By Lanier Laney
One of the first things that visitors notice is the beauty of the trees in Beaufort. A ride down Bay Street alone, passing the giant live oaks draped with Spanish moss, is a breathtaking sight that truly makes Beaufort unique over any other place else in the world.
Keenly aware of this is Beaufort native Ronnie Reiselt, owner and president of Southern Tree Services of Beaufort, Inc., whose passion is taking care of trees. He believes that through sound advice and expert care of trees, we will be able to preserve and pass on this beautiful heritage.
Ronnie got his great appreciation for nature and Beaufort’s forests and waterways growing up hunting and fishing with his dad. Then later, working with him in his land development business led to Ronnie’s interest in tree care and how he could best preserve and care for the trees in the community.
He became a certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture where they stay abreast of the latest technological advancements in tree care. The ISA offers continuous training and all Ronnie’s employees who are certified have to keep updated as well.
Ronnie met his lovely wife, Sonya, in high school and they started dating seriously in 1991. Together they formulated a business plan and as a team began Southern Tree Services in 1992. Today it is one of Beaufort’s most successful and respected tree companies, with 16 employees and three crews.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the business and the 18th anniversary of their marriage. Says Ronnie, “I would like to say a few things about my wife. I don’t think Southern Tree would have been as successful as it is today without the tireless love and support of Sonya. She’s been a wonderful mother and wife, and the best business partner anyone could ask for. Her genuine love for people and community, along with her positive, outgoing personality has been a joy to work with over the last 20 years. There’s a quote that says ‘behind every good man is a great woman.’ That is my wife, Sonya”.
Sonya is also a real estate agent with ERA Evergreen Real Estate Company. They have three children: Ryan, 24, Courtney, 23, and Hope, 17.
Says Sonya, “Ronnie’s work ethic in regards to his business negotiations and his responsibility as a husband and a father are honorable and noble. I admire the caliber of man he is on all levels!”
Once Ronnie’s business grew to the size he wanted, he’s resisted larger growth. He said, “I’m very content at the size where we’re at. Any larger and we wouldn’t be able to service our customers on a person-to-person basis.”
In fact, Ronnie’s favorite part of his business is his customers. “I delight in getting to know my clients, listening to their needs and concerns and then delivering expert advice on personalized tree care services,” he explained.
He likes to share the knowledge and love of tree care that he’s gained in the 20 years he’s been in business. Ronnie says, “We strive for 100 percent customer satisfaction. I believe when you experience the honesty of our advice, the quality of our work, professionalism, and safety of our top notch crews, you will find fulfillment of that pledge.”
An Old Point resident who was a client of Ronnie’s said, “We had to take down this huge old pecan tree that was diseased, with many dying branches. Ronnie’s crew skillfully removed huge branch after branch and not one flower in my flower beds or one camellia bush was even touched, and they were right underneath the tree.”
Ronnie and Sonya also feel it’s important to support the community that has supported them and they have been very involved over the years in a host of charities including CAPA, Habitat for Humanity, United Way of the Lowcountry and the Beaufort County School District, to name just a few.
Says Sonya, “We enjoy our friendships with many wonderful people in our community. God has truly blessed us!”
To sum up his life’s work with Southern Tree Service, Ronnie says, “It’s been truly rewarding to save trees versus removal when they have potential for recovery. I love taking care of our trees so that future generations will see a Beaufort as beautiful as we know it today.”
GET IN TOUCH: Southern Tree Services specializes in all phases of tree care: planting and pruning needs; hazardous tree and stump removal; lightning protection; insect and disease control; deep root fertilization; cabling and bracing; storm damage; pre-construction tree protection; and innovative long term tree care programs. Call 843-522-9553, visit www.southerntreeservices.com, or email: email@example.com.