but it’s not how it should be,” he said.

With the end of many COVID-19 restrictions in sight, however, the business plans to move through the uncertain time unscathed.

“It’s pretty cut and dried,” said Loffredo.

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