From The Island Packet

Preservation Tree Care, the 16-year-old Beaufort business that has done work for free in Beaufort County, has been purchased by Bartlett Tree Experts, a Connecticut company with more than 100 branches in the United States, Canada, Ireland and Great Britain.

Preservation Tree Care owner Michael Murphy, who will continue to manage the business, said he had discussed a deal with Bartlett officials for about six years. He said he decided to sell largely because the expertise available at Bartlett’s high-tech lab in Charlotte should allow his company to take better care of local trees.

“Their great knowledge will help us keep our customers’ trees healthier,” he said.

Murphy said the deal also should help his company streamline office procedures and provide employees with better training, benefits and equipment, he said.

Murphy started his company in 1994, operating from his home with a handful of employees and three trucks they parked at a gas station. The company has grown to 16 employees and 18 trucks with an office and shop in the Beaufort Industrial Village.

The companies did not disclose terms of the deal, which Murphy announced Dec. 10.

Customers should not notice many immediate changes since Murphy said his company will keep its personnel and fleet of green trucks.

Bartlett is a third-generation family business founded in 1907 and based in Stamford, Conn. Several Bartlett family members live in the Carolinas. Bartlett also has locations on Hilton Head Island and in Savannah and Charleston.

“They have the same ideals we do and the same attention to detail,” Murphy said.

In recent months, Preservation Tree Care donated time and manpower to remove dangerous trees and limbs throughout Beaufort; demonstrated tree pruning downtown to celebrate Arbor Day; and tended to an ailing, 250-year-old oak tree at the intersection of U.S. 278 and S.C. 170 in Okatie.

Both Murphy and Bartlett vice president Steve Johnston said Bartlett probably wouldn’t devote a week to community service — as Preservation Tree Care did earlier this month — but will often take on as many smaller projects.

“I’m going to bring these ideas up whenever I can,” Murphy said. “The only reason we’re successful is because of the community.”

Johnston, who manages Bartlett’s Southeast division, said Preservation Tree Care will keep the same name with the postscript “a division of Bartlett Tree Experts” for three to four years and eventually become known as Bartlett’s Beaufort office.

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