Meet The Owner

Zen Tree Care – Archie DeGaust

Hi I’m Archie "Chi" DeGaust, owner/operator of Zen Tree Care, and an ISA Certified Arborist. I have had a passion for trees since my childhood, when I could be found high up in the smallest branches of a poplar tree in my backyard; much to my mother's horror.

Finishing high school, I wasn't sure what career to pursue, but serendipitously found my way to Sault Ste Marie where I graduated from the Forestry Tech Program at Sault College in 1988. I worked for the Davey Tree Expert Company where I honed my skills in arboriculture, and moved on to the City of Toronto Parks Services. During this time I nurtured the fledgling company Tree Wise Men, where I was owner/operator for 13 years.

After a five year hiatus, which saw me going back to college for Social Work and Addictions for three of those, and employment in that field for two; I returned to the tree care industry. The rustle of leaves in the wind insisted I go back to my "roots" (pun intended).

During my absence from arboriculture there seemed to be some big changes in tree care, and the most apparent of these was the volume of companies there now were. Two college facilities now pump out new climbers in unprecedented numbers, and many of these greenhorns form businesses. Another difference I noticed, and which is more about me and how I've changed over the years, is the attitudes regarding our green friends in the Barrie area. Everywhere I looked there was more destruction of forest lands and greenscapes, and trees were being slashed from residential properties at alarming rates.

Hence, the creation of Zen Tree Care. I had no intention of owning and operating a tree business ever again, but there needed to be a voice to speak on behalf of the voiceless. Education is the best tool to bring awareness to issues, and tree care is no different. People need to know that trees need attention, especially when they are within the unique urban landscape. They also need to know that trees don’t just fall apart or topple over spontaneously: that most serious storm damage is preventable, and instances of tree failure are remote when considering the big picture. Fear and ignorance are a tree's worst enemy in the city: it's the reason for most tree removals. Trees are our lungs, and our air conditioners; they are vital to our existence, and well being.

With a consultation by a reputable, experienced Certified Arborist, you can gain insights into how your trees work, and how you can maximise the benefits, and longevity of these tall ecosystems/eco-modifiers.

When was the last time you sat under a tree, and marvelled at its structure, size, texture, colour, and beauty? The way the leaves flutter in the breeze, and the way the whole crown moves in poetry with the push of the wind? Have you ever considered a tree's roots, and how extensive this support system needs to be? The mass seen above ground is easily mirrored below.

As you can see, I think trees are pretty special. They will talk to you if you choose to listen. I'd be glad to stand in the shade of your tree(s), and discuss the various options that will ensure health and longevity. If you're interested in pushing for local legislation to protect our environment, and our trees; I would be glad to listen to any ideas. We're all in this together, and it's so very important to consider our progeny, and the quality of life we leave for the future.