“I think every tree’s life matters, honestly,” says Dennise Vidosh, founder and CEO of RE-TREE. “Our ultimate mission at RE-TREE is to preserve and protect as many existing mature trees as possible.”
Too often, mature trees are cut down to make way for a new project. Vidosh created her company when she saw an opportunity for the industry to transform a wasteful cycle into an endless cycle of giving back.
RE-TREE allows anyone to sell, buy, or relocate unique mature trees rather than having to cut them down.
“To keep that tree alive and preserve that tree benefits our entire industry,” Vidosh says.
Vidosh launched RE-TREE’s digital marketplace in 2020 but the concept of RE-TREE has been evolving since 1995. Vidosh would meet with her father, who has been in the landscape industry for over 65 years, to discuss their ideas.
How Does It Work
Anyone can purchase a tree from RE-TREE’s marketplace. RE-TREE has shipped trees as far as Illinois and Massachusetts, but Vidosh says that they can deliver to all 50 states within the regulations of the USDA.
RE-TREE has anywhere from 100 to 2,000 trees on their marketplace at any given time.
“You will find the most unique, truly sustainable trees in the world in our catalog,” Vidosh says. “I believe that, and our inventory is expanding every day into other states.”
Vidosh says they appraise the trees at the wholesale market value. The pricing online does not include the transplanting fees, as that varies on the difficulty factor and the distance of where the trees are being moved to.
“We’re not the only contractor,” Vidosh says. “So we use other contractors that are certified to do the work and they actually provide a bid for those services to move the tree.”
Sellers upload the information about their tree, including photos, accessibility, location and quality. RE-TREE then evaluates the tree to see if it meets their requirements to be listed on their marketplace. The tree must be free and clear of all diseases, structurally sound and accessible.
“Being a unique specimen with great style obviously has major bonus points,” Vidosh says.
The tree also cannot be taller than 30’ or have a circumference over 42”. Vidosh says that currently the technology is not there yet to safely move trees over 30 feet tall, but she has no doubt there will be an option in the future.
“For right now, encourage property owners to consider the value of those old trees before removing all of their benefits from the environment,” Vidosh says. “If I can’t move the tree, I try to really encourage them to change their design or just work around that tree because the value of time is in that tree.”
The seller is paid for the tree when it is purchased and transplanted. There is no fee to list the tree on RE-TREE’s marketplace.
“It’s a win-win situation for everyone,” Vidosh says. “There is no downside to doing that for any seller.”
Regarding the tree survival rate after transplant, Vidosh says they have had tremendous success with any tree species as long as an aftercare program is in place.
“We are very specific about it,” she says. “We write reports, and we also do follow-up visits for the first three months to monitor that program. The failures have been because the aftercare program was not followed.”
Certified RE-TREE contractors issue a 12-month warranty for the tree if an aftercare program is in place. Vidosh says they will not warranty trees without a care program in place.
“We also have very innovative tools now that allow us to transplant trees responsibly throughout the growing season,” Vidosh says. “This helps us to preserve even more trees and capture over 85% of the root system.”
Even though RE-TREE has only been around for three years, more people in the industry are becoming aware of the company. Vidosh says landscape architects, in particular, appreciate their catalog of unique, sustainable trees, as the shortage of mature plant material is still an issue.
They have also expanded RE-TREE to commercial property owners. Vidosh says this has allowed them to repurpose over 60 mature gingko trees shipping them from Long Island to Michigan.
Vidosh says they currently only allow sellers in states with certified contractors, like Michigan. She says they are working on expanding these options within the Midwest and the East Coast.
“We most recently launched a campaign to provide seminars and trainings throughout the Midwest and the East Coast,” Vidosh says. “I’ve done several trainings on the East Coast, recently in Massachusetts specifically. Wherever we are asked to do an educational training, we most often says yes.”
She says once they are comfortable with a contractor being able to transplant trees in a responsible way, they can become part of the RE-TREE network. Landscape contractors who are already familiar with the AirSpade and transplanting trees can become certified much faster.
Other ways to get involved with RE-TREE include raising awareness of their operation.
“We have brand ambassador opportunities, where you present this opportunity to the property owner about RE-TREE, and we actually pay you part of the transaction fee for just presenting that opportunity,” she says.
Vidosh encourages spreading the word about RE-TREE so more know this opportunity exists. She says she built the platform for her peers, and she needs everybody’s help to make it a reality.